Starting in 2013, Iranian visitors applying for a visa in Canada will have to be fingerprinted and photographed.
The newly enforced legislation, which stemmed from amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act on June 28, 2012, requires visitors from 29 selected countries to hand over their biometric information if applying for temporary resident visa, a study permit or a work permit.
Applicants will have to pay a fee of $85 that would recover about 50 per cent of annual costs.
For Iranian foreign nationals, the Regulations will be enforced on December 7, 2013.
“The objective of the proposal is to strengthen Canada’s immigration program and protect the safety and security of Canadians,” according to the Canada Gazette.
Roughly 20 per cent of the 300,000 temporary resident applicants will be required to provide their biometric information in the first year of its implementation. Children under 14, the elderly over 79, and diplomats are exempt.
The twenty nine countries affected by the new rules include: Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, Albania, Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Vietnam and Yemen and those with passports issued by the Palestinian Authority.
“The rise in global identity fraud and recent advancements in technology that make it easy to steal, forge or alter identity documents are making it increasingly challenging for immigration officials to accurately screen individuals wishing to come to Canada,” according to the Gazette.
The biometric information will be sent to the RCMP to “establish or verify the identity of a person in order to prevent, investigate or prosecute an offence under any law of Canada or a province” and to “establish or verify the identity of a person whose identity cannot be established or verified because of their death or any other physical or mental condition.”
A foreign national applying for one of the visas will have to visit a Visa Application Centres – an independent service provider contracted by Ottawa – to provide the information.