• + 1 778-564-3555

Category Archives: VAC’s

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.

Need help! Please contact us for more information and/or assistance!

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!