Reality Check: How is Travel Relaxations Helping Immigration to Canada?

Ground Reality: Has Travel Measures Eased Immigration to Canada post-pandemic?

“As of June 21, 2021, you’re exempt from travel restrictions, no matter what date we issued your COPR, if you’re, travelling to Canada with a valid COPR and coming to live and settle permanently”, reads the official instructions from the Government of Canada. Canada is also in the process of allowing fully-vaccinated tourists on discretionary travel to the country from September 7, 2021. 

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The travel relaxations introduced by the government in view of the decline in COVID-19 cases will help Canada fulfil its immigration levels plan of welcoming over 401,000 new immigrants annually till 2023. 

In fact, Canada recorded its strongest month for new Permanent Resident (PR) arrivals, as per the data entries by the immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Canada has admitted some 184,000 newcomers so far in 2021 and the regular conduct of nomination draws is helping significantly towards the cause. 

We’re ahead of where we expected to be at this point in the year, and we are going to continue to accelerate the pace of landing new permanent residents,” Immigration Minister Mendicino said. 

The concern about expired COPR-holders still remains as several Permanent residency applicants, who were approved on or after March 18, 2020, are still waiting to hear from IRCC for answers as to when they will be re-issued travel documents and be able to start their new lives in Canada.

IRCC took 10 months to contact nearly 10,000 individuals who received their COPR before March 18, 2021. Individuals with expired COPRs issued after March 18, 2020, can expect to receive instructions from IRCC in the coming months for the re-issue of travel documents. 

Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) is Different from Approved Permanent Residents

Approved permanent residents hold a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), which means they passed the “entire permanent residency process” including medical exams, federal government security, safety checks and were approved by IRCC. All they have to do is physically enter Canada and officially become permanent residents.

Due to public health concerns, Canada imposed travel restrictions on March 18, 2020, with certain exemptions. However, between March 18, 2020, and June 21, 2021, approved permanent residents were not allowed to come to Canada. 

Foreigners holding a COPR are not allowed into the country if their documents were issued after Canada closed its border. They must be exempt under some other condition, like coming to reunite with family, or they must be residents of the U.S.

Each client’s situation is unique and needs to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they have valid visas for travel. In order to minimize the chance that they will encounter issues when they seek admission as permanent residents at the border, a broad extension for expired COPRs is not feasible,” IRCC media relations said.

IRCC has asked the expired COPR-holders to not contact them and wait for IRCC to send an email asking expired COPR holders if they still want to travel. IRCC will give them 10 days to respond. Eventually, IRCC will ask them for medicals and passports, if required. IRCC will issue their renewed documents only upon a positive response from the applicants. 

Family Class Applicants Will Be Prioritized 

In a media release, IRCC asserted that Family class applicants will be prioritized. Only then individual clients will be contacted based on the date they applied for permanent residence.

According to an IRCC spokesperson, as of July 11, 2021, all pre-March-18 COPR holders who were eligible for an extension have been contacted. 

In a time when many expired COPR holders are left to their faith as they cannot make concrete plans for their future in their home country, nor in Canada, even after getting approval for permanent residency, CanApprove sees a bright future for you in Canada. 

The public health crisis of this magnitude is a first-off experience and Canada has just found its way out of it. The labour market levels are approaching pre-pandemic levels and the country is committed to welcome foreign immigration to sustain its economy as well as ageing demography.

Take this free assessment online to determine your eligibility for permanent residency.

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