On 12 March, the Federal government announced the new tri-year Immigration Levels Plan for 2020-2022. According to the new plan, the Immigration Department expects to welcome 341,000 new immigrants in 2020. Next year the target is set to increase by 10,000, and in 2022 it should be increased again and reach 361,000. The plan was released before the Covid-19 measures took effect.
What will happen to immigration during the pandemic?
Despite the strict measures and travel ban for most foreigners, Canada already clarified that IRCC is still committed to the numbers set in the Immigration Levels Plan. So far, Canada has closed the border for all foreigners, excluding Canadian citizens and permanent residents and only 4 Canadian airports are accepting international flights – Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary.
From the beginning of the crisis, Canada excluded US citizens, foreign diplomats, airline employees, and close relatives of Canadian citizens and permanent residents from the travel restrictions. Nevertheless, the wider public was really concerned about the fate of those foreigners who have committed to work and study in Canada. Finally, new immigrants whose application for permanent residence was already approved but have not arrived in the new homeland were frustrated.
Bombarded by hundreds of requests, last week the Federal Government officially confirmed that international students who possess a valid study permit, or whose study permit had been approved by IRCC before the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, can come or to Canada. A similar policy was applied to foreign workers with valid work permits or those whose application to work in Canada had been approved before the restrictions took effect.
In addition, new foreign workers who intend to work in critical industries (agriculture, food processing, transportation, health, etc) can come to Canada if meeting all the requirements. Finally, federals calmed down new immigrants, who received Confirmation of PR before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020.
They also can arrive in the country and obtain their status pursuing they are not infected.
What special measures are in place to protect the public and what impact do they have?
First of all, IRCC switched to work remotely. The biometric data collection has been suspended until 13 April. Immigration Canada has also extended applicants’ biometric data collection time to 90 days and applicants will not be required to bring a biometric data collection notification letter.
Secondly, IRCC has cancelled all personal interviews. This also includes the landing appointments for those who received CoPRs and are residing in Canada. All domestic applicants whose landing appointments were cancelled will be contacted by the government and some of them may even validate their PR over the phone. Thirdly, IRCC and CBSA urged all foreigners under no circumstances not to go to the land ports of entry to flagpole. The travel restrictions clearly prohibit international students, new immigrants and foreign workers to update their status at the border. Finally, all refugee hearings have been postponed until further notice. If the applicant has already scheduled an interview, IRCC or IAD will notify them over the phone about the new appointment time.
Mandatory Quarantine for anyone entering Canada
The last but the most important measure following the outbreak of Covid-19 is a 14-day compulsory quarantine for everyone who arrived in Canada. The authorities take this very seriously and violators can face penalties and fines or even be arrested. In the case of foreign nationals, this can even endanger your status in Canada. Therefore, stay at home until the quarantine is over.