How Canada immigration stays flexible in crisis times

Canada flexible immigration

Canada amazes the world with its determined approach to immigration. Canada’s immigration system remains in operation even when the global impact of COVID-19 is still felt.

This scenario shows the importance of immigration to Canada. The federal and provincial draws have continued even after Canada implemented bold measures to prevent COVID-19 in mid-March.

Canada has done a great job by restricting the entry of foreigners to stop the spread of COVID-19. The border restrictions at the Canada-USA port of entry will remain in place until June 30, 2020.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) hasn’t suspended draws through the Express Entry system or the Provincial Nominee Programs. Since March 15, 2020, around 3,920 candidates have been invited via Express Entry. Also, provincial draws have recently been conducted by Manitoba, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.

Canadian government views the COVID-19 pandemic as a serious issue. But it’s also considered a temporary development in a long-term immigration strategy. It’s designed to boost the Canadian economy by welcoming over a million immigrants by 2022.  This policy will possibly remain intact though it may undergo periods of adjustments to global phenomena.

The entry restrictions will certainly limit the number of immigrants in the short term. So, it will be true that Ottawa is unlikely to reach its target of 341,000 newcomers as permanent residents in 2020. However, the restrictions will in no way reduce the importance of permanent and temporary immigrants to Canada. Of course, there will be exemptions put in place by Ottawa.

Exemptions are for permanent residents approved before March 18, 2020, but has not yet traveled to Canada.

A further exemption aims at seasonal agricultural workers, caregivers, and fish/seafood workers under the stream of the temporary foreign worker. The Canadian food supply depends on the return of trained foreign workers. These are particularly from Jamaica and Mexico. Their return is expected during the upcoming spring planting season. Steps must be taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 by making sure workers undergo a 14-day quarantine.

International students with a valid study permit can also travel to Canada. These could be students who had been approved for a study permit. They must have had either of these when the travel restrictions began on March 18. They will also be required to follow 2-week quarantine.

Canada’s immigration system is fast and flexible

Canada is known globally for its flexible, cutting-edge, and responsive immigration system. It has immigration programs from federal Express Entry to its many provincial programs.

The immigration system has already shown how swiftly it can respond to crises like COVID-19.

Both Express Entry draws that have been conducted since March 18 have been program-specific. They were aimed at provincial nominees and Canadian Experience Class candidates respectively. These candidates are more likely to be present in Canada already. More draws targeting candidates giving immediate benefits to the labor market can be expected.

The same can be observed with the provincial draws. The procedure of British Columbia’s draw was adjusted. It didn’t issue invites to certain classes of workers including:

  • Semi-skilled workers
  • Hospitality and retail
  • Workers in tourism
  • Occupations with a high volume of applicants

A statement was issued by the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program. It said that despite an uncertain economic situation, BC will need more immigrants over the next 10 years. It also said that It cannot lose sight of the long-term objectives for quality economic growth.

The quick reaction of the immigration system to COVID-19 will be maintained when the crisis finally comes under control.

Financial support from the federal government

Federal and provincial governments have taken steps to help citizens and permanent residents impacted by the COVID-19 response.

Measures include the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). It provides $2,000 per month to workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. Employment Insurance is also available to them.

Also, the Canada Child Benefit has been increased. The income tax filing deadline is delayed. Banks have committed to helping those with mortgages. Many banks are offering postponement of payment of up to 6 months.

Small businesses are also given government backing. An unprecedented 75% wage subsidy is allowed for qualifying businesses. This will be for up to 3 months, effective from March 15, 2020.

Canada needs immigrants to recover

Canada and its provinces are committed to keeping the draws go on to meet long-term economic growth. Canada will keep on featuring robust immigration policies. That makes the country an important destination for aspirants looking for a great future.

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Anshul Singhal

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