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John and Ken, what are your guys doing for current waiver clients waiting to deliver paperwork. Specific Non Essential applications. I have several clients who did not deliver waivers before the border was closed or who want to start the renewal process. My concerns: When border starts taking applications again, I am speculating it will be by appointment only, some type of COVID or medical test will be required, and there will be a short time frame before the "fee increase hold" is removed. My biggest concern, is that the fingerprints are going to be expired and the RCMP will be backlogged with requests. I feel that I should be starting to fingerprint people now, as the fingerprints results are good for 15 months. I would like to know what you guys are doing for your clients...Thanks!
I have been delaying most people and telling them to "start" in February. I figured March/April re-opening at best. Man y of them are doing their fingerprints now.
For the ones that were done, but didn't get to hand it in, we are monitoring the prints, and if they get close to expiring, we will just re-do them.
I am not "completing" the package yet for new clients, because I don't want to find out they want to do it e-Safe and re-type the forms for example. So just personal letters, and getting references written or writing them for the clients right now.
When we have concrete evidence or at least it looks "likely" for a date, I will just make appointments around the clock. Luckily we have 24 hour access here, and are able to get clients in so no one is delayed. My plan will be to divide them up into "urgent" and "not urgent" and prioritize them for appointments that way.
@Ken, thanks for information, I agree with the process you are using, and think that I will start getting the fingerprints done. I agree also, it is easier to update paperwork, then to start a new application under the tight timelines that I think will be going on. The RCMP completely fold under pressure of fingerprinting. I don't want to be in the situation I was in when the Parole Board announced their huge fee increase from 250 to 631 and everyone rushed to get a Pardon. Fingerprints were taking 6 to 8 months to process, it was a nightmare.
@Michelle Well, we are still preparing the packets but holding onto them for the moment. The plan is to then distribute them to people as soon as the border starts accepting packets. We also hold onto them in case they make ESAFE mandatory. Most of our people are still fine with paying for the prep work now.
I have also promised them that they will get a free upgrade since the waiver application is actually expiring at the end of April. It is a lot easier for us to upgrade their packets since we have them in our possession. It would also not be fair for us to charge them to upgrade since they are the innocent victims in this border fiasco.
Also, a lot of our cases require a lot of research, so it takes longer to prepare them. We have been having a number of our people making monthly payments during COVID-19 as well. A.C. Khan is an example since there is information on him in Canada, USA, and Australia that requires research. Hence, we have to contact a number of govt agencies to get their information.
I agree that they may require the COVID-19 test or possibly proof of vaccination. I also agree with you about the bigger nightmare of the fee increase. I am thinking and hoping that the new head of DHS will not allow the fee increase to become policy. We are also having people do their prints now since they do have the 15-month window.
My personal recommendation is that you start having them come in now for fingerprinting. I do not know if you have been having them make monthly payments through COVID-19. If not, then now would be a good time to start. Also, it would be a good time now to slowly start preparing packets. Obviously, I am not telling you what to do but I think you would be justified in recharging the people that had their waiver packets in their possession but failed to deliver them prior to March 20, 2020.
I am thinking and hoping (mostly hoping) that they will start taking packets by April or May. Also, you have some specials skills and knowledge that we are interested in that would be greatly beneficial in our seminars. I will reach out to you privately to discuss and make an offer. I need someone to role play as a CBP bully and also someone to help explain to these people about the basic inner working of Canadian police agencies. You are great for the 2nd part, and we hope to restart the in-person sessions when the border reopens.
Senior U.S. Immigration Law Intelligence Analyst
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