To our amazing clients and PM community,

Given the rapidly evolving situation of COVID-19 and for the safety of clients and team members, we’ve decided to temporarily work remotely as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

We will be still be completing consultations over Skype until it is safe to have a regular person-to-person contact again, and we will also continue to assist you in your immigration matters through our regular phone (+1) 778-650-9700 or email channels.

Book a Consultation

MOVING FORWARD, TOGETHER

We know that information about COVID-19 is probably overwhelming you, but we wanted to reach out and offer you some clarity and reassurance during this time of uncertainty.

We’re doing everything we can to reply to any inquiries or questions on a timely manner, and as you can imagine, we’re experiencing delays in our response times. We’re sorry for any frustration or inconvenience and appreciate your patience. We promise we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

As the situation develops, we’ll keep you posted with any changes that may affect you. Our thoughts and priorities lie with our customers and our team, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of the PM community.

Please continue to monitor our pages, as well as official Government Canada and BC Gov statements for the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation.

Our hearts go out to those who have been affected during these unprecedented times.

Thank you and take care!

The Perez McKenzie Team.

COVID-19 : IMPACTS ON CANADIAN IMMIGRATION

We are receiving a high volume of questions regarding the impacts of coronavirus.

COVID-19 has affected the operations of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and the Federal Court. The situation is developing rapidly, and the measures put in place may change at any moment.

Please kindly note the following:

  1. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is cancelling all: Citizenship ceremonies, citizenship tests and retests, and itinerant service trips until further notice.
  2. Online applications are proceeding; however, processing may be slower in the near future.
  3. Some Visa Application Centres (VACs) around the world have been closed.
  4. Biometrics collection service is suspended. All Biometrics appointments have been cancelled and applicants are advised not to go to a Service Canada location until further notice.
  5. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced special measures to help temporary and permanent residents and applicants affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID‑19)For advice on any of the above situations, click here

Travel Restrictions and Exemptions

  1. On March 18, the Canadian government announced the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to “non-essential travel”.  Until further notice, most people cannot travel to Canada, even if they have a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA).
  2. We advise against flagpoling. Considering the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to “non-essential travel”, it could be possible that those trying to flagpole could be denied exit or re-entry. We cannot confirm you will be able to exit or re-enter Canada.
  3. All travellers arriving in Canada are asked to isolate themselves for 14 days. In addition to health screening protocols before travel, all individuals entering from abroad must isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

Who can enter?

  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons continue to be permitted to board an aircraft, subject to health screening measures.
  • Foreign nationals seeking to travel to Canada from any country other than the United States while the travel restrictions are in place need to satisfy government officials that
  • they are covered by an exemption in the Orders, and
  • they are travelling for a non-optional and non-discretionary purpose
  • Foreign nationals seeking to travel to Canada from the United States while the travel restrictions are in place need to satisfy government officials that
  • they are travelling for a non-optional and non-discretionary purpose

Exemptions:

  • International Students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020.
  • Temporary Workers who were already established in Canada or who had planned to come to Canada to work before the travel restrictions were put in place.  It also includes new workers who are coming to Canada to be employed in critical industries, such as agriculture, food processing, health, transportation and emergency services.
  • Permit-exempt work some foreign nationals that are not required to obtain a work permit such as providers of medical emergencies, students in health field, foreign nationals seeking to enter to become a member of a crew of a means of transportation.
  • Permanent Residents Visa Holders who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18th, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
  • Immediate Family members* of Canadian citizens and permanent residents must show that they’re coming to Canada for non-discretionary reasons and not for reasons that are optional or discretionary, such as tourism, recreation or entertainment.
  • Accredited officials
  • Protected Persons
  • National Interest
  • Transit passengers’ foreign nationals in transit through Canada to another country.
  • Crew member and foreign nationals entering Canada to become crew members
  • Members of the Canadian Forces
  • Canadian citizens travelling on a foreign passport Exceptionally, Canadian citizens may travel to Canada on a visa-exempt foreign passport with a special authorization.

Non-optional or non-discretionary travel :

  • Economic services and supply chains
  • critical infrastructure support
  • health (immediate medical care), safety and security
  • supporting Indigenous communities
  • transiting through Canada for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes
  • tending to family matters for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes (such as bringing supplies to elderly parents or tending to sick family members) when there is no one else available in Canada to assist
  • any other activities that are deemed non-optional or non-discretionary by the Government of Canada or based on an officer’s assessment
  • Family Reunification show that they are not travelling for a discretionary or optional purpose such as a routine family visit.

More information here

*Immediate Family Member is defined as: Spouse or common-law partner, dependent child, dependent child of a dependent child, parent or step-parent, guardian or tutor.

Workers, Students and Visitors

Until May 19, 2020, there will be a suspension in the processing of some applications, and the application process has changed for

  • visitor visas (including transit visas)
  • eTAs
  • study permits
  • work permits

Visitors

  • Traveling to Canada – Please read the travel restrictions and exemptions.
  • Applying for a visitor visa OUTSIDE Canada– IRCC will process applications only if they qualify for an exemption from travel restrictions or your travel to Canada is essential (non-discretionary).
  • If you are already in Canada – You can apply for a visitor record to extend your stay
  • Applications submitted prior to the travel restrictions will be placed on hold and will not be processed unless the applicant contacts IRCC at IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca to indicate how they meet the exemption criteria and provide acceptable documentation.

You must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive to Canada even if you don’t have symptoms.

International Students

  • If you have a valid study permit or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, and are outside the US, you are exempt from the travel restrictions.
  • Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP) eligibility won’t be affected if you’re in-class courser are being moved to an online-only format.
  • If your program starts in May or June, and you can’t travel to Canada due to travel restrictions, you’re also still eligible for the PGWPP. You may begin your classes outside Canada and complete up to 50% of your program.
  • Study permit holders in an academic session and that are working in essential services, are now allowed to work more than 20 hours if they are eligible to work off-campus.
  • If you are applying for a study permit OUTSIDE Canada – IRCC will process applications only if they qualify for an exemption from travel restrictions or your travel to Canada is essential (non-discretionary). All applicants must apply online.
  • If you are already in Canada and your status will expire soon – You can apply to change your status as a visitor or apply to extend your study permit (if applicable).
  • If you are already in Canada and your status has expired – If it’s been less than 90 days since your status expired, you can apply to restore your status.

 

Temporary Workers

  • All temporary workers are exempt from travel restrictions if they’re outside the USA and can travel to Canada by air or land if they’re coming for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose.
  • Border services officers may ask if the offer is still active or the employer is still operating. If not, they may refuse the work permit
  • If you are applying for a work permit OUTSIDE Canada – IRCC will process applications only if they qualify for an exemption from travel restrictions or your travel to Canada is essential (non-discretionary).  Any person who is outside Canada at the time of application must apply online. This also applies to applicants who are normally allowed to apply at the port of entry, as the exemption to the travel restrictions for foreign nationals arriving from a country other than the U.S. applies to holders of a work permit and persons approved for a work permit.
  • If you are already in Canada and your status will expire soon – You can apply to change your status as a visitor or apply to extend your work permit (if applicable).
  • If you are already in Canada and your status has expired – If it’s been less than 90 days since your status expired, you can apply to restore your status.

IEC (International Experience Canada) visa holders

Effective May 8, 2020, some International Experience Canada (IEC) visa holders are exempt from Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions and can come to Canada if they have a valid job offer and a port of entry letter of introduction.

  • Traveling to Canada- all travellers arriving in Canada are asked to isolate themselves for 14 days
  • IEC will not be sending out new rounds of invitations. They are on hold until further notice.
  • IRCC will continue to accept submissions of profiles into IEC pools, however, applications are not being processed at this time. No application in process will be closed or refused due to lack of documents or inability to complete biometrics or medical exam.
  • Health insurance is a requirement to come to Canada under the IEC program. It is up to the participant to ensure that they have adequate coverage including for COVID-19.
  • If you are already in Canada – You need to maintain a legal status in Canada at all times. If your work permit is about to expire and you can’t return home, you need to apply to stay as a visitor before your work permit expires. IEC participants can extend their work permits under a limited number of circumstances.  Please note that an IEC work permit cannot be extended beyond the maximum duration specified in each applicable youth mobility arrangement.
  • IEC participants can apply to receive the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – if you have stopped working because of COVID-19 as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Employers – Need to make sure the employee follows the mandatory quarantine when coming to Canada, and they  must also pay them the same wage while they are in quarantine.

More information here

Permanent Residents

New applicants or applications submitted

  • Permanent residence applications are still being processed.
  • New, complete permanent residence applications under section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) will be processed as per normal procedures. If a new application is missing supporting documentation (associated fees are required), the applicant should include an explanation with their application that they are affected by the service disruptions as a result of the novel coronavirus.
  • No application in progress will be closed or refused because of documents missing due to COVID-19. You have now 90 days to complete steps such as submitting your passport, supporting documents, police certificates and completing an immigration medical exam.
  • Biometrics deadline was extended to 90 days, as Service Canada locations have temporarily stopped collecting biometric.
  • Some IRCC offices are currently operating with essential staff only, so processing may be slower.

Applications approved on or before March 18th, 2020

  • You are exempt from the travel restrictions measures.
  • For those who are in Canada, landing interviews will be conducted by phone once up and running in a few days.

If you would like to receive the most updated information, please contact IRCC directly at 1-888-242-2100

It is important to keep up to date so please refer to the following links:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

Travel to Canada and Coronavirus – Latest Updates


Note to our clients and PM Community: Information regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. We are working to bring you up-to-date articles and information and to keep our blog updated. If you are looking for immigration advice please, book a consultation with us directly at 778-650-9700 or send us an email to info@pmimmigration.com

If you are dealing with an issue in relation to COVID-19, or have additional questions related to Medical Service Plan, Travel or Employment Insurance (EI), please contact the corresponding authorities directly.