Canada is distributing mobile biometric kits across its immigration offices in Europe to filter for the security and health of Ukrainian refugees, according to a report by Immigration, as Denmark and Poland see thousands of applicants for ID and residence status documents stress their refugee systems.
Already 8,500 Ukrainian refugees have entered Canada since the start of the war in Ukraine, with more expected since the Canadian government announced it would accept an unlimited number. To process refugees, Immigration reports that Canada will fingerprint and photograph prospective refugees in Warsaw, Poland; Vienna, Austria; and Bucharest, Romania with mobile biometric kits and temporary pop-ups for biometric collection.
Peter Liang, a communications advisor of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), told Immigration that, “Biometrics continue to be a mandatory requirement for clients applying to come to Canada and must be submitted to IRCC prior to the issuance of a visa.”
Canada will also extend the time to submit a biometrics instructions letter for Ukrainian refugees so they can visit a visa application center (VAC). A VAC is a private company authorized by the Canadian government to collect and submit visa applications and biometric data; in this case, fingerprints and a face photo.
Liang says the biometric enrollment is instated to preserve the safety and health of Canadians. “All immigrants, refugees and visitors, including temporary foreign workers and students, are carefully screened before coming into Canada. This screening ensures that these persons do not pose a threat to the health, safety or security of Canadians,” he told Immigration.
Document issuance, application challenges in Europe
The surge in Ukrainian refugees has also impacted immigration and refugee services in Denmark and Poland. The Local reports that four offices were opened in Denmark to receive biometric data submissions from Ukrainian refugees with another two locations to be opened soon, as demand “bottlenecks” services.
In neighboring Poland, thousands of Ukrainian refugees are lining up outside of Warsaw’s National Stadium to apply for a PESEL identity card that functions as a work, residence, education, medical and social services permit, according to The Times of Israel.