Marco Mendicino, The Immigration Minster of Canada shared multiple updates on how coronavirus will affect Canada's immigration program in the immediate future. In a 60-minute conversation with the Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association, the immigration minister discussed issues including immigration levels, temporary foreign employees, and international students.
Canada will remain open to Immigrants after COVID-19. Mendicino told immigration would be key to their and success and economic recovery and continue to rely on it as it is an economic driver and pointed that it would be the north star of the policy going forward.
Mendicino noted that COVID-19 would not alter long-term demographic patterns in Canada. The worker-to-retirement ratio for Canada is decreasing, meaning the nation will continue to need immigrants to fuel economic growth.
He also noted that this is not the first time Canada has faced a pandemic and economic threat, but despite these challenges, Canada has continued to expand thanks in part to the immigrant welcome.
The minister said the federal government would consult with stakeholders about the future of Canada's intake rates ahead of its announcement this fall of its annual immigration level program.
The staff of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) work remotely which affects the ability of the department to process immigration requests. Nevertheless, IRCC has remote operations set up to allow its workers to access the resources they need to make processing easier. In some respects, this time helped IRCC to innovate and enhance its processing. For example, under its Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), IRCC has been able to speed up the processing of seasonal agricultural workers.
The minister indicated that IRCC is extremely grateful to various stakeholders who have given input on how the federal government, in response to the pandemic should change its international student policies. He noted the recent reform of the IRCC, Post-Graduation Work Permit which allows international students taking online courses to remain eligible for the PGWP.
IRCC continues to work with post-secondary stakeholders on how to support international students enrolling in designated Canadian learning institutions during the September intake period, usually when most international students start their programs in Canada.