How COVID-19 is Affecting Canadian Immigration
Canada, along with the rest of the world, is facing a period of uncertainty. The effects of the COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic has left many foreign visa applicants, permanent Canadian residents and Canadian citizens unsure of where they stand. In this article we outline how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the Canadian immigration process.
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, recently announced that there will be a travel restriction as of 18 March, which may cause delays in the Canadian visa application process. Despite these limitations, the Canadian government has not changed it’s stance on immigration and is, in fact, still not only actively accepting visa applications but also encourages immigrants to continue to submit their applications as per usual.
Canada has also set up various solutions to help tackle the direct and indirect effects of the Coronavirus on the Canadian community and those seeking to become a part thereof. This includes provincial and territory testing stations as well as economic aids to help cushion the blow that most businesses are experiencing.
The truth is that Canada’s labour market has been experiencing a shortage long before COVID-19 due to earlier retirement, a low birth rate and a labour force that has been drawn to major urban Canadian hubs. This has led to various immigration options such as the Express Entry system, which is aimed at helping highly skilled immigrant workers to immigrate to Canada and enjoy some of the most amazing benefits afforded to permanent Canadian residents and citizens, including free public healthcare and secondary schooling in one of the most dynamic and welcoming communities in the world.
But before we delve into why Canada is one of the best places to be amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, let's take a look at the strides that Justin Trudeau and the Canadian Government have taken to ensure the safety and prosperity of the Canadian population and how COVID-19 has affected the Canadian immigration application process.
Top FAQs About the Coronavirus and Canadian Immigration
1. Are the Borders Still Open to Foreign Immigrants?
As of March 16, 2020 the Canadian Government made the decision to temporarily restrict foreign travel to everyone except permanent Canadian immigrants, Canadian or US citizens as well as diplomats. This was implemented in order to help flatten the curve or, in other words, help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. As of March 18, there will only be 4 airports allowing international flights in and out of Canada. The travel restriction does however not apply to cargo and transportation of goods nor domestic flights. Canada’s decision to take proactive measures is not only in the interest of those currently living in Canada but of those who wish to study or work in, as well as travel or immigrate to Canada in the near future.
2. What Measures Have the Canadian Government Introduced to Help Protect Its People?
Screening measures have been set up at various airports to help identify symptoms of the COVID-19 and ultimately prevent the Coronavirus from spreading. There are also testing stations in most provinces and territories for those who are exhibiting symptoms related to the Coronavirus. These symptoms include:
- Coughing and/or sneezing
- Shortness of breath
The government has also strongly advised against all unessential travel outside of Canada as there is a risk that you may not be allowed to re-enter the country which means that you may need to have additional funds to tie you over should you be restricted from returning to Canada. This may also prevent you from receiving the world renowned high quality healthcare available to you in Canada should you show symptoms of the Coronavirus.
3. How Has COVID-19 Affected the Canadian Immigration and Visa Application Process?
The truth is that the Canadian visa application process has not really been affected, except to help accommodate you if you are in the process of or would like to apply for a Canadian Visa.
If you are applying from any high risk area such as China, Iran or South Korea for example, you will be granted an extra 90 days to submit supporting documentation as long as you can provide proof that you were unable to attain due to being restricted to do so. This includes the inability to provide documents such as:
- Police certificates
- Medical Certificates
If you are currently in the process of applying for your visa application, sit tight and don’t panic. The IRCC has, once again, extended the deadline by 90 days to allow you to submit your application for permanent Canadian residence.
It is important to bear in mind that the minimum processing time for Canadian visa applications average at around 6 - 8 months, sometimes even longer depending on the visa option selected as well as where you are applying from, so to quit now while you’re ahead of other applicants is really not the best decision.
Temporary residents who need to apply for an extension because their visa is expiring will also be given more time to do so through online application.
4. Can I Still Apply for a Canadian Visa?
Yes. Although there may be some delays in the visa application processing times, the Canadian Visa application process remains the same and is still open to skilled workers who want to start a new life in Canada. Although the government is taking a strict approach to those allowed in or out of the country, the goal to invite 1 million newcomers to Canada by 2022 remains intact. In fact, now may actually be the best time to submit your application, and here’s why.
Why You Should Start Your Canadian Visa Application Now?
Your Chances Are Automatically Increased
The Canadian government has seen a slight decrease in visa applications due to panic and misinformation surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic and immigration. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately for you, this has left an opportunity to have your visa application approved sooner rather than later. It’s simple really.
With certain Canadian immigration systems such as Express Entry, which is a points based system which ranks you based on factors such as your age, education and language abilities (amongst others), your chances of receiving an ITA (Invitation to Apply) for permanent Canadian residence will automatically increase due to the simple fact that there may be less applicants to be ranked against.
In other words, now is the time to make an investment in your future by submitting your application early. The sooner you start your Canadian visa application, the higher your chances of receiving an ITA!
The Future Remains Bright
The Canadian Government’s proactive stance on the Coronavirus pandemic as well as recent scientific breakthroughs regarding a vaccine have already started to shed a ray of hope globally. In fact, human trials have already started in countries such as the US. With a COVID-19 vaccine that has been estimated to potentially be ready for worldwide distribution in close to 12 - 18 months and the Canadian visa application taking roughly the same amount of time to process, the question isn’t why but why wouldn’t you start your Canadian visa application now?
How We Help Secure Your Future in Canada
Navigating the Canadian immigration system, especially at this time, can be both cumbersome and stressful, with a copious amount of forms and documents to complete and strict submission dates, we wouldn’t blame you if you felt apathetic about getting started on your application. But that's what we’re here for. At Canadian Visa, we take the hassle out of planning to immigrate to Canada and optimize your chances of success in the visa application process. Our accredited RCICs (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants) are ready to evaluate your eligibility, review all documentation and submit all documentation on your behalf. Using an RCIC not only gives you the best possible chance of receiving an ITA but will make the entire process simple and stress-free.
We handle the paperwork while you take care of your health and the well being of your loved ones. All you have to do is complete our online evaluation application form and we’ll take care of the rest. It's just that simple.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram or visit the Canadian Government Website for more information and regular updates on the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
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