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Category Archives: Travel

Expired COPR and PR visa holders may travel to Canada

Canada’s immigration department has issued new guidelines that allow individuals with expired Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and Permanent Resident Visas to travel into the country. Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have issued different policies for holders of expired visas depending on whether they are traveling from the U.S. or other countries.

In order to qualify for the new guidelines, individuals outside the U.S. should have obtained their visa on or before March 18, while U.S. visa holders qualify irrespective of when they received their visa. Individuals intending to travel to Canada temporarily for optional or discretionary purposes, such as tourism, recreation and entertainment are not permitted under the exemptions. At the moment, only those individuals who wish to stay and settle as permanent residents in Canada are exempted from travel restrictions.

Group 1: Travelers from any country other than the U.S. with Valid COPR and PRV

The applicants who were issued COPR and PRV on or before March 18 fall under this category. They are exempted from travel restrictions, allowed to travel to Canada for non-discretionary reasons even with expired documentations and have to follow the mandatory 14-day quarantine plan.

Group 2: Travelers from the U.S. with Valid COPR and PRV

This group includes applicants from the U.S. who wish to travel to Canada for non-discretionary purposes; to settle and dwell in Canada. These travelers should have approved application status, with valid COPR and PRV, and should have an appropriate plan to quarantine for 14 days.

Group 3: Travelers from any other country other than the U.S. with Expired COPR and PRV

Group 3 comprises applicants who are ready to travel to Canada for permanent residence with possession of an expired COPR and PRV.  These applicants are required to contact IRCC using a web form where they need to provide expiry date of COPR and legitimate non-discretionary reasons for travel. Candidates will be directed to the suitable processing network after the web forms are received.

Group 4: Travelers from the U.S. with Expired COPR and PRV

This group consists of people travelling from the U.S. to Canada for non-discretionary reasons and wish to settle as permanent residents with expired COPR. The candidates need to submit a proof of approved application, and an acceptable quarantine plan for 14 days along with COPR and PRV documents.

Things to do for holders of expired COPR and PR visas

IRCC will prioritize clients with a detailed proposed or confirmed travel plan, or clients who show a willingness to book and confirm travel plans as soon as they are approved. Applicant and accompanying family member must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A valid COPR and PRV on or before March 18, 2020 and no specific date for U.S. based applicants or an expired COPR and PRV
  • A persuasive travel reason like need to tend to non-discretionary family matters, family reunification, need of immediate medical care, expiring status in the U.S. for economic reasons such as to support economic services and supply chains, critical infrastructure support
  • The country where you reside is not subject to exit controls that limit your ability to travel to Canada

Applicants should provide proof of the following:

  • An acceptable plan to quarantine for 14 days in Canada including proof of funds for purchasing groceries, medical care among other essential services;
  • An acceptable plan to settle such as documents to support your living situation in Canada (address, lease agreement, home ownership document) or employment plans in Canada (location of work, letter from employer);
  • A proposed travel itinerary, including pre-purchased travel tickets

Processing of new permanent residence applications 

New applications for permanent residence are currently accepted in Canada. New files with missing documents or are incomplete will be retained and reviewed within 90 days. Nevertheless, an explanation should be added to the application referencing service interruptions due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions if a new application lacks supporting documentation. If the explanation is vital, it may result in the application being promoted and reviewed within 90 days. New applications will be processed in the receiving order. normal procedures will be followed for new completed applications for permanent residence.

Half of new skilled immigrants possess Canadian experience

Over the last few years, more immigrants are gaining permanent residence with Canadian work and study experience. As indicated by Statistics Canada, the number of temporary foreign workers and students grew exponentially between the year 2000 and 2018. In 2000, 12% of new economic immigrant principal applicants had worked in Canada before obtaining permanent residency while this share increased to 59% in the year 2018.

The introduction of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) in 2009 and increasing Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) has led to more temporary foreign workers becoming permanent residents of Canada.  In 2018 CEC admitted 20% of all economic-class principal applicants while the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and PNPs admitted 25% and 46% respectively.

The advent of Covid-19 pandemic and global travel restrictions have reduced the flow of immigrants to and from Canada, which has increased Canada’s reliability on temporary foreign workers already residing in the country to fulfill their immigration needs. This has also increased the importance of temporary foreign workers in the selection and labour market outcomes of new immigrants in Canada. In 2018, 46% of new economic immigrants were former temporary foreign workers, up from 8% in 2000 according to Statistics Canada.

The “two-step” immigration selection process accounts for the journey of immigrants who arrive in the country as workers or students and then become a permanent resident. In this process

  • Firstly, students or skilled migrants get temporary residence and gain valuable Canadian experience.
  • Secondly, the temporary residents apply for immigration and are selected based on the criteria outlined in Canada’s federal or provincial immigration programs.

This 2-step process improves the match between immigrant skills and labour market demands as employers can directly assess the skills and intangible qualities of the temporary worker. It is evident that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted potential issues related with dependence on temporary foreign workers, such as labour supply uncertainty, and poor working conditions for employees.

The two-step immigration selection has evolved from 60,000 to 429,300 number of temporary foreign workers between 2000 and 2018.

According to a study conducted by  Statistics Canada, it was discovered that the percentage of new immigrants who were hired in the first full year after immigration rose substantially from 81% to 87% between 2000 to 2016 among men in the age group of 20 to 54 years and among women from 61 % to 67 %. The study also recognized this increase in employment relevant to the growing share of new immigrants with Canadian work experience, who having worked and lived in the country as either temporary foreign workers or international students.

Immigrants who have worked in Canada before immigration had considerable benefits in labour market outcomes over immigrants without Canadian work experience, especially when it comes to high earning positions. Comparably, economic immigrants who landed from 2000 to 2005 and had Canadian experience before immigration earned 4.2 times more than immigrants without Canadian work experience in the first full year after immigration, 2.6 times more in the 5th year, and additional 2.1 in the 10th year.

In a holistic view, immigrants with Canadian experience are finding more employment options and making more annual earnings due to initiatives taken by federal governments in creating more pathways for foreigners with Canadian experience.

Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled policymakers to re-evaluate what kind of immigrant workforce the country needs, as people who were previously not considered as highly skilled or essential, are deemed as the frontline workers today.

COVID-19: Program delivery updates for permanent residence applications

COVID-19 program delivery instructions are for new and existing permanent residence applications in Canada and abroad.

Applications will not be refused for non-compliance, and all applications currently in progress at IRCC offices abroad and at case processing centres within the Centralized Network and within the Domestic Network will continue to be processed but may experience delays.

Application intake

IRCC will continue to accept new permanent residence applications. Incomplete applications because of unavailable documents will be retained in the system and reviewed in 90 days. New, complete permanent residence applications will be processed as per normal procedures while taking into consideration the following additional processing guidance:

If a new application is missing supporting documentation (associated fees are required), the applicant should include an explanation with their application that they are affected by the service disruptions because of the novel coronavirus. The application may then be promoted and reviewed in 90 days.

If the application is still incomplete in 90 days, officers should request the missing documents with an additional 90-day deadline.

Incomplete applications with no explanation provided, or for reasons unrelated to the disruption of services associated with impacts of the novel coronavirus, may be rejected and all fees associated with the application should be refunded to the applicant. The reason for rejection should be unrelated to the disruption of services. 

Approved permanent residence applications (COPR and PRV) 

Permanent residence applicants who are in possession of a COPR and PRV and inform IRCC, by submitting a Web form, that they are unable to travel within the validity of their documentation should be processed as follows:

Valid COPR and PRV: In an effort to reduce the number of cancelled COPRs and PRVs, IRCC will put a note in the file explaining that the applicant is unable to travel, and the file should be brought forward to the expiration date of the COPR and PRV. If the applicant informs IRCC that they can travel prior to the COPR and PRV expiration, they are encouraged to use their existing COPR and PRV to land.  

Expired COPR and PRV: If the applicant informs IRCC via the Web form that they are unable or unwilling to travel after the expiration of their COPR and PRV, or if they are unable or unwilling to travel prior to expiration, officers are to re-open the application, and it should be brought forward for review in 90 days.  

Re-opened applications

Approved applications where the principal applicant has not already become a permanent resident can be re-opened in GCMS by cancelling the COPR and PRV and removing the final decision.

Review of a re-opened application 

Once the applicant informs IRCC via the Web form that they are able to travel, a re-opened application may be re-approved provided that the applicant and their family members, whether accompanying or not, have valid immigration medical examinations, criminal and security checks and passports.

If the 60-day waiting period elapses and the applicant has not informed IRCC that they are able to travel, a note will be placed in the application, and it should be brought forward for review for an additional 60 days.

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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!

Temporary foreign workers who can enter Canada!

IRCC has provided updated guidance for temporary workers who are exempt from travel restrictions and can enter Canada while COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place. Work permit holders are among those exempt from the travel restrictions if their trip to Canada is for essential reasons. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released the current guidance to provide more clarity to its staff and work permit holders about what constitutes essential travel.

Temporary workers who are exempt from travel restrictions

The foreign nationals who are currently outside Canada are not subject to Canada’s travel restrictions if travelling to Canada for a non-optional or non-discretionary purpose:

  • Foreign nationals who hold a valid Canadian work permit (including an open work permit)
  • Foreign nationals who has a positive decision from IRCC (documented by a letter of introduction) on a work permit application but whose work permit has not yet been issued

 Work-permit exempt foreign nationals seeking to work in critical occupations are prioritized

IRCC will continue to prioritize the processing of work permit exemption applications overseas and in Canada to work in health, safety, and food security reasons. These foreign nationals are not subject to travel restrictions and may not be subject to the mandatory 14 – day quarantine period currently in place for most people entering Canada. Critical occupations include:

  • providers of emergency services for the protection or preservation of life or property (e.g. firefighters and medical service providers)
  • Foreign nationals who qualify for an LMIA – exempt work permit and their work are related to the protection or preservation of life or property related to the COVID-19 response and maintenance of critical infrastructure or services
  • persons permitted to work as a student in a health field including as a medical elective or clinical clerk at a medical teaching institution in Canada, for the primary purpose of acquiring training, if they have written approval from the body that regulates that field
  • workers in the marine transportation sector who are essential for the movement of goods by vessel
  • persons who seek to enter Canada for the purpose of delivering, maintaining, or repairing medically necessary equipment or devices
  • persons who seek to enter Canada for the purpose of making medical deliveries of cells, blood and blood products, tissues, organs or other body parts that are required for patient care in Canada during or within a reasonable period of time after the expiry of the Order

Non-optional or non-discretionary travel scenarios (worker can come to Canada)

  • A foreign national has a valid work permit and ordinarily resides in Canada. Even if the person does not currently have a job in Canada, they can still enter the country since Canada is currently their primary residence.
  • A foreign national has a letter of introduction for an open work permit, has a valid job offer, and will be able to work once they enter Canada.
  • A foreign national has a letter of introduction for an employer-specific work permit, with a valid job offer, which they will be able to pursue upon entering Canada.

Optional travel scenarios (worker can not come to Canada)

  • A foreign national has a letter of introduction for an employer-specific work permit, but the business of their prospective employer is closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • A foreign national has a letter of introduction for an open work permit, has not secured a job contract and is simply planning to search for work opportunities in Canada.

Context-specific scenario

Officers will make discretionary decisions based on foreign national’s situation. Factors like foreign national’s current ties to Canada, whether they will be working in an essential occupation, and other motivations for travel to Canada such as whether an individual will be arriving to care for their children will be considered by the officer. For example, the spouse of the essential worker may be required to move to Canada to care for their children, given that schools are closed.

The Orders also exempt foreign nationals whose travel to Canada is authorized in writing by an officer or by a Global Affairs Canada (GAC) consular officer for the purpose of reuniting immediate family members (for example, a temporary worker is in Canada but their spouse and children went home to visit family and now cannot come back).

International Experience Canada (IEC) work permit applicants who received a letter of introduction and are outside Canada

IEC candidates who received a letter of introduction and have an offer of employment with an employer who is still operating during the COVID-19 outbreak may enter Canada. This applies to all IEC work permit holders under the three IEC categories (Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op).

IRCC is still accepting and processing new work permit applications. Applicants outside of Canada can submit new work permit applications online. IRCC advises foreign nationals to ensure that their employer is currently allowed to operate based on the rules set out by the provincial or federal government that presides over the employer’s location. Applicants can also continue to submit applications to extend or to change conditions on their work permits from within Canada. Certain in-Canada applicants may still apply using paper applications if they meet one of the exemptions from the mandatory e-application requirement.

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!