The Canadian government through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), who are responsible for immigration and refugee affairs in Canada, introduced a temporary public policy that will help certain foreign nationals affected by the Executive Order signed by the United States president Donald Trump on January 27, 2017. Through the temporary public policy, the Canadian government will allow foreign nationals affected by the US Executive Order to extend their stay or to apply for temporary status in Canada.
Under the US Executive Order, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, and Sudan are banned from entering the US for a 90 day period. Whereas, citizens of Syria are barred from entering the U.S indefinitely.
At a press conference announcing the introduction of the temporary public policy, the Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen stated that “we are aware that the executive order does apply to those from the seven countries transiting through Canada. Let me assure those who may be stranded in Canada that I will use my authority as minister to provide them with temporary residency if they need it, as we have done so in the past.”
The Canadian government has waived the fees for applications through the temporary public policy to allow eligible foreign nationals affected by the by the U.S ban to have temporary status and temporary work in Canada if they have no other means of support. In order to apply, the affected individuals are required to meet Canada’s admissibility criteria and to explain how they have been affected by the U.S ban. The policy also advises designated immigration officers to “consider granting an exemption from the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to foreign nationals from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen who were in Canada on or after January 27, 2017 and have been negatively affected by the U.S executive order.”
The IRCC also states that the temporary public policy will be in place until April 30, 2017.
Signed by Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, the outline of the public policy states that “This public policy is consistent with Canada’s approach of acting with compassion and humanitarianism.”
How the policy will help affected foreign nationals
The following are the three main situations in which affected foreign nationals may be granted exemption from certain regulations of the IRPA according to the public policy:
Affected foreign nationals travelling to the U.S
If a foreign national had made travel arrangements to enter the United States and is not able to do so, he or she may be eligible to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) without paying the processing fee. For eligibility, the foreign national is required to hold a visa or other document normally required to enter the U.S. The individual must not be inadmissible to Canada for any other reason apart from the fact that they did not obtain a Temporary Resident Visa.
Affected foreign nationals in Canada with temporary resident status
If a foreign national with temporary resident status in Canada (for example, as a visitor, temporary worker, or international student) had made travel arrangements to enter the United States and is not able to do so, he or she may be able to apply to extend that temporary status without paying the processing fee. The individual is required to hold a visa or other document normally required to enter the U.S.
Affected foreign nationals in Canada eligible for restoration of temporary resident status
If a foreign national had made travel arrangements to enter the United States and is not able to do so, the individual may be eligible to apply for restoration of temporary resident status without paying the processing fee.
The IRCC also seeks to clarify that foreign nationals affected by the U.S Executive Order will still be required to meet the eligibility and admissibility criteria that are already in place and are not part of those modified by the temporary public policy.