COVID-19 Canadian Immigration Legal Information Resources

On this page you will find reliable information about Canadian immigration law during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada’s evolving response to COVID-19 and its affects on Immigration has created many questions for individuals or families looking to visit or immigrate to Canada, foreign nationals currently in Canada, and status-holders abroad.

This page will hopefully begin to answer your questions about:

  • Who can come to Canada,
  • When you can you apply,
  • What can you apply for,
  • Which documents you will need, and
  • How to prepare for your trip.

We will be updating this page weekly with new information and changes affecting immigration in Canada’s COVID-19 response.

 

New Updates On COVID-19 Canadian Immigration

New Permanent Residence programs for Temporary Workers and Recent Graduates

IRCC recently announced a number of new permanent residence programs for workers and recent graduates.  These programs have some benefits over express entry, including different language benchmarks, different eligible occupations.  Applications for the programs will begin accepted May 6, and once the maximum number of applicants is reached no new applications will be accepted.

Policy for overseas International students extended

International students learning remotely during Covid-19 can now count all time spent studying abroad towards their PGWP, up to the end of 2021.  The entire program may be completed abroad.  Students must still meet all other eligibility requirements, including being granted a study permit and attending a designated learning instruction.

New policy for workers on a PGWP

Canadian graduates affected by Covid-19 who are currently hold a PGWP that expired after January 30, 2020, or is expiring soon may be able to apply for a new 18 month open work permit.  This new policy closes July 27, 2021, so applicants will need to apply before then.  This work permit can only be valid up to the expiry date of a person’s passport, and cannot be extended later, so applicant’s hoping to get the full 18 months from it may need to renew their passports first.

Canada requires air travelers to quarantine in hotels, and land travelers to have a Covid-19 test

Canada has announced that most travelers entering the country by land will have to provide proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test at the border.  Canadian citizens cannot be prohibited from entering Canada at the border, but can be fined up to $3000 for not having a test.

Meanwhile, all people coming by air for non-essential purposes will need to quarantine in an approved hotel for three nights, at their own expense.  This applies to Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning from discretionary travel abroad, unless they qualify for an exemption.  The hotel quarantine is in addition to the requirement of a negative Covid-19 test, and concurrent to the basic 14-day self-isolation period.

Health-care workers permanent residence pathway

On December 14, 2020, the IRCC opened a new pathway to permanent residence for failed and pending refugee claimants working in heath-care during Covid-19.  The new pathway applies to individuals who made their claim refugee claim before March 13, 2020, and who have worked certain jobs in the health-care sector since then.  Eligible applicants have until August 31, 2021 to apply.  There are a number of eligibility requirements to be aware of if you intend to apply.

Canada extends travel restrictions and mandatory isolation

These Orders have already been extended several times before. The latest updates extend the prohibitions of travel from the United States, and from all other countries until  April 21, 2021.  Canada extended the Order requiring most travelers to self-isolate for 14 days after entering the country until April 21, 2021.  It is expected that these Orders will be extended again for the foreseeable future.

Clarifying COVID-19 Canadian Immigration News and Misconceptions

Chaudhary Law Office has made several posts more specific Canadian immigration issues during COVID-19:

Read our articles here:

 

COVID-19 Canadian Immigration Frequently asked Questions

Q: Can I still apply to visit or immigrate to Canada?

A: The IRCC is still accepting many types of applications.  However, processing times have been affected, and there is no estimate for when most applications will be decided.  Students and new permanent residents can still apply, but won’t be able to travel to Canada under the current rules.  Workers whose applications are approved can travel to Canada in most cases.

Q: I have a Canadian study permit, but had to take the classes online and overseas. Does this affect my eligibility for a PGWP?

A: Temporary policy changes have been announced to effect how time is calculated for post-graduation work permits.  According to the IRCC news release, students studying online from abroad until December 31, 2021 will be able to count that time towards a PGWP.  Students can complete their entire program abroad, and still be eligible for a PGWP.  The program must still be with a designated Canadian institution, and the applicant must still meet other eligibility requirements.

Q: I am in Canada, and my temporary status is about to run out. What can I do?

A: Renew it.  Once you apply to renew your status, you can stay in Canada under implied status until the application is decided.  Given the delays in processing right now, this may give you a lot of time.  You should apply at least 30 days before your status expires.  FI your status has expired during the pandemic, you can apply to restore it until December 31.  How to extend your stay depends on the type of status you have.  Don’t submit an application with incomplete or false information just to get implied status, as this might make it harder to get approved later.

[learn_morn caption=”Q: Do I still need to give biometrics?”] A: There are biometrics exemptions in place due to COVID-19, but all applications made outside Canada still require biometrics before they can be approved.  To account for delays, the IRCC is not refusing applications for failing to give biometrics, and will give applicants time extensions.  For certain in-Canada applications ONLY, the IRCC will complete processing without requiring biometrics.  This applies to new work and study permits, extensions on previous work and study permits, visitor visas and visitor records, restorations of these statuses, and temporary visitor permits.[/learn_more]

Q:

 A: The IRCC has announced that workers, students and visitors whose temporary status expired after January 30 can still apply to restore it, even if they are outside the usual 90-day window.  The new deadline to apply is August 31, 2021.  Some gaps in this policy may exist.  If you are in Canada with expired status, or expect you will be soon, you can use this time to start preparing the documents you will need before the new deadline.

Q: I'm a permanent resident / applying for citizenship. Because of the travel restrictions, I have been stuck abroad and am worried I won't meet my residency obligation. Is Canada giving leeway on this?

A: No.  The Canadian government has not announced plans to give applicants leeway.  If you need to meet your residency obligation but can’t return to Canada, there may be other ways for you to reach your required days.  Consider talking to a lawyer about your situation.

Q: I've been told I have to give biometrics, but offices are closed. What can I do?

A: For many people travelling to Canada, biometrics (fingerprints and photo) are needed.  Many offices for this are closed worldwide right now.  The IRCC has said applications will not be turned down because of delays in biometrics.  If you have already submitted an application, make an appointment to give your biometrics ASAP when the office closest to you opens.  You can look up offices here.

Q: How do I show my travel is for an essential purpose?

A: That depends on your travel.  Generally, the more evidence the better.  Let’s say you’re travelling for work, a letter from your employer explaining what you do, why it’s essential, and why it can’t be done remotely would be helpful.  If you’re traveling to be with family, copies of birth certificates and an invitation letter are good.  Or if it’s for health reasons, try to get a doctor’s note.

Q: What needs to be in my quarantine plan?

A: Most people entering Canada need to self-isolate for 14 days, even citizens.  Immigration officers are asking travelers about their plans for this.  Your plan must show where you will stay, and how you will get there, get groceries and get essential services.

Q: I heard family members of Canadians can now come to Canada. Is this true?

 A: Immediate family members, and certain extended family members, of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may be except from the Covid-19 restrictions, if they are making a family visit.  However many family members will still need a visa before coming to Canada.

 

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