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Category Archives: Biometrics

Major changes to help international students

Canada aims to attract more international students as they contribute to economic and social development of the country. Canada hosted over 640,000 international students prior to the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has stated that it will help international students with the following reforms:

  • IRCC will prioritize study permit processing for students who have submitted a completed application online.
  • In the light of COVID-19 pandemic, they have launched a temporary 2 stage approval process for international students, who wish to begin their Canadian education program online this fall and, cannot submit a completed study permit application by September 2020.
  • IRCC is also allowing international students to begin their Canadian studies online while they are in their home country and will consider that time count towards their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)eligibility, only if they have submitted a study permit application and if at least 50 per cent of the program is completed in Canada.

Reason to help international students

Canada covets international students and IRCC acknowledges that COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty for international students to begin their programs for the Fall 2020 academic year, so they are rolling out measures to facilitate study permit process. These measures will assist students to commence their studies this fall at a Canadian designated learning institute.

How to get a pre-approval for a study permit?

IRCC will provide an approval-in-principle for study permits if students pass the first stage. The two-stage assessment process will be applied to applicants at all levels of study whose program is starting in the fall semester or earlier and who submit, or have already submitted, a study permit application online on or before September 15, 2020.

At the initial eligibility stage, officers will assess:

For the admissibility stage, before a final decision is made, officers will review the following:

After receiving final approval for their study permit, students will be able to travel to Canada.

Mutual benefits

IRCC has made several temporary policy changes to support and reassure international students as international student attraction is beneficial to both, the students and to the Canadian economy.

International students attain world class education in Canadian learning institutes, with hands on academic learning and a highly dynamic approach. After completing education, students can gain a PGWP and gain work experience which will help to obtain permanent residency through Express EntryProvincial Nominee Program (PNP), and many other pathways.

According to IRCC, in year 2018 Canada accommodated over 650,000 international students at the post-secondary education level in the year 2019 and over 60,000 former international students become immigrants each year.

International students contribute $22 billion annually to support the Canadian economy which in turn facilitates 170,000 jobs in Canada.

How Can-X can help?

  • Each study program has different set of requirements. We help clients in selecting suitable courses and/or programs based on their educational background, interest and long-term goals.
  • We help clients in getting a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
  • We prepare and submit the student visa application on the behalf o the client.

Want help in student visa application process! Please contact us for assessment & more information.

Canada’s immigration in second half of 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on Canada’s immigration system where immigrants were affected by numerous disruptions like difficulties in accessing language testing, credentialing services, biometrics, or other government services while immigration professionals have also been working hard around the clock to adjust to all the policy changes related to immigration.

However, things are continuing to improve in the second half of 2020 such as

  • Immigration candidates can now book and complete an English language test, and obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
  • IRCC is giving candidates more time to submit their documentation, and are not refusing anyone if they are unable to submit a complete application due to COVID-19 interruptions
  • Canada is as committed as ever to welcoming immigrants to support its economy

But there are some of the major issues we should look out for in the remaining six months of 2020.

Travel Restrictions

The biggest issue is when the travel restrictions will be lifted with the U.S. and the rest of the world. Certainly, no one knows. It depends on how successful Canada and other countries will be in containing COVID-19. However, as soon as pandemic will be under control Canada can exempt more immigrants and lift the restrictions.

International Students

Another major issue is whether Canada will accommodate international students in time for the fall 2020 semester. Although IRCC is processing study permits but under current travel restrictions, international students who did not have a valid study permit prior to March 18 are unable to come to Canada. It is anticipated Canada may exempt new study permit holders who wish to begin their studies in Canada by September later this summer.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Since the start of the pandemic, however, express entry draws have only focused on Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates since they are less likely to experience coronavirus disruptions than overseas candidates. However, there are few important points to note:

  • Some of the CEC and PNP candidates now receiving ITAs are also overseas
  • By the time that successful candidates submit their permanent residency applications and they are processed by IRCC, we will be in 2021. At that point, hopefully, Canada’s border rules will have been eased
  • Why should FSWP and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates—some of whom are currently in Canada—be excluded from EE draw
  • It is more likely IRCC may include FSWP in EE draws

Family Class

Yet another important question right now is whether IRCC will renew the Open Work Permit Pilot before it expires on July 31. The pilot gives an open work permit to spouses and partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are waiting for their spousal sponsorship application to be processed. Given how beneficial this pilot is to Canadian families and the economy, we should expect it to be renewed.

Also, Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) has been delayed due to its improvement by IRCC and the onset of COVID-19. However, IRCC may announce details about the program’s launch later in 2020.

Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023

Another biggest story in the next six months will be 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan announcement by the Government. By November 1st, we will know the extent to which COVID-19 is going to impact Canada’s short- and medium-term immigration goals.

Altogether, COVID-19 has not impacted Canada’s need for immigration, so there is a strong chance immigration levels will remain high in 2021 and beyond.

Need help staying in Canada!

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to challenging times in Canada and around the world. Many people are under distress and anxiety. We understand! Can-X is here to help you figure it out, so you can have peace of mind. You could be an international student, worker, or visitor looking to extend your stay in Canada. You may be seeking a pathway to permanent immigration. Or you may be looking to reunite with a loved one. Whatever the reason, contact us to discuss your immigration needs, and we’ll provide our insights and help as much as we can during these difficult times.

We Care!

Immigration application processing system set for massive revamp by the Canadian Government

A complete overhaul of Canadian immigration application processing system is in the works as the government braces for post-pandemic demand for migration to Canada. When travel restrictions begin to ease, a significant surge of applications and support requirements is anticipated, putting tremendous demand on IRCC’s global operations, and supporting branches.

Meanwhile, the government has closed or significantly scaled back many of its immigration operations, including all in-person interviews and the collection of biometrics, while many private visa centers around the globe that have contracts with Canada are also closed. In the face of so many challenges, IRCC has made great efforts to adapt, for instance, by prioritizing applications from Canadians returning to Canada, vulnerable people and people who perform or support essential services.

 How the government is looking to improve application processing system?

The government is seeking to be proactive by developing new strategies, processes, and digital systems to enable it to better fulfill its mandate. For an example, IRCC would like to adapt digital processes whenever possible to minimize the need for in-person or paper-based applications. This would not only protect the safety of IRCC and the public but could also result in more efficient and faster application processing.

Ways to modernize application processing system

Develop Digital Intake Solutions: Including the provision and implementation of digital intake tools to reduce/replace physical presence and paper-based requirements for client services and processing with digital alternatives

Develop and Implement Physical Distancing Required Digital Tools: Including the provision and implementation of tools to address new physical distancing requirements, reducing physical presence requirements of both our clients and employees with digital alternatives (i.e. online citizenship testing, virtual interviewing, etc.)

Implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Including RPA solutions to rapidly automate simple, high volume processes, dealing with employee shortages as well as allowing employees to focus on more complex and sensitive cases.

Analytics Solutions: Including data analytics solutions to provide insights into operational volumes and processing capacities to allow IRCC to effectively respond to rapid changes in the Canadian and Global situation.

Cyber security Strategy and Services: Including the provision of tools and strategic advice to address IRCC’s increased Cyber security threat because of COVID-19.

Legacy Integration Solutions: Including the provision of technology solutions to integrate digital tools and solutions with IRCC’s case management system environment (GCMS Integration)

Advisory Services: Including the provision of advisory services to help manage the initiatives and respond to emerging operational challenges because of COVID-19.

Canada will see a major spike in permanent and temporary resident arrivals once the global health and economic situation improves. Prior pandemic, Canada was welcoming record numbers of immigrants, foreign workers, and international students. By modernizing the application processing system, the IRCC should be in a stronger position to accommodate even more immigrants once the pandemic is over.

Canadian visa application centres (VAC’s) gradually starting to offer services

In response to changing country conditions, some Canadian visa application centres (VACs) have begun resuming limited services while still ensuring important safety measures are maintained. As some services such as biometrics collection have resumed, it’s important to understand that travel restrictions remain in place. Currently, travelers who are exempt from the travel restrictions or are coming for an essential purpose can travel to Canada. All travelers arriving into Canada must quarantine for 14 days immediately upon arrival.

While the travel restrictions are still in place, completing further steps in the application process, such as providing biometrics when possible, will help expedite processing once travel restrictions are lifted.

Clients can visit IRCC page to find out what services, if any, are available at their nearest VAC, and be sure to pay close attention to instructions they have included. If local VAC has not yet resumed services, visit How COVID-19 is affecting IRCC.

The health and safety of VAC and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) staff, as well as the clients is IRCC’s top priority. IRCC, along with all its government partners, continues to closely monitor the situation and any impacts on clients and our operations.

Common health and safety measures implemented at VACs may include

  • use of hand sanitizer by staff and clients
  • limiting the number of people allowed inside the VAC at any given time
  • checking temperature of staff and clients
  • use of gloves, face masks and face shields by staff
  • frequent cleaning of the VAC

List of VACs reopened for limited services as of June 11, 2020:

  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Erbil, Iraq
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Osaka, Japan
  • The Hague, Netherlands
  • Rome, Italy

Clients can visit IRCC page often as more VACs gradually begin to resume limited services.

Helpful links

Need help staying in Canada!

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to challenging times in Canada and around the world. Many people are under distress and anxiety. We understand! Can-X is here to help you figure it out, so you can have peace of mind. You could be an international student, worker, or visitor looking to extend your stay in Canada. You may be seeking a pathway to permanent immigration. Or you may be looking to reunite with a loved one. Whatever the reason, contact us to discuss your immigration needs, and we’ll provide our insights and help as much as we can during these difficult times.

We Care!

IRCC policy updates for international students amid Coronavirus pandemic

Canada introduced travel restrictions and temporary changes to immigration policy to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) remains committed to serving the needs of international students and other temporary and permanent residents. Summary of important developments related to international students and immigration during the current coronavirus pandemic is as follows:

I have a study permit or work permit that will expire in the coming weeks and I am unable to obtain a new passport or access required documents. Will I be given an extension?

International students in Canada should apply online to renew their permit in order to trigger implied status. This would allow them to continue studying or working in Canada while their application is being processed.In addition, applicants who are unable to access required documents or get their biometrics, must attach a explanatory letter detailing the situation. If the application is incomplete, it will not be refused, and the applicant will be given 90 days to submit their documents.

Will my study permit take longer to be processed with all the service disruptions in place due to COVID-19?

IRCC will still process study permit applications, but there may be some processing delays.

I have had my May intake acceptance deferred to September. Will I need a new Letter of Acceptance?

If you are in Canada at the time of deferral, you must begin your studies within 150 days from the date of deferral, or the following semester, whichever comes first. If this is not possible, you will have to change your status (for example, to a visitor status), or leave Canada.

I have a study permit or have been approved for one, and will start online courses in summer or fall 2020. Will this affect my future Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility?

You may begin your classes while outside Canada and complete up to 50% of your program. In this case, you will remain eligible for the PGWP and you will not have any time deducted from the length of your future PGWP, up to December 31, 2020.

I do not have a study permit. Can I still start my studies online from abroad?

Yes! You may start your studies online from abroad without having a study permit. However, in relation to your studies contributing to your future PGWP eligibility, you would need a study permit or a study permit approval.

If I am starting my courses online, do I have to be a full-time student to maintain future PGWP eligibility?

Yes! You are expected to study full-time unless your Designated Learning Institution (DLI) is currently unable to offer full-time study.

I am a new graduate with implied status awaiting a decision for my PGWP application. I also have a job offer letter. Will I be allowed to come to Canada?

If your study permit is no longer valid, you will need to have a Letter of Introduction to be exempt from the travel restrictions. A Letter of Introduction is the letter you receive from IRCC once you have been approved for the PGWP.

What would be the impact to my PGWP eligibility if my courses moved online and will now account to more than 50% of my overall study?

If you were already in Canada and your course or program has moved online due to COVID-19, you may still be eligible for the PGWP, even if your online study now accounts for more than 50% of your overall study.

If I start my studies online from abroad without an approved study permit, will this time be included towards a future PGWP application?

No! Time spent studying online from abroad without a valid study permit or approval will not count towards your eligibility for PGWP.

I am an international student and I have accessed the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Will I still be eligible to apply for PGWP or Permanent Residence (PR)?

If you have accessed CERB, this will not affect your eligibility for PGWP or PR.

My son, daughter or dependent is a minor with a valid study permit. Am I allowed to come to Canada?

Immediate family members of residents who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents are exempt from the travel restrictions and may be able to come to Canada. However, before coming to Canada, you must first obtain authorization from IRCC to be able to board a flight. To do this, submit a request by sending an email to: [email protected].ca. In addition, if you do not already have a temporary visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you will first need to apply for one.

Can I work full-time if my semester is suspended?

A suspended semester is not considered a scheduled break. Therefore, you will only be able to work the same number of authorized hours detailed on your study permit.

Need help staying in Canada!

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to challenging times in Canada and around the world. Many people are under distress and anxiety. We understand! Can-X is here to help you figure it out, so you can have peace of mind. You could be an international student, worker, or visitor looking to extend your stay in Canada. You may be seeking a pathway to permanent immigration. Or you may be looking to reunite with a loved one. Whatever the reason, contact us to discuss your immigration needs, and we’ll provide our insights and help as much as we can during these difficult times.

We Care!