- In responding to COVID-19, the Government of Canada’s number one priority continues to be the health and safety of Canadians.
- This is why we recently announced a series of enhanced border measures, including air travel restrictions, to try to prevent further spread of COVID-19 as best we can.
- IRCC, along with our government partners, has been closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19, as well as the measures we are putting in place, on our clients and operations.
- IRCC has introduced special measures to help clients affected by the disruption in travel and services due to COVID-19, while ensuring the health, safety and security of Canadians.
- Our goal is to ensure that clients are not penalized for not being able to complete all that is required for their applications due to the temporary closure of some visa application centres, reduced services at Canadian visa offices, in-Canada processing centres and local offices across Canada as well as global travel restrictions.
- Special measures provide flexibility to clients who require travel documents, have expiring documents, or those who need additional time in order to provide IRCC with the information required to process their application. Some of those applicants cannot travel at this time, due to air travel restrictions.
- The Government priority is to facilitate immigration, while protecting the health and safety of Canadians and following the Government of Canada restrictions to limit the spread of the pandemic.
The Government of Canada’s priority is to facilitate immigration, while protecting the health and safety of Canadians.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) works closely with Global Affairs Canada to facilitate the repatriation of Canadian citizens and certain permanent residents accompanying Canadian family members. Emergency travel documents, along with temporary resident permits and facilitation visas will continue to be issued, as needed, to help these citizens and accompanying family members who are non-citizens return to Canada.
IRCC has put special measures in place to help new and existing temporary residence, permanent residence and citizenship applicants in Canada and abroad who are affected by the reduction of services and travel due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Applications will not be refused for non-compliance, and all applications currently in progress at IRCC offices abroad and at case processing centres will continue to be processed, though clients may experience delays.
When additional documentation is required to make a decision on an application, IRCC will provide 90 days for the applicant to respond, as opposed to the usual 30 day timeline.
In all lines of business, if a request for additional documentation was previously sent but the applicant was unable to comply within the deadline, IRCC will provide an additional 90 days for the applicant to respond.
Clients who need to provide biometrics now have 90 days rather than 30 days to do so.
At this time, all testing and retesting events, ceremonies and hearings for citizenship applicants have been cancelled until April 11, 2020. The situation will be re-assessed closer to that date.
Existing provisions, such as extensions and restoration of status for those in Canada, are also available to support visitors, international students and foreign workers who cannot travel to their home country and whose legal status in Canada has ended or will soon expire.
Clients in possession of a confirmation of permanent residence document and permanent resident visa who are not in a position to travel to Canada can get an extension of 90 days.
In order to facilitate Interim Federal Health coverage for asylum claimants who may need it and with the aim of protecting IRCC employees from contracting COVID-19, alternative service delivery methods have been identified for Asylum claimants to submit their claims. The claims will not be referred to the Immigration Refugee Board but, at this time, this streamlined intake will allow claimants to receive provincial and federal services.
Broad departmental business process planning is also underway, which is considering implications on application processing times and permanent residence admission levels under different short, medium and long-term outbreak scenarios.
IRCC, along with all its government partners, will continue to closely monitor the situation and any impacts on our clients and our operations.
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