The Covid pandemic has put the entire world into disarray. Everything from travel to education has been disrupted as people are still self-isolating almost a year into pandemic induced lockdowns. But this isolation period has not been easy for many. From students to business people, everyone has faced travel restrictions, regardless of the country they were travelling to.
These travel restrictions have also negatively impacted various immigration paperwork. Such issues coupled with embassies closing due to quarantine orders have resulted in rejected visas and application forms. While this situation has negatively affected all countries, Canada is determined to learn from this issue and improve its immigration process. As such, they have decided to bring their entire immigration process online.
Canada Is Bringing Their Immigration Process Online
Canada is shifting its immigration process online to streamline the application processes and make it accessible to all. Marco Mendicino, the immigration minister, has said that Canada wants more immigrants, so the online move has attracted more people. In an interview with TVO, Mendicino commented that his vision for the Canadian immigration system was touchless and virtual. He further stated that he wanted to integrate all the steps so that “we become the envy of the world.”
In the interview, he also says that:
“In a world that is increasingly going virtual, we are leading the way, especially when it comes to our immigration system. We are the only ones that have moved our citizenship ceremony online, to my knowledge, and now we are also moving into the digital space when it comes to testing applicants.”
Since the event took place during the pandemic, Canada has already begun this virtual shift by holding its first virtual, simultaneous citizenship ceremony during Canada Day in 2020. That ceremony was dedicated to the healthcare workers.
Express Entry Paving the Way
For the unfamiliar, the Express Entry apparatus is an online process that helps the Canadian immigration office manage the application from skilled workers applying for permanent residence. It is easy to use and involves a total of just four processes. The first step is to determine if you are eligible. For this, you need to answer some questions that will tell if you pass the minimum criteria.
The next step is to arrange all your documents before submitting your complete profile. This Express Entry full profile will give the officials all the needed information about you and your background. If you qualify, you will be awarded a score that will determine how fast you will get the invitation to apply for a permanent residence in the country. Basically, the higher the score, the better your chances.
This Express Entry method has undoubtedly made the process much more comfortable. However, apart from this, the Canadian immigration minister also lauded the other online services that have assisted newcomers after their entry by helping them get the various services, skills, and support needed.
Online Move Can Cut Application Fees
Currently, Canada charges a $630 citizenship fee. This includes the $530 processing price and another extra $100 for the right-to-citizenship fee. If the immigration system does come online, it’s expected that applicants won’t have to bear this enormous cost.
However, the Liberal Party of Canada had pledged to get rid of these during the previous federal election itself. But this hasn’t yet come to pass. Finally, there is no reason to lose hope just yet since Mendicino has hinted at more possible announcements. He has said that there are more ways they are planning to reduce immigration barriers.
Canada Looking At International Students as New Permanent Residents
Ottawa is looking at international students to figure out ways and methods to make them stay in the country after completing their studies.
Mendicino has stated that the international students in Canada are some of the brightest minds in the nation. He further noted that this is an excellent opportunity to look at the temporary workers already working in the trades or healthcare sector. He believes that since they have chosen Canada for their higher education, they must plan to stay in the country once their education ends.
There is a reason behind Canada specifically targeting international students. After all, during standard years, these students provide around $21 billion boosts to the economy. But this year, many such students had to study from their home countries. However, Mendicino says that the government is already planning on bringing those students back.
He has also implied that international students contributing to the economy will be awarded permanent jobs. In the interview, he said that:
“We have created a two-stage process that allows international students to begin their courses abroad online. For those who are already here, already giving back, who are stepping up on the front lines of hospitals and long-term care homes where we desperately need those reinforcements, we have created permanent work.”
Why Is Canada So Desperate To Bring Immigrants?
While immigration rates were affected due to Covid and the following travel restrictions, the Canadian government is setting higher bars than before. They are planning on bringing more immigrants within the next three years. The federal government wants to welcome 1.2 million + new residents between 2021-2023.
Mendicino says that the new policy is rooted in the belief that immigration is how they will be able to grow. Instead of putting measures to derail immigration, they are opting to become a home to many more.
To bolster people’s confidence, the immigration minister has further said that:
“I am confident that we can hit the levels that we have set … I’m confident because we are innovating at quantum speed … We have created new policies that will allow people into the country but in a manner that is safe.”
It can be reasonably assumed that if the immigration process gets converted online, there will be many more immigration ministry applications. However, Mendicino has assured all citizens that the vetting process will be done carefully so that deserving and safe candidates are allowed passage.