ITC News interviewed Immigration Attorney Jennifer Ganeshanathan to answer Canadian immigration questions we’ve received from our readers. Jennifer works for the Canadim Law Firm based in Montreal, Quebec and has a wealth of experience helping newcomers successfully immigrate to Canada.
1. What trends do you see coming up for the future of Canadian immigration?
I hope to see exemptions for biometrics for permanent residents since we have seen a relaxation of this requirement for some temporary workers. I also hope to see the government lift travel restrictions for the family of temporary workers and international students so these families can be together in Canada.
2. What can I do if a Visa Application Centre (VAC) near me is closed due to COVID-19?
You can check the government of Canada’s website for other VACs near you and potentially travel there if that’s possible. But if you can’t travel or there isn’t another VAC close to you, remember that incomplete applications can still be submitted. Whatever you decide to do, call the VAC first. Most VACs are only accepting appointments and do not allow individuals to just show up.
3. What travel restrictions are currently in place? Who do they most affect?
The travel restrictions most impact tourism and students. All tourism or non-essential travel to Canada is banned with the exception of the immediate family of Canadians. For students, only those in possession of a valid student permit that was approved prior to March 18, or, students who are required to attend in-person classes by their school may enter Canada.
For workers, your travel is essential (non-discretionary) if you’re in either of these situations:
- You have a valid work permit and normally live in Canada.
- You’re a worker who meets all of the following:
- In possession of a letter of introduction for a work permit (open or employer-specific)
- You have a valid job offer
- You can work once you enter Canada and complete your 14-day quarantine (unless you’re exempt)
If you are eligible to enter the country, unless you are an essential worker, you must have a plan to quarantine yourself for the mandatory 14-day isolation period.
4. I have a PR visa and I want to land in Canada. Am I allowed to travel to Canada?
The only PR applicants that can enter Canada right now are:
- PRs with a valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and PR visa that was issued on or before March 18.
- If you are the spouse or dependent child of a Canadian who has successfully sponsored your application.
- You are residing in the USA and coming directly to Canada.
5. Can we still apply for work/student/PR visas? What visas aren’t being processed at the moment?
Yes, it’s possible to apply for all categories of Canadian visas. There was a temporary pause in processing for some visa categories at the beginning of the pandemic but as of now, all have been resumed. You can, however, expect longer than usual processing times.
6. In your expertise, will international students who have been accepted for the September intake be allowed to enter the country (even from banned countries)?
No, you will not be allowed to enter Canada unless your presence is mandatory to complete in-person classes or if you were already living in Canada on a student permit.