COVID-19 and Immigration Related Matters

Travel

  • Foreign nationals from all countries (except the U.S.) are barred from entering Canada. This bar does not apply to air crews, travellers arriving in Canada in transit to a third country, Canadian permanent residents, diplomats, or immediate family members of Canadian citizens.[1]

  • While the U.S. is exempted for now, sources indicate that Canada and the United States are finalizing a deal to close their shared border to non-essential travel.[2]

  • All travellers arriving in Canada are asked to isolate themselves for 14 days.[3]

  • International passenger flight arrivals are being directed to 4 airports:

  • Calgary International Airport

  • Vancouver International Airport

  • Toronto-Pearson International Airport

  • Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

This measure will not affect domestic flights or flights from the U. S., sun destinations (such as Mexico and the Caribbean), or St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, which can continue to operate on their regular routes and land at current Canadian destinations.

Immigration and Refugee Board

  • All hearings (except detention reviews) are postponed effective Tuesday March 17, 2020 through Sunday, April 5, 2020.

  • Steps are being taken to reduce the risk of exposure during detention reviews:

  • Minimizing the transportation of detained individuals to IRB premises

  • Establishing a means by which other hearing participants, for example counsel, hearings officers and bondspersons, can take part in hearings by telephone or video-conferencing should they wish to do so.

  • Continuing to implementing active health screening procedures at each hearing site.

  • Temporary extensions of time limits

  • If your time limit for filing the BOC Form with the RPD falls between February 15 and April 15, 2020 inclusive, the deadline is extended to May 30, 2020.

  • If your time limit for filing a notice of appeal falls between January 1, 2020 and April 15, 2020 inclusive, the deadline is extended to May 30, 2020.

  • If your time limit for perfecting an appeal falls between January 1, 2020 and April 15, 2020 inclusive, the deadline is extended to May 30, 2020.

  • In addition to the above measures, the IRB will be considering all COVID related motions and applications with flexibility and other operational practice flexibilities are being considered and will be announced as required.

Source: https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/news/2020/Pages/covid-19-march-15.aspx

IRCC

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is cancelling all:

  • citizenship ceremonies, citizenship tests and retests, and itinerant service trips until further notice

  • refugee claim in-person appointments until April 13, 2020

  • in-person permanent resident landing appointments until April 13, 2020.

  • For those who are here, landings will be by phone once it’s up to and running in a few days.

  • It is business as usual for the centralized network. However, some IRCC offices are currently operating with essential staff only, so processing may be slower. Online applications are proceeding, but processing may be slower. Some Visa Application Centres have been closed.

  • Effective 90 day extensions for all further steps / requests for additional documents on open immigration applications for permanent and temporary residence. Service Canada is not doing biometrics right now. If people need medicals or biometrics, they will be granted a 90 day extension.

  • 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 their application that they are affected by the service disruptions as a result of the novel coronavirus. The application may then be promoted and reviewed in 90 days.[4]

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship.html

CBSA

  • Removals put on pause until further notice (with some exceptions).[5]

  • Flagpolling is discouraged. In some instances, the CBSA has refused to process permits.[6]

Federal Court

  • All Federal Court hearings previously scheduled to be heard between now and April 17, 2020 are being adjourned. The suspension period is subject to the following two exceptions: (i) urgent matters (e.g. stays of removal that are proceeding during this period), and (ii) matters that need to proceed as previously scheduled for exceptional reasons. The Court will determine what constitutes “urgent” and “exceptional” on a case-by-case basis.

  • The running of timelines under Orders and Directions of the Court made prior to March 18, 2020, as well as under the Federal Courts Rules, subsection 18.1(2) of the Federal Courts Act and paragraph 72(2)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, is being suspended.

[1] https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/16/prime-minister-announces-new-actions-under-canadas-covid-19-response

[2] https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-us-border-1.5501201

[3] https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html

[4] https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/service-delivery/coronavirus/permanent-residence.html

[5] Correspondence between CBSA and members of the Canadian Bar Association.

[6] Correspondence between CBSA and members of the Canadian Bar Association.


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