How the Covid Pandemic Affected Canadian Immigration

How the Covid Pandemic Affected Canadian Immigration

The decision to pick up your entire life, leave your family and friends behind and travel to a new foreign land is stressful enough but the pandemic has added a new level of frustration for immigrants that no one could have ever predicted. For almost two years, immigrants have been left in limbo wondering when travel restrictions are going to be lifted, when their applications are going to be processed and uncertainty about the status of work or study permits.

Affected Various Immigration Applications

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Kay Wilson said everyone has felt the impact of the pandemic and it is something that has affected various types of applications.   

“A client reached out to me recently saying their application was processed, approved and finalized months ago but they haven’t heard anything from IRCC. I know that a lot of this is a result of the processing slow down because of the pandemic,” said Wilson 

Unhappy Ending 

The processing backlog has had an unhappy ending for some immigrant families according to Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Shivani Paul.

“I was speaking to someone who had a family sponsorship. It’s been in the cue for about two years. The family is split apart because the spouse is in the home country and the other is in Canada,” said Paul.

Paul added that when the spouse’s application was finally reviewed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), it was rejected for incompleteness.  

“It’s a very sad state of affairs,” said Shivani. “The pandemic has definitely had an effect on everyone.”

Especially during times like these where immigration applications are backlogged and delayed, it can be extremely helpful to work with experienced immigration consultants who can prepare a complete and compelling immigration application.

International Students Have Been Affected

International Students have been the one group that have felt the burden of the pandemic processing slow down the most according to Wilson. 

“We assist clients with admission into Canadian schools in order to pursue their studies here. I have seen a huge variation in processing compared to pre Covid,” said Wilson. 

Wilson suspects that with IRCC staff working from home access to resources needed for processing are not readily available so as a result there are huge impacts on applications being submitted. Paul said she has also seen a proportionate number of student clients also affected because of pandemic challenges. 

“There have been a lot of students studying in Canada who couldn’t maintain their full time status because of Covid-19 disruptions. Post graduate work permits have not been approved on time,” said Shivani.

“Students who went to visit their home countries could not come back because of travel restrictions. So these things have a huge impact on someone’s future.”

IRCC Trying To Accommodate

Wilson said the IRCC has tried to be accommodating by issuing public policies to address some of the challenges being faced by international students. 

“They did have some policies that do exist to help with extension of their study or work permits and also with restoring their status. I have personally had to use these policies in areas of status for my clients,” said Wilson. 

Paul has said besides family sponsorship she has also seen a slow down from Express Entry skilled worker draws which are taking longer and those applicants who were approved have not been issued a COPR. The travel bans have affected all immigrant categories.  

The Current Situation 

Global Immigration law firm Berry, Appleman and Leiden(BAL), states on their website some key findings of Canada’s current pandemic situation: 

  • Immigration officials are prioritizing applications from Canadians and permanent residents returning to the country, vulnerable groups and those providing or supporting essential services workers.
  • Applications in progress will not be closed or refused if the applicant is unable to provide missing documents because of COVID-19.
  • Individuals residing outside of Canada who have received Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) but have not yet landed in Canada are not eligible to land unless they are exempt from current travel restrictions. They also have to be quarantined for 14 days after arrival.
  • In-person permanent resident landing appointments in Canada are canceled until further notice because of COVID-19. Right now appointments are remote. The IRCC will provide further instructions to affected individuals.
  • If the COPR and permanent resident visa expire before the individual is able to travel to Canada, the individual should notify IRCC of their date to move to Canada permanently using the Web Form. IRCC will provide further instructions at that point.

Will Immigration Levels Return to Normal?

The Conference Board of Canada also issued a report titled Building on Covid Period Immigration Levels. Their report listed recommendations about whether Canada should return to pre-COVID immigration levels or use the 2021–23 targets as a new base from which to grow. 

The report list explained how important immigration is for Canada’s future prosperity in regards to supporting GDP growth, public revenues, and the worker to retiree ratio. It also stated how spreading these benefits requires innovative policy choices, from advancing regionalization to welcoming immigrants with different skill levels:

  • Continue building on COVID-period immigration levels through annual multi-year planning
  • Build on leading practices to encourage geographic distribution of new immigrants across Canada
  • Leverage immigration to fill the persistent need for workers with different skill levels. 

Immigration will continue to be a large part of Canada’s future plan. If you plan on making Canada your new home, you’ll benefit from finding the best immigration consultant for your unique situation. Visit ImmiSearch to find the perfect licensed Canadian immigration consultant!

How the Covid Pandemic Affected Canadian Immigration
James Tarrant
ImmiSearch Content Contributor
October 13, 2021