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This article was published 8/12/2017 (737 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After spending much time, energy and money fighting to stay in Canada, a family that owns a tourist lodge may be spared from making another 320-kilometre trip to Winnipeg to see immigration officials.
The Warkentin family who found out this week that their application for permanent resident status was approved may be able to take part in a federal pilot program that would let them finalize the process by phone rather than in person.
On Dec. 1, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced it was testing a new method to confirm permanent residence by telephone.
The Winnipeg lawyer representing the Warkentins, who in 2013 moved from Colorado to the village of Waterhen in northwest Manitoba, is contacting the federal immigration department to suggest that their final step toward permanent residence be processed through the pilot program.
"For this family and other applicants in rural Manitoba, this program would save them time and money," said Alastair Clarke.
"Under normal procedures for landed permanent residents, they come to Winnipeg to meet with an officer," said Clarke. "They will be asked questions to confirm there have been no significant changes in their situation, then permanent residence status will be conferred," he said. "That's the final step."
The pilot project would allow some — who've already filled out reams of paperwork, met all the requirements and been approved to stay in Canada — to finalize the process by phone. Once a permanent residence application has been approved, the applicants will be sent an email from an address ending in "@cic.gc.ca" or a message through their IRCC online accounts inviting them to be confirmed as a permanent resident by telephone, the federal department said in an online notice.
After applicants complete their telephone interview, they will then have their confirmation of permanent resident status either mailed to them or uploaded in their IRCC online account, it said.
The immigration department says that applicants cannot request to be included in the pilot project but Clarke said his office plans to contact IRCC about the Warkentins "and suggest that they are ideal candidates."
Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.