Canada is sending the right immigration signals to the world

After coronavirus, Canada will be viewed in a positive light globally for the efforts it is taking to accommodate immigrants. 

Canada may be the most open country on the planet right now.

Countries around the world have shut their borders, closed their airports, and imposed lockdowns to fight the deadly coronavirus.

Canada, too, has implemented such emergency measures.

But, it is also seeking to strike a balance between containing COVID-19 while enabling global talent and foreign nationals into the country. This is due to Canada’s recognition that newcomers are part of the solution to supporting its economy during this challenging period, as well as the country’s unwavering commitment to reuniting family members even in the wake of its travel restrictions.

Canada doing everything it can to accommodate immigrants

On March 16, 2020, Canada unveiled special immigration measures related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The most notable measure was the decision to restrict travel into the country until June 30th, although several major exceptions were made.

Recognizing that the immigration system would face significant disruptions due to developments that are both within its control as well as beyond its control, Canada has taken additional steps to try to keep its immigration system running as smoothly as possible.

For instance, Canada has stated that no immigration application will be refused due to incomplete documentation. Rather, the federal government will provide applicants with more time to obtain their documents before it makes a decision on their application.

Make no mistake about it; Canada’s immigration system is facing disruptions.

Canadian government officials must work remotely to protect their health and safety as well as the safety of their families, friends, and communities. They are also responding to competing priorities to navigate this crisis which is requiring them to divert their attention from their day-to-day immigration responsibilities.

Factors beyond Canada’s control include people overseas facing lockdowns, travel restrictions, service disruptions, and other obstacles that are hindering the ability of foreign nationals to come to Canada or submit a completed immigration application.

Nonetheless, Canada is doing its best to adapt which is sending the right signals to foreign nationals around the world.

That is: we will do everything we can to accommodate your immigration goals and help you during this period of need.

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Permanent residents

Consider that despite all that is happening in the world, Canada continues to hold Express Entry draws.

Four Express Entry draws have taken place in the three weeks following the travel restrictions being announced, including two draws on April 9 that saw Canada issue a total of 3,900 invitations to apply for permanent residence.

In addition, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have all had Provincial Nominee Program draws.

Permanent residents outside of Canada are being accommodated in a number of ways. They are still able to travel to Canada. And, those who received a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) prior to March 16 are also able to come to Canada.

Immigration will help Canada recover from the coronavirus crisis

We are currently living in an unprecedented moment in history that is taking a significant toll on the emotional, physical, and financial health of us all.

Nevertheless, it is important to remember that we will eventually get through this difficult period and once we get a chance to catch our breath, we will look back at how governments around the world responded to the crisis.

On the immigration front, it is difficult to criticize Canada’s response and it appears very likely that Canada will be lauded for the compassion it has shown to immigrants of all stripes during a period where it is very well within its right to shut down its borders and immigration system.

Immigration has various short-, medium-, and long-term benefits for Canada and a very strong argument can be made that facilitating immigration even during this crisis is necessary.

In the short run, permanent residents, foreign workers, and international students will help to stimulate economic activity in Canada which will help to alleviate the economic strain Canada is currently under.

In the medium- and long-term, immigrants will be key to keeping Canada prosperous since they will spur economic activity as workers, consumers, and taxpayers.

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