Saturday, March 25, 2023

Nexus program backlog balloons to approximately 300,000 applications

Canada’s backlog of Nexus applications has swelled into the hundreds of thousands, despite a sharp drop in applicants during the pandemic.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says 295,133Nexus applications have yet to be processed due to ongoing office closures due to COVID-19.

Cardholders in the program, which allows pre-approved Canadians to pass through separate, faster lines when traveling to the United States, must be risk-assessed by both the CBSA and US Customs and Border Protection.

The US agency reopened its Nexus Enrollment Centers to interview applicants on April 19, but the centers in Canada are closed after closing in March 2020.

The resulting backlog means some Nexus members are struggling to book sit-downs before their cards expire, as Canadian residents are hoping to renew their status, with only a few less than a dozen. Seema may schedule interviews at community offices where slots are few.

CBSA said in an email that Canada and the United States are in discussions about reopening Canadian enrollment centers.

“While the extent of the backlog in 2019 is not known, I can tell you that the backlog has increased significantly to pre-pandemic levels due to the closure of enrollment centers in March 2020 for public health reasons,” said spokeswoman Rebecca Purdy .

Meanwhile, the FAST program for cross-border commercial truck drivers now sports a backlog of 11,018, CBSA said.

Jacques Roy, professor of transportation management at HEC Montreal Business School, says the backlog is affecting business and leisure travelers. This puts pressure on airports already grappling with a shortage of security staff and endless queues.

“I’m really having a hard time understanding why nothing was done or processed during that period,” Roy said of the ongoing office closures.

The CBSA says it continues to conduct risk assessments remotely within its standard 30-day time-frame for new applicants or those seeking to renew soon-to-be cards.

However, once both countries have pre-approved the application, “the onus is on the applicant to schedule an interview at NEXUS/FAST EC (enrollment centre) using the online portal.”

It has not set a date for when Canada’s enrollment centers will open their doors.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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