Important 2020 Immigration Updates in Canada

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Governments across the world have devised various methods to curb the spread of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus). Canada has not lagged either. Since March 2020, the government of Canada has continued to release a series of policy statements to help control the spread of COVID among Canadian residents.  These policy statements have had a significant impact on the immigration processes, hence affecting thousands of international students and foreign workers intending to travel to Canada or those in Canada but need to put their immigration documents in order. Here are some recent immigration updates that have had an enormous impact on immigration guidelines in Canada.

COVID-related travel restrictions

In conformity to the Quarantine Act, the Order-in-Council has joined hands with the IRCC (Immigration and Citizenship Canada) to come up with new guidelines on entry into Canada. The guidelines specify:

  • Category of people restricted from entering Canada—which includes travelers entering Canada for nonessential reasons, those with COVIC-19 related symptoms, and those missing in the list of exempted persons.
  • Persons exempted from entry restrictions—which include Canadian citizens, international students, permanent residents, temporary foreign workers, and their IRCC allowed family members.
  • Measures to take after entering Canada—including a 14-day compulsory self-isolation

Quarantine requirements

The government of Canada has imposed a directive requiring all persons entering Canada to quarantine immediately for 14 days. This directive applies to all travelers irrespective of their country of origin.

Furthermore, it requires all persons entering the country to show how they plan to self-isolate for the stipulated 14 days. They should also disclose the address of the premises in which they’ll quarantine, and how they plan to travel from the port of entry to this place. Penalties for breaking your quarantine plans include:

  • A fine of up to $750000
  • Imprisonment of up to 6-months
  • Inadmissibility to Canada

New employer obligations

Effective 20th April 2020, the government of Canada introduced new regulations assigning employees specific obligations concerning COVID-19. Key new employer responsibilities include:

Employers shouldn’t prevent their foreign workers from adhering to their quarantine obligations as stipulated in the Provincial legislation, Quarantine Act, and Emergencies Act.

Employers should pay their foreign workers, who are in quarantine, the same substantial wage.

Changing employment

On 12th May 2020, the Canadian government issued a temporary public policy allowing temporary workers already in Canada to start work immediately even as they wait to receive work permits. This policy applies to:

  • Foreigners changing employers or jobs
  • Foreigners who have secured a job offer under the terms of their International Mobility Program (IMP) or Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

Status Restoration

Effective 14th April 2020, the government extended the restoration period for foreigners (including workers and students) whose status had expired after 30th January 2020. It prolonged the usual period from three months up until 30th December 2020.

Foreigners with expired work permits can continue working as they await a decision on their application for restoration.

Foreign students

On-campus employers can still engage eligible international students remotely for the stipulated 20 hours weekly if the student had to shift to part-time or temporarily break their studies because of COVID-19. IRCC has also allowed those international students who offer essential services (for instance, healthcare providers and food suppliers) to work for over 20 hours per week.


IRCC has temporarily exempted resident applicants already in Canada from the requirement to give their biometrics.


The government of Canada has canceled most citizenship events to the disappointment of thousands of thousands of permanent residents who had applied for Canadian citizenship. The events canceled include:

  • Citizenship tests
  • Interviews
  • Tests
  • Hearings
  • In-person, citizenship ceremonies

On the positive side, IRCC has allowed extra three months for candidates who, because of COVID-19, couldn’t submit requested documents.

Express Entry

Before COVID restrictions, all eligible applicants in the IRCC system had an equal chance of securing an Invitation to Apply (ITA) during Express Entry draws. The draws are:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

After the government introduced COVID restrictions, IRCC stated holding CEC and PNC particular draws—applicants in these categories are more likely to be in Canada already.

Before COVIC restrictions, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut-off score was 471. The score has been falling significantly, and it reached 431 on June 25thDraw.

 If you have questions regarding quarantine requirements, travel restrictions, the employer obligations, moving into new occupations, eligibility for restoration, biometric requirements, and application process for permanent residence, please contact Rameh law for help.

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