Immigration and CERB

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As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government established the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Since Canada is deeply committed to its people, including immigrants and temporary residents, many international students and temporary foreign workers are also eligible for CERB. Nevertheless, there are a lot of concerns about what may be the impact of receiving CERB and applying for permanent residence? In this article, we will try to provide you with the answers.

International students may be qualified for CERB if they are directly affected by the COVID-19

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The Canadian government supports foreigners during a global pandemic. Therefore, an official federal website outlines the information that International students who lost all incomes and earnings because of coronavirus, can apply (starting April 6) and receive CERB. They can be eligible for CERB if they comply with the following conditions:

  • you earned $5,000 (before taxes) or less in 2019 or during the last 12 months
  • you did not leave the job of your own free will
  • you must be a resident of Canada
  • you are 15 years old and more when you apply

Therefore, all international students who comply with those requirements can apply. To apply for CERB, students must be registered on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website, or over the phone. The payment is $2000 for a 4-week period ($500 per week), and no longer than 16 weeks.

It should also be noted that the federal government once again reiterates that foreign students occupy an important position in the country’s economy, so it does its best to ensure that students who study online, remain eligible for Post-Graduate Work Permits (PGWP). In addition, receiving CERB will not affect their eligibility to immigrate in the future.

The Federal Government accepts request to help temporary foreign workers

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Typically, Canadian farms and food production attract around 50,000-60,000 temporary foreign workers (TFW) annually to the agriculture sector to gather the harvest. Most of the agriculture workers are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Canada admits the importance of foreign workers in supporting food security and other industries that play a vital role in the country’s economy. That is why agricultural workers could arrive in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first group of 260 Mexican TFW already reached Canada in early April. According to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), they can stay in Canada for up to eight months, but they must first be on a 14-day quarantine (and during this period they will be paid) to avoid the spread of the disease. A total 1,600 TFW are expected to arrive during a pandemic to help ensure a nonstop supply of food throughout the country.

The Government of Canada is trying its best to help those, who need it due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that is why foreign workers may be eligible for CERB. The Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough announced that the government is developing ways to assist all TFW who are currently not eligible to apply for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Thus, the Federal government is providing $50 million to help employers comply with current health standards and to ensure that foreign workers are paid during their two-week quarantine.

What about the family sponsorship?

Parent/ Grandparent Super VisaMany of our clients are really concerned about the impact the CERB may have on the eligibility to sponsor their relatives. Last week, the government officially confirmed that receiving CERB will not affect the eligibility of Canadians to submit applications for Parents and Grandparents Program or to sponsor their foreign spouses. All government payments received during the COVID-19 pandemic, will not be considered as social assistance.

Should you have more questions on how the COVID-19 crisis impacts the immigration systems, do not hesitate to email or call us. We are here to help you!

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