Candidates overseas with expiring Confirmation of Permanent Residency documents will still be allowed to come to Canada once COVID-19 travel restrictions have eased, says Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
In an e-mail to CTVnews.ca, immigration spokespeople reportedly stated that those who received their Confirmation of Permanent Residency after March 18 when the travel restrictions took effect will eventually be allowed to come to Canada even if those confirmations have since expired.
“Applicants with expiring documents may eventually be able to have their COPRs extended once they’re permitted to come to Canada,” immigration department officials reportedly confirmed to CTVnews.ca.
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The immigration department is apparently monitoring the situation but is reportedly very clear that those with expiring COPRs will not have to start their full application process all over again.
A COPR cannot usually be extended but Mendicino’s office is making an exception because this situation was caused by Canada’s travel restrictions.
“Regardless of the validity of documents right now, we will ensure that new permanent residents approved after March 18 can come to Canada once current travel restrictions are lifted,” immigration department officials reportedly confirmed to CTVnews.ca.
COPR Holders Urged Ottawa To Let Them Travel
On social media, many of those hoping to become new permanent residents to Canada have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the wait caused by the travel restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the global pandemic.
“Our COPRs were issued in November with an expiry of Apr/May. Why to issue us the docs and then stop us from travelling and completing the PR process?” asked Jay Sharma on Twitter Sunday.
“Let us land and complete the process. We will follow all quarantine rules.”
Mendicino’s reassurance to these prospective new permanent residents to Canada comes as a relief to those like Dulshan Tilakarathna who have been desperately seeking a solution to their dilemma.
On Wednesday, he appealed to Mendicino in a tweet:
“Dear Sir, Can we please have a solution for people with permanent residence visas issued post-March 18, 2020? Safety measures are in place and we are ready to abide by them. Our lives and dreams are at a standstill, and our visas would expire soon. Please help us!”
A Twitter user whose account is called “COPR/immigrant visa holders outside Canada” argued on social media that immigrating with a family as permanent residents shouldn’t be deemed non-essential travel and therefore subject to the travel ban.
“Being granted Immigrant Visa/COPR [a precursor to citizenship] by the (Canadian immigration department) is an obligation,” wrote that Twitter user. “It’s not tourism! #LetUSLandimmediately.”
Immigration Slowed To Trickle Due To Travel Restrictions
As the coronavirus swept through the world, many countries imposed travel restrictions. Canada was one of them. And those restrictions slowed immigration to a trickle last year.
In 2020, Canada saw 156,805 fewer new permanent residents to Canada, than the previous year. That’s a drop of almost 46 per cent from the 341,175 new permanent residents to Canada in 2019.
Ottawa remains fully committed to immigration. Late last year, Mendicino announced the country was going to greatly increase immigration levels for the next three years to make up for the shortfall in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Under the new plan, Canada is planning to welcome more than 1.2 million newcomers between 2021 and 2023 with 401,000 new permanent residents to Canada in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.
Those watching Canada’s immigration efforts, though, have expressed doubts about Ottawa being able to hit its target for this year.
Andrew Agopsowicz, a senior economist at the Royal Bank of Canada, wrote in an RBC Economic report last month that Canada was more likely to only be able to attract 275,000 immigrants this year due to the on-going travel restrictions.
However, after welcoming nearly 25,000 newcomers in January and conducting a record Express Entry draw in February, Ottawa has shown it is serious about hitting its target.