COVID-19 & Immigration to Canada

News and Benefits to Consider

Canada, with the rest of the world, is going through a period of uncertainty. The Coronavirus pandemic effects have left many foreign visa applicants, permanent residents, and Canadian citizens uncertain about where they are. In this article, we will discover how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Canada’s immigration process.

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, announced that a travel restriction would be introduced from March 18th, delaying obtaining a Canadian visa. Despite these restrictions, the Canadian government has not changed its position on immigration and continues to actively accept visa applications, but encourages immigrants to continue applying locally.

Canada has also developed various solutions to overcome COVID’s direct and indirect influence on the Canadian community and those who seek to become part of it. These include provincial and territorial testing stations and economic assistance to help mitigate most businesses’ impact.

The Canadian labor market was labor-starved long before COVID-19 because of early retirement, low birth rates, and the influx of labor into Canada’s major urban centers. 

The truth is that the Canadian labor market was labor-starved long before COVID-19 because of early retirement, low birth rates, and the influx of labor into Canada’s major urban centers. 

It led to various immigration options, such as the Express Entry system, which aims to help highly skilled immigrants immigrate to Canada and enjoy some of the most amazing benefits available to Canada’s permanent residents and citizens. It includes free public health care and secondary education in one of the world’s most dynamic and welcoming communities.

Before going deeper into why Canada is one of the best places to be during the Coronavirus Pandemic, let’s look at the progress Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government have made in ensuring the safety and prosperity of the Canadian people and how COVID-19 has influenced the application process for immigration to Canada.

Changes To Canadian Immigration Procedures

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has published a set of updated measures to help temporary and permanent residents maintain and obtain rights to stay or work in Canada during the outbreak. 

Temporary Residence Applicants From Outside Canada

  • Additional 90 days for temporary residents who need to submit documents for further consideration. None of the applications under consideration will be closed or rejected due to lack of documents (for example, if it is impossible to obtain a certificate from the police, medical records, transcript, certified documents, etc.);
  • The biometric terms are automatically extended for 90 days;
  • Some visa centers are closed until further notice, which can lead to delays in visa processing.

Permanent Residence Applicants

  • Permission to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry without all necessary documents.
  • Additional delays for people who have been granted permanent residency but cannot come to Canada to confirm their permanent residence.
  • The IRCC will continue to accept new permanent residency applications even if some documents are missing if applicants can justify why they cannot obtain the document.

Citizenship Applicants

Currently, all citizenship tests and procedures are canceled until further notice.

Applications from the most affected countries

As expected, we noted an increase in the processing time of applications being processed in China, Iran, and South Korea.

IRCC has also created a unique channel for applicants in China, Iran, and South Korea. They need a visitors-visa, study permit, or work permit on an urgent basis to travel to Canada.

Common FAQs About The Coronavirus And Canadian Immigration

Are The Borders Still Open To Allow Foreign Immigrants?

Since March 16, 2020, Canada’s Government has decided to temporarily limit travel abroad except for permanent Canadian immigrants, Canadian or U.S. citizens, and diplomats. 

This decision was introduced to help smooth the curve or, in other words, reduce the spread of COVID. As of March 18th, only four airports allowed international flights to and from Canada. 

However, the travel restrictions do not apply to cargo and transportation of goods and domestic flights. Canada’s decision to take proactive measures is in the interests of those currently residing in Canada and those who wish to study or work in Canada and travel or immigrate to Canada shortly.

Is Canada Stopping Immigration?

No, Canada is increasing immigration to strengthen its economy after the Coronavirus Pandemic. Canada remains open to those who wish to apply to enter the country. Express, provincial nomination, Quebec, and other immigration programs continue to operate. 

Under a new immigration level plan for 2021-2023, Canada will seek to accommodate more than 400,000 immigrants per year. It is the highest level of immigration in Canadian history.

How Has COVID-19 Affected The Process For Visa Applications?

The Canadian visa application process was not affected, except to help you settle in if you are in the process of applying or want to apply for a Canadian visa.

Suppose you are applying from any high-risk area, such as China, Iran, or South Korea. In that case, you will be given an additional 90 days to apply for supporting documents, provided you can provide evidence that you were unable to obtain them because of a restriction. 

It includes the inability to provide such documents:

  • Police certificates
  • Medical Certificates
  • Biometrics
  • Passports

If you are currently applying for a visa, there is no need to panic. IRCC has once again extended the visa application period by 90 days so you can apply for permanent residence in Canada.

The minimum time to apply for a Canadian visa is, on average, about 6 to 8 months. It might be longer depending on the visa option you choose and where you are applying from. Therefore, quitting now while you are ahead of other applicants is not the best solution.

Temporary residents who wish to apply for an extension due to their visa expiration will also be given more time to do so through an online application.

Can I Still Apply for a Canadian Visa?

Yes. Although there can be some delays in processing visa applications, the process of applying for a visa in Canada remains the same and is still open to skilled workers who want to start a new life in Canada. 

Although the government is strict to allow people to enter or leave the country, the goal of inviting 1 million newcomers to Canada by 2022 remains unchanged. It is possibly an excellent time to apply!

Benefits Of Canadian Visa Application Now

Your Chances Are Automatically Increased

The Canadian government has seen some decline in visa applications due to panic and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 and immigration pandemic. 

Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, this has left the opportunity to get a visa application approved sooner rather than later. 

For Canadian immigration systems, such as Express Entry, a scoring system is used. It ranks you based on your age, education, and language ability (among others). 

Your chances of getting an ITA (Invitation to Apply) for permanent residence in Canada will automatically increase because fewer applicants will be ranked compared to others.

Now it should be the best time to invest in your future by applying in advance. The sooner you start applying for a Canadian visa, the better your chances of getting an ICC!

The Future Remains Bright

The Canadian government’s proactive stance on the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as recent advances in vaccine science, have already begun to shed a ray of hope around the world. 

Human trials have already started in countries such as the United States. With the COVID-19 vaccine, which is estimated to be potentially ready for worldwide distribution in roughly 12-18 months, which takes about the same amount of time to process a Canadian visa application, the question is, why not start applying for a Canadian visa now? 

In case you are not sure how to proceed, consider Canada immigration consultant to get professional help and advice.

Most Recent Policy Updates

Canada has taken steps to improve service in India and the United States. VACs now offer limited biometrics for specific eligible customers (priority for family reunification and study permit cases). In the United States, two new VACs are available in San Francisco and Seattle to help meet the demand for biometrics caused by the backlog of COVID-19.

The Canada-US border will be closed until December 21st (Source: Secretary of Public Security Bill Blair). The extension of the border closure is not surprising, as both countries struggle with an increasing level of COVID-19 contamination. There is no guarantee that border closures will be lifted after that date, as they are negotiated monthly.

Canada has extended an emergency travel ban on most foreign nationals until November 30th (Source: Order in Council). The extension of the emergency order maintains the same restrictions and exceptions that have been in place for the past few months. Note that this ban applies to all countries except the United States, which has a separate travel ban until December 21st.

To Sum Up

Thinking about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on immigration during previous outbreaks, such as H1B1 in 2008-9 or SARS, Ebola, and MERS, it should be understood that Canada’s immigration has generally remained stable or even increased if we look at annual figures. 

Thus, if COVID-19 does not become a dramatic pandemic, it is more likely that there will be specific movement restrictions until the outbreak weakens and then levels or disappears. 

Suppose you have successfully applied for immigration or travel to Canada, and you come from a country such as China. In that case, additional medical examinations may be required, and your plans may be delayed. 

However, at this stage, it seems unlikely that you might be refused. And if you have not yet applied for a Canadian immigration visa, you can do so as soon as possible. Just be patient because there is more time to process.

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