Last Tuesday I drove to Buffalo (US) to get first hand experience on Canadian Immigration office . The US immigration officer checking my Canadian passport just asked my destination and time to get back. He was very polite and did not ask my originality, which were a relief and a positive attitude. The Canadian Embassy is located at 30th floor of HSBC building. There was a line up at the lobby of the building; you could see variety of nationalities in the line to get landing paper or tourist visas.
In order to access into the elevator and the building every body has to obtain a pass from the building security, which was unusual for me, as a Canadian. However, Tim Horton fresh coffee smells Canada for me while the hanging US flag shows me where I am standing.
A Canadian consulate security woman checked the documents. She stuck a number paper to the jacket. Then the security woman guided the group to board the elevator to the 30th floor. We left the cell phones and baggage at the door.
There were almost 60 people sitting in the red plastic chairs across the hallway, waiting to be called while two mounted TV showing CNN. I told to the security woman, why not CBC? She smiled.
There are three booths, two for delivering documents and one paying cash, which you have a beautiful view of the main street with old buildings. While I saw seven women include two security personnel who were polite which doing well, but I did not see any man. Processing visa lasting to three hours, which is very good. Hundred people from 8 am to 11 am who were out by noon.
I talked to an Iranian -French in family business of an art gallery in Montreal and Tehran who had flown for 11 hours from Dubai directly to New York and Buffalo to get the landing paper. He confirmed what we hear on the mistreatment of Canadian embassy in Tehran. He told me that there is a small window on the side of the embassy’s wall, which so many applicants have to wait long hours just to get to that window. Lack of appointment system is unfair. It is more human by running a booking system to make the people more comfortable and avert wasting time and humiliation such as US embassy in Canada
Also, UK embassy in Tehran have eliminated the line up and hassles of applicants who have to come from far part of Iran.
The efficiency of the immigration officers at the Buffalo consulate shows that the embassy can make the service better in Tehran and respect Iranian. While the Embassy has the right to grant visa to those who entering their country but the embassy’s shall respect the dignity of Iranian and do not mix the politics with the family affair.
To my knowledge, Mrs. Susan Scarlet, head of Immigration department at the Canadian embassy, in Tehran is the one behind the mass visa rejection of the intellectual and family members. There are some unconfirmed reports that Mrs. Scarlet, does not get the advice from the consulate that is in charge of political affairs. I sent a letter to Mrs. Scarlet in Tehran asking her explanation on the visa denial of some intellectual such as Reza Alijani and Shadi Sadr but the embassy referred me to Syrian embassy, which was a misleading
While Canada has a right to grant the visas for other nationalities they have to treat every nation with respect and fairness.
Iranains deserve better treatment by Canadian embassy in Tehran.