Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you. That's a really great question.
Client service is not just about faster processing and reducing backlogs or eliminating them. It's also about how we interact with people. It's about how the immigration system deals with the client in terms of how they feel after going through a phone call, or how they find the complexity of the forms, the website, and so on. All those things are on the table with respect to client service, so it's not just the question of processing times and backlogs.
Client service is our focus and we meet frequently about this. I get weekly updates on the progress we're making with respect to client service.
View Ahmed Hussen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Doing something with respect to lessening the complexity and making it easier to use forms, the website, the phone, and the 1-800 number is absolutely part of our focus, making sure that, not only is it easier to use the various aspects of the immigration system, but also having the client, once they interact with the system, feel much better than they did coming in. That means putting them first, putting the client central to everything we do.
Does that mean faster processing times? Absolutely. Does that mean reducing wait times? It also includes the fact that some people don't mind waiting a little bit longer if they know what the status of their file is. Therefore, that may also include communicating more regularly with the client and letting them know the progress of their file.
View Borys Wrzesnewskyj Profile
Lib. (ON)
Committee, I understand that Mr. Arnold has a commitment that he has no option but to leave for. I will allow Mr. Arnold the opportunity to quickly say a few words, and we'll then launch right into questions.
I understand you have to leave in about seven to 10 minutes.
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you all for being here. We apologize that we had to quickly run to the House for votes.
As you know, for all of us MPs, most of our work is dealing with a lot of immigration files, so we're looking at ways to improve the system. With the advanced technology available now, are there better ways to improve client services through more online services or with technology? I'd like to hear from a couple of you.
If anyone wants to speak first they can, but maybe we can go around and ask that question.
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
That was one of my other questions. A lot of our time is wasted just getting status updates. Clients come in and ask where their application is, at what step, and then we have to fill out a consent form and so on and go through all the steps and then call and finally deliver that message to our constituents.
Thank you for sharing that.
Would anyone else like to share?
Go ahead, Mr. Green.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2017-02-01 16:55
Perhaps I could beg your patience also, just because I'm so excited that you're here, Mr. Arnold, as well as all of our guests. I just want to say a huge thanks to all of you for spending an extra hour waiting for us.
I'm going to ask a few questions, Mr. Arnold. If you don't have time to respond to them, I'd be very grateful if you just give us written responses.
One question I have is this. We have the issue of a huge backlog in a number of different categories, in terms of spousal applications, in terms of parents and grandparents, in terms of visas, in terms of different places in the world. Does a similar backlog exist for different classes of applications in Australia? I'll start with that question.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2017-02-01 16:56
How's that dealt with? Do you just fill the 50 you have that might have existed from years before? How is that worked through?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2017-02-01 16:57
Okay.
As you know, we're a multicultural nation. I believe we only offer services in English and French. Does Australia offer immigration services in any other language for anything? If so, could you explain that?
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2017-02-01 16:58
That's helpful.
You talked quite a bit about your ImmiAccount. Could you provide a bit more detail in writing, not now, on what that is? That would be helpful. You said it was set up like a bank account.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2017-02-01 16:58
The thing I'd love to get a little more information about is what happens when someone is checking their ImmiAccount for the status of their application, whatever it is. What type of information would you give back? Often, what we say here is that it is just “in process”, which is a source of great frustration for us. If you could maybe provide something back to us on that, I think it would be of great interest to the committee.
That's my last question for you, as I have a couple of other questions for the rest of the panellists.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2017-02-01 17:00
I have a couple of questions for CBA as well as TD, if I can get to them.
Thanks very much for your prepared report.
One of the ideas from our family reunification study was to have something similar to a CRA number, system having one number for an applicant for whatever processes they go through. One of the points you make is that IRCC shares client delivery service for the temporary foreign worker program with Employment and Social Development Canada. Do you have some thoughts to share on that and whether you think that would be useful.
I'm going to ask my two or three questions and if you're able to get to the answers, that's great. If not, if you can give me a written response, that would be also very much appreciated.
The second thing I want to ask you about is the removal of red flags and the procedure for that. You were talking about ports of entry. I'm curious about that. I'm also interested in this because there are red flags on a number of the people I deal with. I've no clue. Some of them, I think, were fairly applied and some, and some not. So I wouldn't mind your talking a little about the issue and maybe making a recommendation on the process to remove that, and what you think is fair.
You also mentioned ports of entry. It is common knowledge among Canadian immigration lawyers the need to avoid certain points of entry, based on a history of lengthy delays, unwarranted scrutiny, and bad decisions. Could you highlight which ports of entry those might be? It would be helpful to us in trying to figure out how to help.
My last question for you concerns program and technical issues. You suggested that if we're evolving our client service delivery system, we might want to bring in the CBA at the design stage to test it with lawyers. In that regard, do you know what percentage of applicants to our system use immigration lawyers? This may be an unfair question. It's just a question that came up, and I'm curious to hear your response.
Then to TD, if we don't have enough time, I'd love a written response on this as well.
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2017-02-01 17:02
The reason we've brought you here is that we're trying to use the best practices in service delivery that you would recommend. What are the one or two recommendations for our immigration system...?
View Salma Zahid Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
Thanks to all of you. I'm sorry for all the time confusion today.
My first question is for Mr. Arnold.
In Canada, a frustration that many of my colleagues and I share is that due to cutbacks in service levels and staff by our immigration department, members of Parliament have to do a lot of immigration work. In representing a riding with a heavy immigrant population, a lot of our resources are dedicated to checking the status of the applications. The applicants are not able to do so and don't get the response or answer they need. These inquiries constitute as much, or more than, 80% of what we do: just checking the status of the applications.
Could you discuss the role of Australian parliamentarians in your immigration system? Are they faced with the same challenges, or have you been able to overcome those?
View Salma Zahid Profile
Lib. (ON)
You indicated some of your processing times, and mentioned, for example, a three-week processing time for the TRVs. Are the processing times globally for different categories—TRVs, spousal applications, sponsorship of other dependent family members—about the same, or do certain regions have a higher processing time as compared to other regions?
View Salma Zahid Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are you aware of any particular regions in the world where the processing time is much longer compared to certain other regions? Maybe if you don't have the information, you could get us it.
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