Immigration Update: Covid-19 Impacts (March 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. EDT)

Information with respect to all aspects of immigration and travel are evolving moment by moment and is subject to change at anytime. We will continue to keep you informed.

We have three important updates to share regarding the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian immigration:
  1. The details of a joint agreement between Canada and the U.S resulting in the restriction of all non-essential travel between the two countries should be announced within the hour. We are monitoring the situation closely and will share an update as soon as it is available. In the meantime we do not recommend that foreign nationals who are caught by the boarding restriction going into effect at noon today to attempt to enter Canada through the U.S. We are still waiting for clarification from the Government of Canada as to whether foreign nationals holding valid work or study permits will be allowed to enter the country.
  2. New Labour Market Impact Assessments will be valid for nine months instead of six. Individuals holding LMIAs valid for six months who need more time to submit a work permit application may be given an extension depending on their circumstances.
  3. Foreign workers who have made EI contributions may be eligible for EI. See for eligibility requirements. Employers who layoff foreign workers should seek legal counsel regarding immigration compliance and disclosure requirements.

A lot of these changes will have an impact on temporary and permanent residence applications (e.g., providing biometrics and obtaining language tests, medical exams, and educational assessments). WES has announced the closure of its offices until further notice. The government will be suspending removals for the next three weeks. Accumulating Canadian work experience may be a challenge for those who have been temporarily laid off. Work permit/visitor record extensions and even applications for restoration of status may be necessary.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our lawyers for guidance in this fast-changing environment.