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How far has COVID-19 affected Canada Immigration?

Posted on April 1, 2020
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Canada Immigration

According to Worldometer, as on March 28, the coronavirus is affecting as many as 199 countries and territories globally, along with 1 international conveyance [cruise ship Diamond Princess that is harbored in Japan at Yokohama].

Canada is taking various measures in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

In an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the US and Canada have mutually decided to close borders for non-essential traffic. This was confirmed by President Trump in a March 18 Tweet, “We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!”

Canadians that are in the US on a visit will be allowed to return home.

While the Canadian government announced a travel ban on March 16, it later came out with a new official statement – PC Number: 2020-0157 – on March 18 in order to further define the terms of the ban.

As per the official statement, the Canadian travel ban that began on March 18 at 12 pm EDT would be effective until June 30, 2020 at 12 pm EDT.

The global situation dictated by COVID-19 is in a state of flux and constantly evolving.

With the travel restrictions and other bans in place, there is much speculation as to the immediate future of immigration to various countries. Canada is no exception.

With its welcoming stance towards immigrants from all over the world, Canada is the top choice for a majority of overseas-born nationals where it comes to migration with family in 2020.

Canada plans on welcoming more than 1 million by 2022.

Canada Immigration

Here, let us assess as to how far has Canadian immigration been affected by COVID-19.

Express Entry profiles are still being accepted:

You can still submit an Express Entry profile to the government of Canada.

Draws continue to be held:

Federal as well as provincial draws continue to be held. The latest EE Draw #140 was held on March 23. Especially targeted at Canadian Experience Class [CEC] program candidates, as many as 3,232 were invited with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System [CRS] cut-off of 467.

EE Draw #140 is the second draw to be held within 5 days. EE Draw #139 was held on March 18 in which 668 Invitations to Apply [ITAs] were sent.

Similarly, provinces also continue to hold draws under the Provincial Nominee Program [PNP]. On March 24, Alberta released the details of the draw held on March 4 under the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program [AINP].

Permanent residents and temporary residents can still enter Canada:

Despite the travel restrictions in Canada – from March 18 to June 30 – due to COVID-19, Canada has granted an exemption to permanent residents and temporary residents so that they can enter Canada despite the travel ban.

Processing of PR applications is still on:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC] is still processing applications submitted for Canadian permanent residence.

All completed applications are being processed as per schedule.

However, there might be delays in the standard IRCC processing times due to services restrictions and disruptions in view of COVID-19.

Additional time being given for submission of applications:

Individuals that have experienced delays in getting together their documentation due to disruptions as a consequence of COVID-19 measures are being given an additional 90 days’ period for submitting their completed applications.

Exemptions under the travel ban:

Despite the travel ban till June 30, certain individuals can still come to Canada in the period that the travel ban is in force. These are –

  • Citizens of Canada
  • Permanent residents of Canada
  • Immediate family – spouse or common law partner, dependent child, tutor or guardian, parent or step-parent, grandchild – of citizen / PR of Canada
  • Passengers transiting through Canada
  • International students, holding either a valid study permit or approval for one [as on March 18]
  • Temporary foreign workers
  • PR applicants that had been approved for Canadian permanent residence before March 16 but were yet to travel to Canada

However, do keep in mind that even if you do come under those exempted under the travel ban, do not book any travel to Canada unless you verify the current situation from the official website of the government of Canada.

Those with temporary status allowed to remain:

In case you are in Canada on a temporary status [visitor, student, worker] and your temporary status is about to expire soon, you will be allowed to remain in Canada by applying online for a status extension.

Courses delivered online will not affect PGWP eligibility:

If your courses are being offered online due to coronavirus disruptions, there will be no effect on your eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit [PGWP]. You can still apply for PGWP even if you are studying online.

Temporary residence applications being accepted:

Temporary residence applications are still being accepted and processed by IRCC.

Temporary Foreign Worker [TFW] applications are being processed:

Canada continues with the processing of TFW applications. Priority to be given to Labour Market Impact Assessments [LMIAs] from Canadian employers involved in occupations critical for ensuring the food supply in Canada, such as – trucking, food processing, agri-food, and primary agriculture.

Moreover, LMIAs will temporarily be accepted online.

New LMIAs to be issued with an extended validity period of 9 months, in place of the existing 6 months. Those with already approved LMIAs are being given an extension of 3 months, making their validity period a total of 9 months.

The government of Canada is taking various proactive measures for countering the disruptions caused by COVID-19 pandemic. While the government tweaks and updates its immigration rules and processes, it sure is almost business as usual in Canada.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate Overseas, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No. 1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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