Expired Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders have been advised not to use the webform to contact the immigration department, according to a government media release issued on January 5.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada‘s (IRCC) new program delivery update says that expired COPR holders who are ready to travel to Canada should no longer be contacting the department through the webform or processing office email.
IRCC says they will contact clients once they are approved to come to Canada.
“We have streamlined our proactive outreach to clarify the message to PR applicants and to simplify the assessment process for our officers,” an IRCC spokesperson said in an email. “So far, the uptake from this second phase of our outreach has been positive.”
Instead of asking clients to contact IRCC via the webform, they will reach out to expired COPR holders who were approved on or before March 18, 2020.
As of the end of December, 2020, IRCC has contacted over 9,000 clients, issued approximately, 1,700 authorization letters and approximately 1,100 expired COPR holders have become permanent residents.
“IRCC’s web form for case-specific enquiries remains open. The web forms we receive are processed manually in the order they are received and are not automatically tracked,” IRCC told CIC News, “However we can say that most of the clients who wrote to IRCC via web form about their expired confirmation of permanent residence document have already been contacted either by the processing office directly or through IRCC’s proactive outreach.”
In July 2020, IRCC asked expired COPR holders to use the webform to notify them if they were ready to land in Canada. COPRs are issued once an immigration applicant is approved for permanent residence. Typically, these approved permanent residents just need to arrive in Canada and complete the landing process.
However, coronavirus measures wreaked havoc on people’s plans to travel in the first few months of the pandemic. Though Canada’s borders were still open to people who had COPRs approved before March 18, many people were unable to travel due to reduced flights or other factors in their home countries.
During this time, many people’s COPRs expired before they were able to travel to Canada, and foreign nationals cannot come to Canada with expired documents. This rule has been in place since before the pandemic.
IRCC announced a new webform process in July, which would allow expired COPR holders to request an authorization letter to come to Canada. Once they got the official letter they could use it to board a plane.
Though the ready to travel webform process was launched in the summer, IRCC did not start sending out authorization letters until September. IRCC’s assistant deputy minister, Daniel Mills, suggested that there were about 10,000 cases of expired COPR holders while speaking at a federal immigration committee meeting in the fall.
Many expired COPR holders said that they had completed multiple webforms stating they were ready to travel. Those who were not issued the letter received generic responses saying that their file was in processing. With no ability to travel to Canada and no timeline on when they would get their authorization letter, many expired COPR holders were stuck in limbo, unable to make plans in their home country or in Canada.
An IRCC spokesperson had previously told CIC News that the department had opted to issue authorization letters individually rather than en masse “given the health and safety risks.” They also need to confirm that passports and medical exams are still valid, since the validity of the COPR is tied to these documents.
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