March 30, 2020
As the New Post COVID-19 Business World Begins to Emerge, Expect a Rush of Canadian-Immigration-Related Activity
It is incredible in so many ways that it has not even been three weeks since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The days indeed seem long, but the weeks feel as though they have barely touched the calendar. Yet after the world took a collective deep breath, the post-COVID-19 business world is beginning to emerge – remote offices, virtual meetings, and soon e-learning for many students, I am sure, to list but a few examples. The resilience has been remarkable, and so the world forges on under incredible circumstances.
In the world of Canadian immigration (I use immigration as an umbrella term), we continue to see some delays, such as courts and tribunals not fully functioning yet, as well as both the parental sponsorship program and access to information and privacy records placed on hold. At the same time, clarity is still being sought as to all the persons exempted from the respective Orders in Council travel restrictions. Soon enough though, we will see the benefits of many agencies (i.e. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC)) as well the Federal Courts and the Immigration and Refugee Board increasing their move to modernization as done over the past few years.
To continue the facilitation of essential workers and immigrants generally and to avoid potential crippling backlogs in both processing Canadian immigration applications and litigating applications in the Canadian courts and tribunals, work, albeit in a different way, must resume as fully as possible. A year from now, a world where Skype or other video interviews, teleconferences, tele or virtual hearings and commissioning of affidavits are not pervasive may seem like a distant memory.
These means of delivering services will require careful balancing to preserve the integrity of our systems. The potential for fraud will be high. Some measures will likely meet exigent needs and serve only as temporary changes. In contrast, others may persist as we adapt, advance, and perhaps find the changes preferable to the predecessor models.
At Bellissimo Law Group PC, we are continuing to work on as many applications and appeals as possible before the inevitable rush. We are receiving many questions about the current circumstances but also many questions about processing after the pandemic.
One thing is sure, in my view, the pressure to respond to likely short timelines when many areas of the world of Canadian immigration fully resume its critical work will be challenging. So, the more that will be completed and ready to go now is in both our client’s and staff’s best interests. Thankfully we can discharge this work while not exposing staff and clients to increased risk of COVID-19. We are making use and embracing as much as we are reasonably able of the post-COVID-19 working paradigm where technology looms very large.
As always, until then, to all our clients and followers, we wish you strength during this challenging time and encourage you to reach out to us with any immigration matters you are managing.
Thank you for reading.