In response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Government of Canada has implemented policies and regulations related to travel and immigration to Canada for new permanent residents.
Immigrating to Canada during a pandemic can be a challenge for new permanent residents and many may be wondering how the government is addressing the situation.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has issued guidelines for permanent residence applicants who were planning to arrive and settle in Canada in the coming months and who may have seen the pandemic affect their plans.
The latest COVID-19 program delivery instructions for applications for permanent residence applicants in Canada and abroad were published on May 29, 2020, by IRCC.
New permanent residence intake continues
Currently, the receipt of new applications for permanent residence continues.
Files that are incomplete due to missing documentation will be retained and reviewed within 90 days.
Completed new applications for permanent residence continue to be processed according to normal procedures.
However, if a new application lacks supporting documentation, an explanation should be added to the application referencing service interruptions due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Providing that explanation is important and may result in the application being promoted and reviewed within 90 days. New applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.
Failure to provide an explanation for an incomplete application or applications that are incomplete for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic may result in the file being rejected.
Principal applicants for permanent residents who are in Canada and have dependents abroad will continue to have their applications processed, but delays in processing may occur. However, the principal applicant should not be granted permanent residence if their dependents who are abroad are unable to travel.
When travel is again possible, applicants will be informed of the next steps.
Reopening of applications
Once the applicant has informed IRCC via the Web form that they can travel, the application can be reopened for re-approval provided the applicant and their family members, whether accompanying or not, have passed immigration medical examinations, criminal and security checks and have valid passports.
If the 60-day waiting period has passed and the applicant has still not informed IRCC that they are able to travel, a note must be added to the application for consideration after an additional 60 days.
Since the pandemic began IRCC has reiterated that it will not close or refuse applications that are currently in progress due to missing documents. IRCC has introduced a variety of special policy measures and increased flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate as many foreign nationals as possible.