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Biometrics cause ‘bottleneck’ for Ukrainians fleeing to Canada, ease France arrivals

Biometrics cause ‘bottleneck’ for Ukrainians fleeing to Canada, ease France arrivals
 

As refugees from Ukraine enter in large numbers to safe haven countries, the CBC reports that biometric collection is becoming a “bottleneck” for those seeking safety in Canada, as the screening process creates roadblocks and delays.

The CBC says Canadians aiding and sponsoring Ukrainian refugees are facing obstacles due to challenges with booking an appointment for biometric data collection as part of the mandatory visa requirement under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel. Jamie Liew, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, is quoted by the CBC as saying, “We’re now seeing biometrics [are] creating a bottleneck and really serve as a barrier from effective, swift protection. I think Canada should rethink this given what they’re seeing on the ground.”

Canada has already taken action to clear the backlog, and is planning to process more fingerprint biometrics and face photographs in Warsaw, Poland; Vienna, Austria; and Bucharest, Romania with mobile biometric kits and temporary pop-ups as previously reported by Biometric Update. The government announced that move just weeks ago.  The CBC reports that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is also sending more staff to the European capital cities to accommodate the increase in demand and will prioritize Ukrainians for emergency same-day appointments.

Liew and a Warsaw resident who is helping Ukrainians through the refugee screening process say that biometric collection could be done in Canada rather than Europe, which would expedite the procedure. Liew adds that Canada has legal recourse if biometric screening of Ukrainian refugees reveals a security issue.

No French visa needed for biometric passport-holders

According to SchengenVisaInfo, almost 4 million Ukrainians have fled their country, with most finding asylum in Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, and Slovakia. France says it will accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, and they will not have to hold a short-stay visa to travel to France or other Schengen Area countries if they have a biometric passport.

A statement published to a government website, however, makes clear that those not in possession of a biometric passport must visit consular offices in one of the countries bordering Ukraine to apply for a visa or travel pass.

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