Further clues as to what "non-optional and non-discretionary travel" means

On April 29, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) updated its online Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Program Delivery Instructions. The update includes an important clarification regarding a term that is at the heart of the travel restrictions imposed by the Canadian government to try and control the spread of COVID-19. Two Orders in Council set the framework for the prohibitions to enter Canada in order to minimize the risk of expoure to COVID-19. One order relates to travel from the United States and the other one to travel from any country other than the United States. While the Orders frame the travel restrictions differently, as summarized below, both Orders limit travel th

ESDC announces virtual inspections to ensure employer compliance with COVID-19 measures

Employers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) and their immigration representatives received a new notice from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) regarding new Special Compliance Inspections for Employers of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program during COVID-19. The notice advises that in accordance with new regulations that were introduced to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), employers have a specific responsibility in helping to prevent the introduction and spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Most importantly, employers are required to refrain from doing anything that prevents a worker’s compliance with orders or regulations unde

International students working in essential services allowed more flexibility to work off campus

On April 22, 2020, the government announced that it is removing certain barriers for international students working in essential services to work off-campus while their classes are in session. This is part of the government's response to help battle the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Normally, international students are authorized by immigration regulations to study outside their campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session. There is no restriction in the number of off-campus work hours while on school scheduled breaks. As there are thousands of international students studying in health and emergency service programs, the government has decided to institut

Latest Express Entry draws show the positive impact of COVID-19 measures for in-Canada PR applicants

On April 16, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held the 11th Express Entry invitation round of 2020. In round #144, Canada issued 3,782 Invitations to Apply to Canadian Experience Class candidates with a score of 455 or more in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The tie-breaking rule for this round was set on January 20, 2020, at 17:37:33 UTC. This draw follows another program-specific draw from the day before, April 15, aimed at provincial nominee candidates exclusively. Under that draw, 118 candidates were invited and the minimum score was 808. This is now the 5th consecutive Express Entry draw that has been specific to either candidates who qualify under the C

Suspension of non-essential visitor visa applications and processing clarifications re: COVID-19

On April 10, the government announced that due to the current travel restrictions implemented to tackle the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Canada is suspending the processing of non-essential visitor visa applications. The suspension will allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to focus resources on critical services. The authority for this suspension is provided by the Ministerial Instructions 37 (MI37): Ministerial Instructions with respect to the processing of certain new and existing applications for temporary residence. The suspension will run for 21 days from April 9, 2020 to April 29, 2020 and may be extended. Below is a summary of the latest Ministerial I

International students studying online due to COVID-19 may still be eligible for a PGWP

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) updated its online guidelines regarding the impact of COVID-19 on international students. An important development is that students who have been forced to switch from in-person courses to online learning may still be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after they graduate from their studies from an eligible Canadian institution. The directive includes students who have an approved study permit for a program starting in May or June, but due to travel restrictions, are unable to travel to Canada at this time. The wording of IRCC's guideline is as follows: If your in-class courses are being moved to an online-only format because

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