It has been a little over a month since the COVID-19 virus started seriously affecting the lives of us here in Canada and the west. We’ve all had to change the way we live, do business, study, and travel, and it doesn’t look like things will return to normal for some time.
While Canada and many other countries implement measures to protect their people and businesses from the pandemic and subsequent economic struggles, new and tighter measures on travel have been imposed.
As an entrepreneur, business owner, or foreign professional, we know you are looking forward and anticipating what you need to do to be in the best position to take advantage of the opportunities that come out of catastrophic times like these.
While times will be hard, we’re likely to see some positive changes on the immigration front in Canada that will provide you with the opportunity you’re looking for. Here’s what to expect in immigration in a post-COVID-19 Canada:
1. Approval Rates for Businesses Will Likely Increase Significantly
If you’ve been looking for your opportunity to enter the Canadian market, your time is coming. As Canada’s unemployment rates skyrocket as businesses struggle to stay afloat with little revenue coming in, the government will likely be looking to approve new businesses in an effort to attract capital and to give the economy a jump-start.
While some Canadian companies may struggle to gain approval for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications which require proof of shortage in the labour market, it seems that Owner-Operator LMIA applications will be welcomed by the EDSC officers and processed on a priority basis.
You can also expect that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to be modified to reflect the post-COVID world, and a number of industries that are deemed as “essential” may find it easier to obtain LMIAs to bring more foreign workforce to Canada. For example, the government plans to lower the advertising requirements for businesses involved in agriculture, food production, and logistics in order to bring essential workers to Canada rapidly.
Thus, if you are an experienced business person who is ready to take advantage of the resurgence of the Canadian economy once coronavirus has passed, Canada’s business immigration programs will likely be the fast-track you’re looking for.
2. The Points Necessary to Be Selected in the Express Entry Program Will Likely Drop
Express Entry is one method through which immigrants can seek permanent residence in the country fast, and, perhaps understandably, Canada will probably fall behind its immigration goals for 2020, which aims to combat the ageing population and low fertility rate in the country. Already, we’ve seen the lowest minimum CRS score since October of last year, at 455 and we expect this to drop further.
Under the 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan, the government is looking to give permanent residency to 341,000 people this year, 351,000 in 2021, and 361,000 in 2022.
Given the higher admission targets for Canada’s three Federal Skilled immigration programs over the next couple of years, it’s expected that the IRCC will hold more frequent draws with lower CRS scores, and that means more opportunities to gain permanent residency for those candidates who are already in the Express Entry pool.
3. New Immigration Programmes Will Probably Emerge
In order for the government to meet its immigration goals and maintain sustainable levels of immigration into the country, the Canadian governments (federal and provincial) will have to invent new immigration programmes in order to attract skilled people and provide additional pathways for foreign professionals and entrepreneurs to gain permanent residence.
The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot is one example of this (though it’s been postponed until May, while the government focuses on battling Coronavirus), which is a program that will allow seasonal agricultural workers to apply for permanent residence.
Provinces will likely take partial control and play a more active role in attracting new immigrants, so it’s likely that new provincial nominee programmes will emerge and implemented. What does this mean for you? It means you should register with the provincial nominee program of your choice in order to boost your chances for permanent residence in the future.
4. Immigration Applications Will Spike and Cause Delays
Believe it or not, but right now is a great time to apply for Canadian immigration. Right now, many individuals are scared to proceed with their immigration plans and prefer to wait until the situation improves. The number of immigration applications has probably dropped in the past few weeks and the immigration authorities have slowed down the processing of the applications. This means that once the virus crisis is over, there will be a huge influx of new applications and the Canadian immigration system will likely be clogged. Being in a situation where you have to wait for the processing of your application for long months (if not years) is not ideal, which makes NOW a great time to apply. If you plan to apply for Canadian immigration or work permit any time soon, we recommend turning off your panic mode and proceeding with your application in order to get your application processed in a timely fashion. Luckily, the IRCC has confirmed that it is still accepting and processing immigration applications, although all applicants should expect delays with processing times.
It’s highly unlikely that the IRCC will return to pre-COVID-19 activity all at once, but it doesn’t have to stop your immigration journey.
So, What Can You Do Now?
So, what can you do to make the most of these immigration opportunities and avoid being caught up in the administrative backlog?
- Take advantage of this time and proceed with your business immigration application – if you know you want to relocate to Canada, don’t wait to see what programs emerge post-pandemic. Now is the time to act on your plans and the likelihood is you’ll get approval far sooner than if you wait.
- Get in the Express Entry Pool – the CRS score will continue to drop, so it’s a good idea to throw yourself into the candidates’ pool now. This is a great chance to gain Canadian permanent residence quickly and easily.
- Things Are Slow, But You Don’t Have to Stop – Coronavirus will be a problem for some time to come, so there’s no point in waiting to move forward with your plans. Stay informed, keep an eye on the news, and put your confident step forward for Canadian residence.
Sobirovs Law Firm offers hassle-free immigration to Canada for high-skilled professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs and investors.
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