The International Region delivers Canada's immigration programs at Canadian missions abroad. Activities include immigrant selection, non-immigrant processing, immigration health services, reporting and liaison, and control and interdiction. The International Region plays a lead role in international migration and refugee issues. It is also involved in co-ordinating the Department's international activities, particularly those regarding relations with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), other nations and multilateral organizations.
Overseas processing is delivered through a network of Regional Program Centres, satellite missions, Full-Service Centres and Specialized Offices.
Regional Program Centres (RPCs) offer centralized immigration processing wherever possible. RPC staff process routine immigration applications from beginning to end, provided an interview is not required. If an interview is required, or documents need to be checked or verified, the responsible satellite office (i.e., where the applicant has provided an address) becomes involved. In this case, the RPC either provides specific instructions or electronically transfers the file to the satellite office. RPCs also perform a full range of non-immigrant services for its host country and any nearby nations falling under its direct jurisdiction. Non-immigrant services include interdiction, control, reporting, representation, liaison, promotion and recruitment.
Satellite offices also perform a full range of non-immigrant services including issuing tourist, student and temporary-work visas. Staff in these offices are also responsible for reporting on local conditions, maintaining the integrity of the program at the local level, and for immigration interdiction and control functions. They continue to maintain liaison contacts with host country officials and other diplomatic, official and non-government organizations representatives. Satellite offices also conduct interviews and investigate specific issues as directed by the RPC.
Full-Service Centres continue to offer a complete range of all immigrant and non-immigrant services. These stand-alone offices operate where local workloads are not routine or cannot be easily processed elsewhere, or where political realities inhibit the RPC-satellite concept.
Specialized offices provide additional reporting and liaison activities in key cities where immigration/refugee topics are of continuing interest, and conduct other unique duties. As these offices are an integral part of the Department's overseas network, they may also perform processing functions if necessary.
Processing times at visa offices vary. For example, routine applications by spouses can usually be processed in about six months. More complicated applications can take longer. The calculation of processing times begins only when the visa office receives a properly completed application form. There are several reasons why an application would be considered non-routine. Examples of situations requiring lengthier processing times include:
� the need for an interview;
� difficulties in communicating with the applicant due to local communication structures or an inaccurate/outdated contact address provided by the sponsor;
� lack of co-operation on the part of the applicant in providing the visa office with timely information;
� the need for additional medical examinations;
� complications regarding the criminal or security status of the applicant or dependants;
� applicant has difficulty obtaining satisfactory supporting documents; or
� problems with the sponsor's ability to fulfil the financial obligations of the sponsorship.
A number of self-assessment guides have been developed to assist overseas clients make applications correctly. These include guides for visitors, students, temporary workers, and family class and independent immigrants. The self-assessment guides provide specifics regarding the admissions requirements, application forms and instructions on how to complete the forms.
OVERSEAS MEDICAL SERVICES
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is responsible for:
� the immigration medical examinations of all prospective immigrants to Canada, as well as certain long-term visitors and temporary workers;
� the determination of medical inadmissibility under the Immigration Act;
� the analysis and reporting of international medical and health developments to the appropriate parties; and
� the administration of all non-insured health services of indigent people applying for landed immigrant status within Canada.
Permanent residents who want to leave Canada for extended periods (usually six months or longer) and do not want to jeopardize their permanent resident status, should apply for a Returning Resident Permit. These permits are available from local Immigration offices and Canadian visa offices abroad. The Returning Resident Permit is presented at the port of entry upon return to Canada. These permits show that it was not your intention to "abandon" Canada as your place of permanent residence.
Please note that transportation companies may refuse a permanent resident permission to board the carrier if the person has been outside Canada for more than six months during any 12-month period and does not have this permit.
ROLES OF OTHER DEPARTMENTS
Parts of the immigration program are delivered in co-operation with other federal departments and agencies.
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade -- Supplies common services to all federal departments that have employees abroad. It supports the immigration program by providing office and living accommodations for Citizenship and Immigration Canada employees, communications, shipping of supplies, and administration of locally-hired program and support staff.
Health Canada -- provides policy input on medical examinations and standards.
Revenue Canada -- examines all persons arriving in Canada and refers certain individuals to immigration officers for further examination.
Department of Justice -- represents Citizenship and Immigration Canada in court.
Federal Court of Canada -- hears appeals.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) -- investigates and prosecutes specific contraventions of the Immigration Act, such as organized smuggling of immigrants into Canada.
Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) -- conducts enquiries into the security/criminality admissibility of immigrants and some visitors, and provides advice to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Human Resources Development Canada -- validates offers of employment.
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