COVID-19 Slow Visa Processing And Leaving Many Families Separated

Covid-19 visa process

With the outbreak of Covid-19, thousands of people around the world are frustrated by the amount of time it is taking for families to reunite. The pandemic has forced shut visa offices to close visa application processing making people wait indefinitely.

Foreign nationals living in other countries who have been separated from their spouses and children are in interim wait of getting reunited. Earlier, there was a period of 12 months for eligible candidates in Canada to sponsor their spouse, children and other immediate family members and get them PR visas. In the current scenario there cannot be a definite answer of till when this delay shall prolong.

Though the spouses of foreign nationals of Canada are exempted from travel restrictions, it still has become tough from them to reunite. This is because crucial visa application services like biometric centers are working on a reduced capacity for the time being.

Temporary resident visas are getting denied currently for spousal sponsorship. This is primarily because the TRVs demonstrate that the spouse would leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay in the country and if the PR visa is not finalized before that. Coronavirus has had this issue highlighted under the spousal and common-law sponsorship program.

However, Canada is still accepting applications for spousal and common-law sponsorship, statistics show that most applicants have received no communications on their applications since February 2021.

Recently, a petition was led by Member of Parliament Jenny Kwan (a critic of Canada’s immigration department) for approval of special Temporary Resident Visa to let spouse and children of Canadian foreign nationals. This came of disagreements and protests sparked in few cities like Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. Kwan has been pushing TRV since 2017 and to make it available to spouses who have been approved in principle.

The following key points should be noted in regard to delayed visa processing:

  • The Canadian government is unable to process applications with the normal capacity or provide exact estimated time.
  • Currently the Immigration, Refugees and citizenship Canada (IRCC) is prioritizing applications from permanent residents Canadians returning back to the country, other vulnerable groups and those providing essential services workers.
  • Immigration officials claim applications in progress shall not be closed if the applicant is not able to submit missing documents because of the pandemic.
  • Foreign individual applicants living outside of Canada who have already received Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) but have not yet landed in Canada are not eligible to land unless they are exempted from current travel restrictions, coming to Canada to settle permanently after quarantining for 14 days after arrival.
  • All in-person permanent resident landing appointments in Canada are cancelled for now because of COVID-19. IRCC will provide updated necessary instructions to affected individuals.
  • If the COPR or the PR visa expire before the individual is able to travel to Canada, the individual should notify IRCC of their date to move to Canada permanently using the Web Form.

Though to Canada is currently restricted, only travelers who provide essential services or who have other valid exemptions will be granted entry in the country. Amidst all this the Canadian government still continues to accept and process permanent residence applications though delays are to be expected.

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