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Canadian visa application center suffers setback

Canadian visa application center suffers setback

Scores of people attempting to attain a Canadian visa are in limbo as the Canadian visa application center’s system in Ethiopia, operated by VFS Global in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ethiopia, has stopped working for over a week compromising their chances of getting a visa.

The new arrangement has become part of the visa process for Ethiopian applicants since last summer, requiring all applications to go through a ten-digit fingerprint reader and be part of the latest technologies used to root-out human trafficking, terrorism, smuggling and any form of exploitation.

 “Due to a system outage, the Canada visa application center in Addis Ababa is temporarily not able to collect biometrics from all applicants until further notice,” VFS Global said in a statement. “Please check our website regularly or call our center for updates”.

The service started on July 31st of this year. The company had recently raised the fee to 3.010 Birr for all kinds of visa applications, including a temporary residents visa, study and work permits and for permanent resident travel documents. With the rise of fee, the process was said to improve and become more efficient.

The new process was envisioned to offer a single-digit fingerprint reader and offer an advanced system that can compare date records to international and national alter lists of suspected criminals, and compare this data against mobile INTERPOL Network Database and the Fixed INTERPOL Network Database which stores the biometric records of suspects of criminal activities.

A spokesperson of the Canadian Embassy in Addis Ababa confirmed to The Reporter that they have been made aware of the situation.

In related news: The Prime Ministers, Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and Justin Trudeau had a phone conversation on Monday in which the later congratulated Abiy on his reforms, which included gender equality and peace within the region, and the Canadian Prime Minister showing interest to visit Addis Ababa.

The last Canadian Prime Minister to visit Ethiopia was Jean Chretien in 2003.