Canada Keeps Immigration System Moving Despite Coronavirus Restrictions


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Canada oversaw 5,000 virtual permanent resident arrivals and 300 online citizenship ceremonies in a week earlier in June, as officials did all they could to keep the immigration system moving despite COVID-19 restrictions.

The figures were highlighted during a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration attended by Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino and Deputy Minister Catrina Tapley.

The Monday session featured presentations and questions on how the immigration system was coping during the coronavirus crisis.

While Mendicino said Canada was still committed to the 2020 immigration levels plan, Tapley admitted that travel restrictions were likely to mean numbers would fall short of the target of 341,000 new arrivals this year.

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The 5,000 virtual permanent resident arrivals in the week of June 8 were all candidates approved for permanent residence before March 18, meaning they were exempt from travel restrictions.

Mendicino provided an update on asylum seekers working in Quebec care homes, saying Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials were working with provincial officials to create a pathway to permanent residence. The minister added that the sacrifices made needed to be recognized.

A solution is also being considered for caregivers who lost their jobs to the pandemic who would now not have the required two years of work experience to qualify for permanent residence.

Meanwhile, there was no update available on the Parents and Grandparents Program, the opening of which was suspended in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Permanent Resident Arrivals Plummet

The effect of COVID-19 restrictions on Canada immigration was fully felt in April, as new permanent resident admissions plummeted to 4,140.

The figure represents a 78 percent drop on the 19,125 March arrivals, which were already down 26 percent on February.

Canada Immigration Drops 78% as April Sees Just 4,140 New Permanent Residents

Between February and April, permanent resident arrivals dropped from 25,930 to 4,140, a decline of 84 percent. In April 2019, Canada welcomed 26,900 new permanent residents.

‘Significant Surge’ In Immigration Applications Expected

Canada is expecting a ‘significant surge’ in immigration applications as coronavirus restrictions ease, putting a ‘tremendous demand’ on government resources, according to a tender document published on an official government website.

IRCC is working to overhaul how it processes applications in order to cope with the rush.

In preparation for the post-pandemic situation, IRCC must consider a range of updates to processes including paper applications, immigration interviews and a computer system overhaul, the document said.

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