Canada extends expired visas amid pandemic, limited immigration restrictions ease

CANADA — Early phases of re-opening the economy are in motion, but Canada’s travel restrictions are not easing up just yet.

Immigration Minister, Hon. Marco Mendicino, said adjustments have been made for those holding visitor visas, work and study permits that have expired.

“We used our discretion to extend visas that expired since there are limited options for people to return home given not a lot of airline traffic these days… we will continue to exercise that discretion,” said Hon. Marco Mendicino, Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Mendicino also assured the processing of immigration applications continue.

Priority has been given to seasonal agricultural workers under the Temporary Foreign Workers program.

“So crucially important to maintaining our food supply chain and food on the shelves of grocery stores and plates of Canadians. We have reduced the processing time in the normal course so that work continues as quickly as possible.”

International students in the country meantime can continue taking courses online.

Students enrolled in courses deemed as essential services have also been allowed to work full time, as government removed limits on working hours for international students in courses like nursing and personal support care during the pandemic.

“If you’re an international student taking a degree in medicine, nursing, diploma in personal support care…you’re deemed to be part of essential service community, lifting limit of 20 hrs per week and enabling full-time work hours so they can help provide critical health care to those most affected particularly seniors, long term care homes where its just been truly tragic.”

For worried immigrants who’ve lost jobs due to COVID-19 while in the middle of sponsoring family members or applying for permanent residency:

“You are still eligible for CERB without negatively impacting that sponsorship application,” said Mendicino.

More details on immigration updates due to COVID-19 can be found on Canada.ca’s immigration homepage.

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