Canadian MP Calls For Action To Support Immigrants In Limbo

“No Justification” For Making Immigrants Wait, Says Bloc MP

A Canadian Member of Parliament wrote that there is “no justification” for a technicality stopping legally-accepted immigrants from entering Canada.

Specifically, Canada is denying entry to immigrants whose applications for permanent residence in Canada have been accepted. Thousands of immigrants have faced this issue because of temporary travel restrictions put in place when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Christine Normandin, who represents the Saint-Jean electoral district as MP from the Bloc Québécois  party, wrote a letter calling for the federal government to take action.

In the letter, addressed to Immigration Minister Marco Mendocino, Normandin wrote that “there does not appear to be a health justification” for the decision, and that “[the] situation sends the wrong message to immigrants.”

These immigrants have already received their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). This means that they have completed the permanent residence process, which includes passing medical exams, federal security checks, and safety checks.

Normally, a COPR would allow immigrants to enter Canada. Those who received their COPR after March 18, 2020, cannot enter, however, due to travel restrictions put in place following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them are therefore stuck  in the country they would otherwise have been able to leave.

In the letter, Normandin writes:

“Many fear the expiration of their COPRs and the need to start the process all over again, with the costs of medical examinations and criminal background checks that this entails, which can be costly, especially for a family.”

When the pandemic began, Canada initially closed its borders with intentions to reopen them on June 30, 2020. This date has been indefinitely extended, and there has been no clear statement pointing to when immigrants with COPRs will be let in.

Normandin wrote that the decision not to let these immigrants enter Canada will create long-term problems for the immigration system and for the officers themselves.

“Unless the restrictions for COPR holders begin to be lifted soon, we understand that with the existing admission thresholds, it will be difficult to make up for the lost time when the borders finally open, resulting in delays in the admission of files that are still pending,” she wrote. “We are also concerned that this will place an additional burden on immigration officers if, while waiting for the restrictions to be lifted, applicants are required to undergo repeat medical examinations and criminal background checks, which officers will then have to reassess.”