Good news for immigrants to Canada whose move has been disrupted by the COVID19 pandemic! CTV news reports that Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino has indicated that COPR holders who have not been able to travel to Canada due to COVID19 travel restrictions will eventually be allowed to complete their immigration process, once COVID19 travel restrictions are removed. Thousands of immigration applicants who successfully received their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and permanent resident visas since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic have not been able to actually travel to Canada due to travel restrictions.
Exemptions have been in place for those whose COPR was issued prior to March 18, 2020. There are also exemptions for certain international students, temporary workers, and family re-unification. However, thousands of prospective immigrants who received their COPR after March 18, 2020 have not been eligible to travel to Canada. This has impacted many families, since the expectation once an applicant receives their COPR and permanent resident visa is that they will start to prepare to permanently move to Canada. This involves quitting jobs, selling personal belongings, and making arrangements to travel to Canada. The uncertainty regarding when these immigrants will be able to take the final step of travelling to Canada so they can start their new lives as permanent residents of Canada has been difficult for many of these families.
Although no timelines have been given, the good news in Mr. Mendicino's comments is that even if COPR documents have expired, they will be renewed and extended to allow their holders to travel to Canada. So while the waiting continues for these families, at least they can rest assured that it is a matter of time before travel restrictions are removed and that their COPR will be extended. In normal circumstances, COPR documents cannot be extended, a fact that has understandably been a major concern for holders of these documents. Mr. Mendicino's comments should re-assure the holders of these expired COPR's that there will be a path for them to complete their immigration process to Canada.
It remains to be seen when travel restrictions will be finally removed to allow travel to return to normal. Canada has been targeting to complete a major vaccination campaign across the country by the end of the summer in 2021. In recent days, it appears that the availability of vaccine doses has been improving, potentially opening the door for an acceleration of the vaccination timeline. Of course, all this depends on no further outbreaks, variants, or waves causing any further disruption.
For now, expired COPR holders can only wait and monitor the situation, and hope that they will be able to join us in Canada soon to start their new life as Canadian permanent residents!