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.
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.
Applicants for permanent residence who are in possession of a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) or Permanent Resident Visa (PRV) must inform IRCC, using a Web form, if they cannot travel before the expiry date of the document.
Files will then be processed according to an applicant’s specific circumstances.
Those with valid COPR and PRV and who are unable or unwilling to travel must inform IRCC so a note stating their situation can be added to their file. A reminder must also be added to the file related to the expiry date of the document. If the event the applicant becomes able to travel before the expiry date of the COPR and PRV, they will be encouraged to use their existing document to land in Canada.
Individuals whose COPRs and PRVs have expired and who have informed IRCC of their inability or unwillingness to travel prior to the expiry date of the document will have their files re-opened and reviewed within 90 days.
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.
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