Impact of Covid-19 on Immigration
As the impacts of COVID-19 have been leading to daily charges in the sphere of Canadian immigration and citizenship, to follow is a summary of information that is current and that is imperative for would-be immigrants and current foreign nationals inside Canada to know.
1. Current travel restrictions announced by Transport Canada and the Governor General in Council limit entry of foreign nationals (not citizens or permanent residents) until JUNE 30, 2020. Although there have been some announcements by IRCC and CBSA indicating that there is an intention to allow travel for students, workers, close family members etc... they are also accompanied by the instruction to NOT make travel arrangements until told to do so. Also the travel ban is in force until the Governor General (a representative of the Queen) amends the current law which is in force until June 30, 2020.
2. IRCC has recalled many of not most diplomats and officers working at Canadian visa posts abroad and most of the visa posts are closed due to the coronavirus. Therefore, it is possible that wait times for visa decisions will get longer as the pandemic continues to effect international travel and essential business operations. COVID-19 is also causing delays in the biometrics enrolment and medical assessment field. Namely, it is mostly not possible to do neither biometrics nor immigration medical exams under the current lock-down conditions both inside Canada and abroad until further notice.
3. Applicants with applications to Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that are currently in process do have an extra 90 days to submit biometrics and medicals as per the public policy instructions issued on the IRCC website.
4. The impact of COVID-19 is one of economic compression in addition to the health crisis. So far ESDC and Service Canada has suspended LMIA processing and employer interviews. There are currently more then 500,000 people who have applied for Employment Insurance (IE) benefits inside Canada. The length and state of unemployment of Canadian citizens and permanent residents will have an enduring effect on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and LMIA processing. Depending on how long Canadian businesses will be effected and if they will recall former employees or not once the risks associated with COVID-19 subside, it may take awhile before we see the foreign worker and work permit situation normalize.
On a positive note, there is a big shift to all things online. Whole online communities and support groups are forming. There is a facebook group called "Get Down with the Lockdown" wherein people post all kinds of hobbies and activities that they are doing while on lock-down. Many businesses have started to integrate online or remote operations in order to stay active and open for business during this time. Now is a good time to explore business opportunities and