International

COVID-19: Is your Immigration Situation in Canada Affected?

  • Arnaud Vanier
By Arnaud Vanier Lawyer
The coronavirus - COVID-19 pandemic and its rapid spread in North America and around the world is leading our governments to take restrictive protective measures that increasingly affect the international mobility of people.

Your immigration status in Canada or that of your employee could also be affected. If you find yourself in one of the situations listed below or if you have any doubts about the precautions to take, please do not hesitate to contact us.

IMPORTANT - Please note that as of March 18, 2020, at noon, an entry ban will be imposed on all foreigners, except U.S. citizens. This measure does not apply to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Foreign students, foreign workers or their families may not be allowed to enter Canada until further notice. The latter may also be subject to 14-day preventive quarantines. 

The United States has also adopted measures restricting entry to its territory to foreigners who have been to several countries. If you must travel to the United States in the coming days and weeks, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are a company employing temporary foreign workers:

  • The COVID-19 impact on the hiring of temporary foreign workers currently in Canada is limited at this time;
  • Temporary foreign workers may remain employed, within the limits initially set out in their employment contracts and on their respective work permits;
  • In the case of work permit renewals, it is suggested not to travel in order to conduct renewals. It is therefore preferable to apply online;
  • As recommended by the Government of Canada, it is suggested that all travellers from outside of Canada undergo a preventive quarantine for a period of 14 days upon their return to Canada. In this context, it is possible that certain compliance rules may apply, particularly with respect to the payment of the temporary foreign worker's salary during the period of isolation, depending on the immigration program used to hire him or her;
  • In any case, if you think the situation will impact you, please contact us.

You may also find yourself in one of the following situations:

  • My temporary immigration application (visitor, study, work) is currently being processed at an overseas processing centre;
  • My immigration status in Canada is about to expire and I have not applied for a renewal;
  • My visitor status is about to expire and I cannot leave Canada;
  • I cannot return to Canada and am afraid of losing my immigration status;
  • I have a study or work permit that is about to expire and have not submitted a renewal;
  • I must go to a collection point in Canada to provide my biometric data;
  • I need to have an immigration medical examination done by a Designated Medical Practitioner in Canada;
  • I have an appointment to confirm my permanent residence at a Canadian immigration office;
  • My citizenship test is scheduled for the next few weeks;
  • My work permit application is being processed at a visa office abroad;
  • I am scheduled to complete a "shuffle" in the coming days/weeks;
  • I have to leave Canada soon;
  • I am currently in implied status and planning to leave Canada;
  • I am currently outside of Canada and have received my confirmation of residency which must be confirmed within the next few weeks;
  • I am currently outside of Canada and plan to return to Canada soon.

Please note - some visa receiving offices abroad will be closed to minimize the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, it is still possible to submit most immigration applications online or by mail.

Processing times for applications currently being processed - We expect processing times to be longer than usual. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has indicated that the temporary closure of several offices could increase processing times for applications currently being processed by the IRCC.

The situation is changing from hour to hour and the actions to be taken could change rapidly. Furthermore, each immigration situation is different and will require a case-by-case analysis in order to determine the solution that will best suit your circumstances. Hence, if you believe that your file could be affected by these events, please contact us quickly.

We understand that this situation can be baffling, and the consequences can sometimes be complex. Our team is ready to accompany and guide you in the best way possible to meet your immigration needs. 

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