Canada to use Biometrics in Visa Program in 2013: Big Brother is watching

According to a recent press release from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the government will begin including biometrics in its temporary resident program sometime in 2013. Biometrics

What are biometrics?

Biometrics are digital fingerprints and photographs that are taken to go with a Canadian temporary resident permit, also called a visitor visa.

If you are from a certain visa-required country and come to Canada on a visitor visa, study visa or work permit, you will be required to submit these biometric data for your visa. This information is used by the Canada Border Services Agency to verify your identity as well as ensure you are admissible to Canada.

Biometric data are used to reduce fraud and ensure that someone is who they say they are. They will also be used to help strengthen the integrity of Canada’s immigration system by preventing people who have previously been deported, failed refugee claimants or known criminals from entering Canada under a new name or by using fraudulent documents.

Biometrics for Immigration and Visas

Many other countries currently use biometrics in their immigration and border management efforts. Some of these countries include Malaysia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan, many European Countries, the united States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

“Personal information of applicants will be used, retained, shared and disposed of in accordance with Canada’s privacy legislation,” says the press release from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. “CIC and its partners are working closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure robust privacy protection for biometric data. Technological safeguards will ensure that client information is collected, stored and transmitted securely.

Big Brother watching in immigration biometrics

This is all kind of scary but the trend is in biometrics in almost every security industry. Let’s hope there is not too much abuse. I say too much because let’s be realistic. There will be abuse but that is why we have the rule of law and the courts. With every new technology there becomes a new area of law that, in democratic societies, are designed to protect the public.

Questions about Biometrics?

Do you have questions about these changes to Canada’s immigration system? We can answer them! Contact us using the form on the right.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: biometric visas biometrics biometrics 2013 canada visa biometrics immigration biometrics Temporary Resident Permit temporary resident program visa applications Visiting Canada

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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