U.S.A. Extending Ban on Green Cards and Non-Immigrant Visas Also Affected
June 23, 2020
On Monday, June 22, 2020, the Trump administration announced that it was extending a ban on Green Cards issued outside the United States until the end of the year and adding many temporary work visas to the freeze, including those used heavily by technology companies and multinational corporations.
The policy behind the freeze is to free up jobs in the American economy which has suffered because of COVID-19. It is estimated that the restrictions will free up to 525,000 jobs for Americans.
The ban, while temporary, would amount to major restructuring of legal immigration if made permanent. Long-term changes targeting high-tech workers are also being sought.
The ban on new visas also applies to H-1B visas, which are widely used by major American and Indian technology company workers and their families, H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas for cultural exchanges and L-1 visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations.
By contrast, Canada plans on welcoming 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021, and 361,000 in 2022 while reducing application processing times and improving service delivery and client services at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, notwithstanding COVID-19.
For those who are/were considering American Immigration, Canada may be a more viable and attractive option right now, especially considering the current uncertainty surrounding U.S. Immigration and all of the political chaos and unrest in the United States.
Canada Remains Open to Immigration while U.S. Threatens to Suspend Immigration
April 21, 2020
On Monday, April 20, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending Immigration to the United States as the nation battles the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a tweet sent out late Monday night, President Trump wrote: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
By contrast, Canada continues to welcome immigrants, notwithstanding COVID-19. As was mentioned in our blog of March 13, 2020, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), tabled the 2020‒2022 Immigration Levels Plan in the Canadian House of Commons. Canada plans on welcoming 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020, 351,000 in 2021, and 361,000 in 2022 while reducing application processing times and improving service delivery and client services at IRCC.
Of those who will become permanent residents of Canada over the next few years, in 2020, 88,500 to 100,000 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants; in 2021, 89,300 to 100,000 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants; and, in 2022, 88,800 to 100,600 immigrants will be Express Entry applicants.
To quote the Minister: “Our immigration system benefits all Canadians by strengthening the middle class, keeping families together and building strong and inclusive communities. This increase in immigration levels supports a system that will help Canadian business create good middle class jobs and grow the economy while ensuring Canada continues to meet its humanitarian obligations around the world.”
Furthermore, as was mentioned in our blog of March 18, 2020, on Sunday, March 15, 2020, IRCC released new instructions for those affected by COVID-19. Like other countries, Canada is working diligently to halt the spread of the virus; however, IRCC is adopting new policies and procedures to minimize any disruption to Immigration processing and to help applicants who are affected in any way by COVID-19. Most importantly, IRCC confirmed that the intake of new Permanent Residence Applications will continue.
For those who are/were considering American Immigration, Canada may be a more viable and attractive option right now, especially considering the current uncertainty surrounding U.S. Immigration and all of the political chaos in the United States.
Update on 2020 Parents and Grandparents Sponsorship Program
March 27, 2020
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced, today, Friday, March 27, 2020, that the launch of the annual call for expressions of interest to apply to sponsor parents and grandparents will be delayed. It was anticipated that the program would reopen in the upcoming weeks; however, because IRCC is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has put a temporary hold on accepting new Applications.
Applicants from previous years who already received an Invitation to Apply will continue to have their Applications processed by IRCC. As for new Applications, IRCC has indicated that they are committed to opening the 2020 program as soon as possible and will share any updates once they become available. Abrams & Krochak will continue to post those updates on this blog as soon as they are announced.
IRCC Permanent Residence Processing Will Continue Despite COVID-19
March 18, 2020
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released new instructions for those affected by COVID-19. Like other countries, Canada is working diligently to halt the spread of the virus; however, IRCC is adopting new policies and procedures to minimize any disruption to Immigration processing and to help applicants who are affected in any way by COVID-19. Among the steps being taken by IRCC insofar as Permanent Residence Applications are concerned are the following (reproduced from the IRCC website with minor text modifications):
Intake of new Permanent Residence Applications will continue. Files that are incomplete due to unavailable documents will be retained in the system and reviewed in 90 days.
New, complete Permanent Residence Applications under section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) will be processed as per normal procedures.
If a new Application is missing supporting documentation (associated fees are required), the applicant should include an explanation with his/her Application that he/she is affected by the service disruptions as a result of the novel coronavirus. The Application may then be promoted and reviewed in 90 days. New Applications should be promoted in the order they were received. If the Application is still incomplete in 60 days, officers should request the missing documents with an additional 90-day deadline.
Applications found to be incomplete with no explanation provided, or for reasons unrelated to the disruption of services associated with impacts of the novel coronavirus, may be rejected as per section 10 of IRPR, and all fees associated with the Application should be refunded to the applicant. The reason for rejection should be unrelated to the disruption of services.
Approved Permanent Residence Applications (COPR and PRV)
Permanent residence applicants who are in possession of a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and Permanent Resident Visa (PRV) and inform IRCC, by submitting a web form to IRCC, that they are unable to travel within the validity of their documentation should be processed as follows:
Valid COPR and PRV: In an effort to reduce the number of cancelled COPRs and PRVs, a note should be placed in the file explaining that the applicant is unable to travel, and the file should be brought forward to the expiration date of the COPR and PRV. If the applicant informs IRCC that he/she can travel prior to the COPR and PRV expiration, he/she is encouraged to use his/her existing COPR and PRV to land.
Expired COPR and PRV: If the applicant informs IRCC via the web form that he/she was unable to travel after the expiration of his/her COPR and PRV, or if he/she was unable to travel prior to expiration, officers are to re-open the Application, and it should be brought forward for review in 90 days.
Approved Applications can be re-opened by cancelling the COPR and PRV and removing the final decision.
When to Review a Re-opened Application
Once the applicant informs IRCC via the web form that he/she is able to travel, a re-opened Application may be re-approved provided that the applicant and his/her family members, whether accompanying or not, have valid immigration medical examinations, criminal and security checks and passports.
If the 60-day waiting period elapses and the applicant has not informed IRCC that he/she is able to travel, a note should be placed in the Application, and it should be brought forward for review for an additional 60 days.