The Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration of Canada held a session on June 17, 2020 to explore how the country's immigration system is adapting during the coronavirus crisis.
The immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, and the deputy minister, Catrina Tapley, answered the questions of Parliamentarians.
Mr. Mendicino is an elected politician serving within the cabinet of Canada's governing Liberal Party. He is responsible for carrying out the government's agenda at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) department.
Ms. Tapley is IRCC’s top public servant and works in a non-political position to oversee activities of the department.
Levels of immigration
Mendicino started the session by making an update of 5 minutes. He explained IRCC continues to be guided by its immigration level plan for 2020.
While this year's plan aims at the arrival of 341,000 new permanent residents, Tapley said it was doubtful that this target would be met by 2020. Nonetheless, she stressed that during this time IRCC is continuing to process applications and land people. In fact, she noted that IRCC completed 5,000 virtual PR landings for both individuals currently inside and outside Canada in June who had their applications approved prior to travel restrictions came into effect on March 18th.
In addition, Tapley noted that 300 virtual citizenship ceremonies also took place on the week of June 8.
Updates of program
Mendicino was asked about a number of immigration programs related to the economic, family, and refugee classes
Mendicino reported that nine of the 11 identified communities have launched their programs under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP).
When asked what the government wants to do to help caregivers who have fallen short of the 24-month job experience they need to be qualified for PR because they have recently been laid off, Mendicino said IRCC is exploring broader options.
IRCC has no more detail on the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) to share yet.
IRCC is working with Quebec to build PR options for asylum seekers who already work in nursing homes in Quebec. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mendicino said it was necessary to remember the efforts of those individuals who make sacrifices and risk their health to support seniors.
Many questions that were asked to the Ministers focused on how Canada would help international students arrive in the country in time for the fall 2020 semester.
Tapley indicated that some Visa Application Centers (VACs) have already reopened to allow students to provide their biometrics. She also said IRCC is exploring a range of ways to help students apply biometrics if they still have their local VAC closed.
Meanwhile, Tapley pointed to the IRCC amendment introduced in May that enables online learning to count towards the eligibility of post-graduation work permit (PGWP) of the students unable to come to Canada in 2020.