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Customer Centred Approach Highlights the new concept for Immigration Department Canada

September 2017, 11
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A client-centred approach is about to usher a new era at IRCC. It is set to bring a shift in the manner of dealing with the applicants by the Immigration Department.

People would be dealt softly when they ask questions when their applications do not reach the minimum processing time.

The culture of complaints of poor customer service, long time to process, and deficiency in providing accurate and timely information to applicants will be done away with.

The department had launched a branch for studying client experiences with the appointment of Michelle Lattimore, a civil servant, as its head for better client support, efficient call centres, proper service strategy and also for providing service insights and experimentation. The aim was to make immigration a pleasant experience.

It is important to note that improved customer service goes a long way to make Canada an attractive destination for students and visitors, and also the immigrants in a competitive world. This may take several years to really happen. The people are forced to use the services of call centres, which is a core problem.

The rate of client satisfaction was 85% as per a department survey, but there were 5.2 million inquiries during the year through email and phone for information on their cases. The department received 5000 complaints with concerns relating to processing times, the call centre and online operation of accounts of applicants.

In an experiment majority of the people had an experience with immigration and wished to talk about it. Those interviewed opined that they were worried as the department was reluctant to disclose information in the waiting period and were not worried about the time taken for processing. They were ready to wait for 12 months, but really wished to know is what was actually happening during those 12-months. They had no clues about the happenings, or if the authorities forgot about them, or needed other information. There were worries whether they had missed an email/letter. Delay of Processing time and a policy paralysis impacted significantly on their lives.

In order to improve consistency, immigration agents were given added training to go for asking the right questions and know what the caller really wanted and provide the information needed. There was room for the immigration agents to provide quality information to the callers. the agents were always busy as per a statement of Hematyar, of Immigration Associations of Canada Newcomers. His group had applied for about 600 refugee sponsorship applications, which were treated improperly during the process.

When emails were sent to the processing centre, there was no reply. The issues of transferring the cases to a visa office, losing the files, and the accountability of government were enough to raise the level of frustration regarding immigration.

Another measure adopted by the immigration department was, sending a text message, when spousal sponsorship applications, containing love letters, photographs and other proofs-of-relationship, were received in the mailroom.

When there is a small investment to solve emerging challenges, it makes a big difference. Viewing immigration as a service from the perspective of a client will yield good results.  There is a need for an ombudsperson at the federal immigration level. An office having the authority to perform systemic reviews and providing a remedy for better service standards is the need of the day.

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