2020-03-23 – Canada’s provincial nominee programs (PNPs) are reacting in different ways to the coronavirus crisis.
Some are delaying draws, while others continue to issue invitations to apply, despite the border restrictions being put in place by the federal government.
Canada is in a period of outright instability concerning how coronavirus will impact immigration in the coming months.
One thing for certain is that once this difficult period is over, Canada will return to the immigration policy that is to see it welcome more than 350,000 newcomers per year by 2022.
Below are the responses of the 10 PNPs concerning coronavirus.
British Columbia has announced a number of measures being taken by the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program in response to the coronavirus crisis.
The provincial has closed its Vancouver office to all in-person inquiries and cancelled all in-person interviews, to be rescheduled at a later date.
In a notice posted on the BC PNP website, the province also any delays with document submission, application submission and other responses should be highlighted to staff via email and would be taken into consideration during application processing.
“The health and safety of BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) staff, clients, and the community in which we operate is our top priority,” the notice said.
“As we face this difficult challenge, we are taking steps to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on the BC PNP, while doing our best to give timely and accurate information about our operations.”
The province says it will continue weekly draws for the BC PNP Tech Pilot. It said that while other draws would also continue, they may be less often.
All inquiries via email and phone will be responded to within five business days.
Post-nomination support will also continue, including requests for work permit support letters and changes of employment.
The key change is that “in-person interviews for Entrepreneur Immigration have been cancelled and will be rescheduled when possible.” However, Entrepreneur Stream final reports can still be submitted online.
“Our hearts go out to those who have been affected during these unprecedented times,” the BC notice said.
“We appreciate the people working in healthcare, local communities, and governments around the world who are on the frontlines working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The province of Alberta has declared a public health emergency over COVID-19.
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program is yet to issued specific guidance on its coronavirus response.
The province of Saskatchewan has declared a state of emergency over COVID-19.
The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program has postponed Entrepreneur Expression of Interest draws until further notice.
It has not issued guidance concerning EOI draws for its Saskatchewan Express Entry and Occupations In-Demand streams.
The province of Manitoba has not yet declared a state of emergency over COVID-19, although the provincial response to the virus is well underway.
There has been no specific response from the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program.
The province of Ontario has declared a state of emergency over COVID-19.
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program post a response on its website saying it is continuing to process applications and issue nominations.
However, it said processing times may increase given applicants may experience delays obtaining information from third-party organizations.
The province of Quebec has declared a state of emergency over COVID-19.
The Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI) say it is closely monitoring the development of the coronavirus situation and will provide continuous updates.
It has suspended all full-time and part-time French courses currently offered in educational institutions and through community organizations.
Allowances as part of the Financial Assistance Program for the Francization of Immigrants (PAFILI) will continue to be paid until the end of the course suspension for full-time students and until the end of the current session for part-time students.
The reception of the Direction of the Registrar of Francization located on the second floor of 1200, Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal is closed until further notice.
Those who had appointments will be contacted. Documents can be sent by mail or dropped in the document deposit box located on the ground floor of 1200, Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal.
Information and integration sessions for newcomers are also suspended until further notice. All Journées Quebec recruitment missions are also suspended.
The province of New Brunswick has declared a state of emergency over COVID-19.
The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program says it is continuing to accept and process applications for its economic immigration streams.
A statement said that there may be delays in the processing of files due to coronavirus.
New Brunswick has announced it is restricting inter-provincial migration to help the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
Provincial ‘peace officers’ are authorized to turn away visitors trying to enter the province from Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. All unnecessary travel into New Brunswick is prohibited in a move aimed to half the spread of COVID-19.
All travellers entering the province from the three neighbouring will, like international travellers, be required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.
Inter-provincial travellers will be stopped and required to produce identification. Their contact information and intended destination will be collected, even if they are only passing through the province.
The province says commercial traffic and essential workers will be exempt from the restrictions, “so that services are maintained and critical supplies can continue to move across provincial boundaries unimpeded.”
Exemptions also include police officers, firefighters, paramedics and members of the military.
The province of Nova Scotia has not yet declared a state of emergency over COVID-19, although the provincial response to the virus is well underway.
The Nova Scotia Nominee Program has not issued a specific coronavirus-related response.
Prince Edward Island
The province of Prince Edward Island has not yet declared a state of emergency over COVID-19, although the provincial response to the virus is well underway.
The Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program postponed its Expression of Interest draw scheduled for Thursday, March 19.
The PEI Office of Immigration says it is currently providing essential services only.
Candidates who have been invited to apply are advised to call 902-620-3628 to schedule a time to deliver their file.
For general inquiries, call 902-620-3628 or email [email protected].
Newfoundland & Labrador
The Newfoundland & Labrador Office of Immigration says it will continue essential services for newcomers and employers during the coronavirus crisis.
Application screening and processing will continue at reduce volume, a statement said.
The Newfoundland & Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP) continues to accept applications online, but paper applications are no longer being accepted.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot
The same applies to applications for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) in the province.
“Employees who are in the process of providing documentation to employers as part of an AIP application should do so electronically,” the statement said.
Employers should scan and send AIP applications by email.
The statement says designated employers under the AIP will remain designated until further notice and Job Vacancy Assessment (JVA) applications will continue to be processed.
Candidates Outside Canada, Permanent Residence Applications
For candidates currently outside Canada, Newfoundland says application will continue to be processed, “but you will probably not be able to arrive in Canada in the near future,” due to federal government restrictions. However, the federal government has announced a number of exemptions to the ban on people entering Canada.
Candidates who have submitted permanent residence applications should “wait until there is communication on alternative ways to land in Canada,” the statement said. Biometrics submission for applicants is currently suspended until April 13.
Contact and Information Sessions
The Office of Immigration has an email service for candidates directly impacted by coronavirus-related issues.
Information sessions with international students and graduates, plus public and employers are currently suspended. Webinars continue to be available, the statement said.
This page will be updated as and when provincial responses related to immigration are published.