How Do Provincial Immigration Programs Cope with the Coronavirus Crisis?
HomeLATEST NEWSHow Do Provincial Immigration Programs Cope with the Coronavirus Crisis?
Despite the increasing number of infected and a state of emergency in several Canadian provinces, Canada continues accepting immigrants. In March, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) restricted travel conditions for foreign nationals. However, at the same time, the officials emphasized that all programs would keep running, inviting new immigrants and processing applications.
On March 17th, the government of Ontario announced that provincial immigration authorities are limiting their scope of operations. For instance, all personal appointments have been cancelled. Nevertheless, two days after that, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) emphasized that despite the pandemic, OINP will continue processing applications and issuing certificates of Ontario nominations. For obvious reasons, the applicants may face some delays in obtaining documents so the processing times may also be longer than usual.
2. British Columbia
The British Columbia immigration authorities admitted its work has also been affected by the coronavirus crisis. For instance, the Vancouver office of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) has been closed and the staff is working remotely. However, the program keeps regular weekly invitation rounds and processing of applications. BC has temporarily excluded the category of Entry Level and Semi-Skilled Workers from the draws as it prefers to concentrate on candidates who have a bigger impact on the local economy. Thus, tech pilot candidates may be invited more often.
3. Newfoundland and Labrador
On March 20th, the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism of Newfoundland and Labrador released the updated procedural regulations. The local authorities will continue accepting applications in the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP) online but due to medical emergency, it banned paper applications. The same was also applied to paper applications in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.
On March 18th, the government of Saskatchewan also declared a state of emergency, so the next day, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) paused inviting entrepreneurs. On the other hand, invitation rounds for the Express Entry and Occupations In-Demand categories will continue once or twice a month.
So far, Manitoba did not change its schedule. The province did not announce any special changes to Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) and held the last invitation round on March 26th.
6. Prince Edward Island
On March 18th, Prince Edward Island postponed the March invitation round. The local authorities decided to pause the intake of immigrants at this moment until it will be clear what is the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the province. The PEI has closed the Office of Immigration and will publish additional info in April.
Alberta also declared a state of emergency and at this point, it did not publish specific updates on the work of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program. The province held an invitation round at the beginning of March but afterwards, there was no news.
8. New Brunswick
New Brunswick cancelled or postponed all its information sessions and recruitment events. The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program was supposed to hold events in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico but all those events have been postponed. At the moment, it is unclear when the events will take place.
Despite a clear negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigration to Canada, overall, the system keeps working. We encourage all prospective immigrants to approach us as when the pandemic is over you may find yourself on the final stage of your application. By the time of the end of the pandemic, you may get the approval to immigrate and we can help you with that!