Covid 19 and Immigration

It is no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down some areas of Canada’s immigration system. However, many are confused about which approvals are taking longer, and how long that wait may be.

For much of the first wave, many approval processes came to a grinding halt. This was uncharted territory and the government had to decide what was most important at that moment.

The government of Canada has stated its priority is bringing Canadian citizens abroad back home. Because of the virus, this takes a lot of extra processing time, which has put other applications on the back burner. Applications from vulnerable persons are also high priority, as are essential workers. 

Non-Canadians who do not currently hold valid status, then, are made to wait longer. Those applying for work permits fare better than most. The pandemic has created a gap in the labour market which Canada is struggling to fill on its own. Therefore, the immigration programs in place are immensely valuable. However, there is still a long application period, since the candidates must be screened for COVID-19 and state a quarantine plan on top of their application process.

Permanent residents who have a spouse not currently living in Canada have been the most frustrated group through all of the pandemic struggles. Permanent residents are able to sponsor their spouses to boost their chances of being invited to come to the country. This process typically takes less than 12 months to complete. With COVID, it may now take over 18 months, a period which many say is too long for their families to remain divided. Additionally, it may vary depending on the living situation of the permanent resident. If they are currently outside of Canada, obtaining sponsorship may be more difficult.

On the federal and provincial levels, draws were still held to issue Invitations to Apply for permits and PR status. However, many of them had set goals for the year which they quickly surpassed. Some provinces, like Alberta, held off on any further draws for the second half of the year, citing precaution against the coronavirus as the main reason.

This begs the question: where are we now?

COVID-19 has drastically changed our way of life and how we do things. Travel is restricted and most businesses are operating online only. However, the government of Canada is determined to keep immigration services running smoothly. Here are some of the country’s goals for immigration in 2021, and a few of the ways the coronavirus is affecting them.

Now that we are almost a year into the pandemic, we understand the measures that must be taken to keep everyone safe. This has allowed for things to resume at close pace to it was before the shutdown. With most office doors remaining closed, one benefit is that most operations are online. 

This year marks the beginning of Canada’s 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, where the country will target its highest level of intake yet. The government hopes to welcome 401,000 newcomers by year’s end. The number is projected to increase by 10,000 each year. 

This is already being reflected in the number of draws held, and volume of candidates accepted in those draws. Some draws have seen an influx of invitations granted, like the historic draw of February 13th, 2021, which distributed a record 27,332 invitations to candidates.

As part of the Immigration Levels Plan, The government plans to process more spousal applications. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) plans to process applications from 80,000 spouses this year, and have them processed in 12 months or under again.

So, while the pandemic has certainly thrown a wrench in things, Canada is bouncing back rapidly and assures that this was only a temporary setback. 

Covid 19 and Immigration

The coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly has put a strain on the immigration process, but this is not the first time Canada has faced such challenges. Though we have not faced a situation quite like this before, there have been periods of strain on immigration in the country’s past. 

During the First World War, immigration intake dropped to 34,000 in 1915, while it had been over 400,000 only two years before. Immigration picked back up in the Roaring Twenties, following the war. However, it dropped again during the Great Depression.

A similar pattern emerged during the Second World War. Newcomer numbers dropped during the conflict drastically. After the war, Canada found itself in a very fortunate position. Nonetheless, there were large gaps in the labour market that urgently needed to be filled. Between 1946 and 1953, Canada welcomed over 750,000 new residents. These newcomers helped Canada recover economically and achieve stability. 

Canada has seen many waves like this. When the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were established, immigration rates spiked immensely for the following decade.

Now, Canada faces a different kind of war: biological war against a deadly virus. The Canadian immigration system is a testament to the country’s resilience.

Canada has a unique problem of too few residents for its vast areas of land. Canada’s peaceful nature adds more appeal to the rich landscape as a sanctuary to those in need. Over many decades, Canada has strove to put this extra land to good use by bringing in refugees escaping precarious situations in their homelands. 

In the past, Canada welcomed Hungarians following World War Two, Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, and, in 2010, Syrian refugees. It seems unlikely that this tradition will cease any time soon. Canada has most recently announced special measures to facilitate the immigration process for those fleeing the increasingly oppressive situation in Hong Kong.

In fact, the government of Canada has launched many new initiatives to keep the immigration system alive during the current global crisis. The country aims to welcome approximately 1,200,000 new residents between 2021 and 2023. 

Part of these initiatives are those made to help Hongkongers immigrate safely. On February 8th, a new open work permit became available to residents of Hong Kong. They are three-year work permits and will allow Hong Kong natives to gain work experience in Canada which will later go towards their permanent residence applications.

In particular, sparsely populated rural areas are a highlight of the COVID plan. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will allow smaller communities to nominate candidates to work and settle in their towns. The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot focuses on candidates who have an interest in farming, ranching, and other agricultural or food production occupations. 

With COVID-19 comes a strong push to move everything online – a great benefit to those still stuck overseas. Online applications have the potential to be processed faster, helping the system move more efficiently. 

The pandemic may have thrown a wrench in operations temporarily, but Canada remains committed to pushing forward with its immigration goals

Covid 19 and Immigration

As the year draws to a close, pressure is on IRCC to get in as many new immigrants as they can, as they draw closer to a target of 400,000 new immigrants by the end of 2021. 

The latest Express Entry draw saw invitations being sent out to 5000 candidates with a minimum CRS (comprehensive ranking score) of 472. This was an all stream draw, meaning candidates of all the three economic immigration streams i.e. Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades and Canadian Experience Class were selected. The tie break had been set to October 27th, 06:11:18 UTC, which means that invited candidates with the CRS score of 472, should have submitted their profiles before this date and time. 

Express Entry system is the premiere immigration management system for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. It is also the quickest way to get permanent residence for Canada. All candidates entering the Express Entry pool are ranked on selection factors like, age, education, work experience, language ability, close relatives in Canada and job offer. 

Due to COVID 19 and country specific closures, this year there were a few only Canadian Experience class draws as well, with candidates being selected at low scores ranging in the 440’s. The last Federal Skilled Trades only draw held on August 6 saw a CRS dip at 415. 

Canada is increasingly being seen as a sought-after destination for settlement, with more and more people applying for permanent residence each year. 

Covid 19 and Immigration

Express Entry Draws 

The government of Canada held consecutive Express Entry draws on May 14 and May 15, inviting a total of 3900 candidates to apply for permanent residence. The invitation rounds took place only 24 hours apart from one another. 

Express Entry is a popular immigration method for skilled foreign workers. It manages the profiles of Economic Workers from three Canadian immigration programs. These programs are the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Workers Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Class.

The May 14 draw had 529 invitations sent exclusively to candidates who also participated in the Provincial Nomination Program. The minimum CRS score required for this draw was 718 points. Although this seems high, Provincial Nominations award recipients with an additional 600 points towards their initial scores.

Meanwhile, the Express Entry draw held May 15 invited 3,371 candidates, all exclusively from the Canadian Experience Class. The minimum CRS score required for the draw was the lowest it’s been since January 2019, with the cut-off being 447 points. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Canada, Express Entry has only extended permanent residence invitations to Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nomination Program candidates. Supposedly this is due to the fact that candidates from these programs are more likely to currently reside in Canada. 

Covid 19 and Immigration

Lowest CRS scores for 2020 in latest Express Entry draws

The Government of Canada finished off the month of April and started fresh in May with two new Express Entry draws. A total of 3,900 immigration candidates received invitations to apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence. 

Canada’s Express Entry system is a popular route for skilled workers to obtain permanent residence. It invites economic class workers from three skilled worker immigration streams. These streams were the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, and the Federal Skilled Worker Class.

Express Entry chooses its candidates based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score attached to their profiles. The score awards points based on factors such as language skills (in French or English), work history, education, among other factors. Each Express Entry draw will have a minimum amount of points required for candidates to be chosen.

The first of these two draws took place on April 29, and it saw 589 candidates invited with a CRS score of 692 points or more. The skilled workers invited in this draw were from the Canadian Experience Class stream. What’s more, they were all previous recipients of provincial nominations. Since provincial nominations award 600 points to an existing CRS score, the candidates only needed to have at least 92 basic human capital points. It is also worth noting that this was the lowest ever CRS score requirement for any provincial nomination program (PNP) exclusive draw. 

The second draw was held on May 1 and distributed 3,311 invitations to candidates from all categories. The minimum score required for the draw was 452 points, which is the lowest Express Entry requirement so far this year.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has set a goal to distribute  ITAs through Express Entry by the end of 2020. So far this year, 34,300 ITAs have been issued through Express Entry. 

Despite issues with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is continuing to issue ITAs through Express Entry. This demonstrates that the Canadian government is still looking out for immigrants seeking permanent residence, and aims to help immigration processes continue even if at a slower pace. 

Covid 19 and Immigration

The Government of Canada has issued 3,900 invitations to apply (ITAs) in two Express Entry draws in the past two days. The first draw saw 118 candidates invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence, while the second draw distributed 3,782 invitations. 

In spite of the issues currently surrounding the global Covid 19 pandemic, Canada is continuing to issue permanent residence certificates. It is worth noting that economic immigrants currently residing in the country are the most likely to receive ITAs at this time. This has demonstrated that the Canadian government is still looking out for its foreign workers who want to become permanent residents. It is especially supportive of those who are essential workers and are continuing to aid the public at this time. 

Two Express Entry Draws in Two Days

In the first of the two latest Express Entry draws, 118 invitations were sent on April 15 . The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score in this draw was. The candidates selected for this draw were all participants of the Provincial Nominee Program. This means that they have all received provincial nominations. That provincial nomination awards them an additional 600 points to their current CRS scores. 

The Provincial Nomination Program (PNP) is active in most provinces and territories throughout Canada. It aids many immigrants in obtaining their permanent residence. For more information on the PNP contact our immigration consultants at CEC by emailing or calling +91-9953552224.

The second Express Entry draw was held on April 16, and it saw 3,782 ITAs sent to immigration candidates. The minimum CRS was 455, which is the lowest score that has been seen yet this year. This draw invited exclusively Canadian Experience Class candidates, and is the fourth ever Express Entry draw to do so. Most Canadian Experience Class immigrants are already living in Canada at the time of Express Entry draws. This makes them more ideal candidates for selection at this time due to Covid 19 measures. 

Generally, Express Entry draws from the profiles of economic immigrants from three skilled worker categories. The three categories are the Federal Skilled Trades Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Class, and the Canadian Experience Class. The profiles of candidates from these categories are ranked based on their CRS scores attached to their profiles. Points on a CRS score are determined based on various factors, including language skills in French or English, work history, education, and other factors.

As of these last two draws, Canada has sent 30,400 ITAs this year, inching closer to this year’s goal of 341,000.

Covid 19 and Immigration

Ontario calling for international doctors to help with Covid 19 outbreak 

In the wake of the Covid 19 outbreak in Canada, the province of Ontario is looking toward international doctors to help in this time. As a result, Ontario is extending temporary licenses to recent international medical graduates. These temporary licenses will be approved by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).

Temporary licenses will apply to those who have graduated from medical school in the last two years, as well as students who have passed the Canadian exam to practice medicine. Those applicable will receive a 30 day license to practice medicine in Ontario. Even if applicants do not currently have a license to practice medicine in Canada, they may still be eligible to apply for these Supervised Short-Duration Certificates. What’s more, physicians can apply to renew the temporary license. If approved, they may practice medicine in the province for longer, although the extension time will vary case by case.  

Temporary Licenses to Practice Medicine in Canada

To be eligible for the temporary medical license, there are several criteria an international medical graduate must meet. First, they must have obtained a medical degree from an accredited school of medicine. They also need to have had full-time experience practicing medicine in the past two years, on top of their time in medical school. Next, confirmation of employment is required, and it must be from a facility approved by the Medical Act. Finally, the applicant must identify a supervisor from the aforementioned medical facility.

The CPSO has been issuing these certificates for almost a month. However, CBC reports that not many doctors have actually applied. Before April 3, twelve doctors sent in applications. Ten of these doctors were accepted into the program and given temporary medical certificates. 
To apply for this program, applicants must contact CPSO directly through And for assistance in settling in Canada permanently, applicants can contact our immigration consultants at CEC by emailing or calling +91-9953552224.

Covid 19 and Immigration

3,900 ITAs in two Express Entry draws on April 9

The Canadian Government has once again held a double Express Entry draw, this time with two draws on April 9. The first draw invited 606 candidates, while the second sent 3,294 invitations to apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence. That brought the total to 3,900 ITAs, which is in line with the average single draw that the government has held recently.

Despite Covid 19 prevention measures affecting functions and services throughout Canada, Express Entry has continued to progress relatively normally. In late March two Express Entry draws were held only five days apart, similarly sending 3,900 invitations between the two draws. On April 1 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced via twitter that they would continue to process and accept Express Entry applications and that the invitation draws would also continue. 

Canada Experience Class Dominates Draw

As always, Express Entry invites economic class immigration candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence. It manages the profiles of candidates from the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, and the Federal Skilled Worker Class. It selects the candidates based on their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores. Points for these scores are awarded based on language skills, education, work history, and other factors. Candidates who also receive provincial nominations get an additional 600 points added to their profiles.  

The first of the two draws held April 9 was program-specific, inviting 606 Express Entry candidates who were part of the Canadian Experience Class as well as the provincial nomination program. As a result, the minimum CRS was rather high at 698 points. However, the selected candidates would have also received 600 points from their provincial nominations.  

The second Express Entry draw on April 9 saw 3,294 ITAs distributed. The minimum CRS score for this draw was 464 points. This score was the lowest requirement that Express Entry has seen since October of 2019. This draw also exclusively targeted Canadian Experience Class candidates.

As of these two latest draws, Canada has issued 26,500 ITAs through Express Entry in 2020. The target for the end of the year is currently set at an impressive 341,000. 

Covid 19 and Immigration

Express Entry sends 3,900 ITAs in late March  

In the weeks since the Covid 19 outbreak in Canada, the government held two small Express Entry draws on March 18 and March 23. A total of 3,900 invitations to apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence were sent out between these two draws.  

The March 18th draw saw a total of 668 ITAs distributed, and the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for the draw was 720. This minimum score was quite high, however, all candidates selected during this draw had Provincial nominations. These nominations are given by Provincial Nomination Programs, which award 600 points to an Express Entry candidate’s CRS score. 

As for the March 23rd draw, there were 3,232 ITAs sent to immigration candidates looking to obtain permanent residence. The minimum requirements for the CRS scores in this draw was 467 points. In the case of this draw, the candidates selected were all registered under the Canadian Experience Class, which is one of Canada’s economic class immigration programs. 

The Express Entry program draws the profiles of economic class immigration candidates from three of Canada’s Federal High Skilled economic immigration programs. These include the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Federal Skilled Worker Class. The profiles from these programs are ranked based on the Comprehensive Ranking System score of the client. Those with highest scores are selected during Express Entry draws. CRS scores are determined based on factors such as age, education, work history, language skills, etc.

As of these most recent draws, Canada has now distributed 22,600 ITAs through Express Entry in 2020. The government’s overall ITA distribution goal for 2020 341,000.