To our amazing customers 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.

 

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.

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:

Travel

News Release – Update on Travel Restrictions, March 20, 2020

Exemptions to the air travel restrictions will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home, and travel by these individuals will be considered essential travel for land border restrictions.

The exemptions include:

  • seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers
  • 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
  • permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada. *

In addition to health screening protocols before travel, all individuals entering from abroad must isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

*Foreign nationals who have been issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) prior to March 16th have been added to the exemption list yesterday and can travel to Canada at ANY TIME prior to the expiry of COPR. If the travel ban continues, anyone issued a COPR after this date and cannot travel will have to follow the IRCC webform notification process a month prior to the expiry of COPR.

  1. On March 18, the Canadian government announced the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to “non-essential travel”. This means that most U.S. citizens will be restricted from entering Canada from this point forward.
  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.
  4. International passenger flight arrivals are being directed to 4 airports:
  • Calgary International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Toronto – Pearson International Airport
  • Montréal – Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

This measure will not affect domestic flights or flights from the U.S. sun destinations (such as Mexico and the Caribbean), or St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, which can continue to operate on their regular routes and land at current Canadian destinations.

IRCC – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

  1. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is cancelling all: Citizenship ceremonies, citizenship tests and retests, and itinerant service trips until further notice.
  2. In-person refugee claim in-person and permanent resident landing appointments have been cancelled until April 13th, 2020.
  3. For those who are in Canada, landing interviews will be conducted by phone once up and running in a few days.
  4. Some IRCC offices are currently operating with essential staff only, so processing may be slower. Online applications are proceeding; however, processing may be slower in the near future.
  5. Some Visa Application Centres (VACs) around the world have been closed.
  6. 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.7.
  7. Effective 90-day extensions for all further steps / requests for additional documents on open immigration applications for permanent and temporary residence. Service Canada is not receiving clients for biometrics right now. If people need medicals or biometrics, they will be granted a 90-day extension.
  8. 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. The application may then be promoted and reviewed in 90 days.
  9. 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
  10. Starting on March 18, 2020 Paragon Testing Enterprises (CELPIP) has suspended of testing in Canada and the US, current testing availability in other markets.

BC PNP Applications and Nominees

The BC PNP has released a list of frequently asked questions in order to address the most common questions applicants and nominees might have due to the impacts of COVID-19. We prepared a summary for you with the most important information: BC PNP COVID-19 Updates

Please note that:

  1. If there is still work, you need to work.
  2. We can assure you that the government will be understanding in these extraordinary circumstances, as long as you do not leave your job voluntarily.
  3. The BC PNP has temporarily closed their Vancouver office to in-person inquiries.
  4. The BC PNP will continue to issue invitations to apply, and weekly draws will continue for the BC PNP Tech Pilot. Other draws will also continue but may be less often.
  5. The BC PNP will continue to receive and process applications for both Entrepreneur and Skills Immigration categories.
  6. Post-nomination support will continue.

Up to date info here: BC PNP News

EI- Employment Insurance during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

Please check if you are eligible first with Service Canada, and then visit the EI sickness benefits page to apply.

New developments on who will be able to apply for EI:

  • Workers including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Workers, including self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Contact the new dedicated toll-free phone number if you are in quarantine and seeking to waive the one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period so you can be paid for the first week of your claim:

  • Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
  • Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

If you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, difficulty breathing, or you are in self-isolation or quarantine, do not visit or enter any Service Canada office.  As an alternative, you may access services online or by calling 1 800 O-Canada.

Up to date info here: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

MSP – Update March 27, 2020

In response to COVID-19, individuals who are currently in B.C., who were previously enrolled in MSP as a deemed resident, and their MSP has expired, may be provided temporary MSP coverage.Individuals should contact Health Insurance BC to request this temporary coverage.

Health Insurance BCToll-free: 1 800 663-7100
Lower Mainland: 604 683-7151

Mailing Address:
Health Insurance BC
PO Box 9035 Stn Prov Gov
Victoria, BC V8W 9E3

This may include individuals who have applied for a new work or study permit but it has yet to arrive.In these circumstances temporary coverage will be granted until July 31, 2020.

Up to date info here: COVID-19 MSP Frequently Asked Questions

 


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)

COVID-19 Information Sources:

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC):

Travel to Canada and Coronavirus – Latest Updates

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

Thank you and take care!

The Perez McKenzie Team.

 


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.