As if COVID-19 (Coronavirus) wasn’t doing enough damage, hundreds of visa applications and travel plans to Canada have been put to a halt.
Yet, thanks to the understanding and facilitation of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), programs have been put to place for newcomers in accordance to this emergency situation of COVID-19.
According to official website Government of Canada, IRCC has put special measures in place to help, if
- you’re a Chinese, Iranian or South Korean national; or
- you’re in China, Iran or South Korea; and
- you’re affected by service disruptions or travel restrictions related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Government site also states that disruptions include:
- visa application center closures
- service disruptions at Canadian visa offices
- travel plan disruptions
- limited access to local government offices and businesses
- limited access to a panel physician who can do the immigration medical exam
Additional time has been provided for those who are required to submit fingerprints and additional biometrics in this time of medical crisis. IRCC has been kind enough to monitor the situation and its impacts on operations and client relations. It has issued specific measures for applicants from Iran, South Korea, and China in case they are unable to complete the next steps for their visa process, whether it be a study permit, work permit, visitor’s visa, or a permanent residency.
Those who have applied for a visitor visa, a study permit, a work permit or permanent residence, but cannot complete the next steps in the process, such as giving their fingerprints and photo (biometrics), within the specified deadline, will be given more time to complete these tasks.
According to Canada Immigration Newsletter (CIC), Iranians travelling to Canada as a permanent resident can submit a web form to obtain their travel documents. The form asks if the application is processed outside of Canada and if the answer is yes, the visa processing office is presented, in which Ankara, Turkey needs to be selected. Doors have not been fully closed, as one can email the Ankara office for visa obtainment in special circumstances for the need to travel to Canada.
In exceptional circumstances where you need to travel to Canada urgently, email the Ankara, Turkey, visa office at ANKRA@international.gc.ca. The application will need to be submitted to the visa office by courier. If you need a visitor visa, study permit, or work permit to travel to Canada urgently you need to apply online at the government’s webpage. CIC News explains, “After you apply, fill out a web form and explain your situation and request urgent processing of your visa or permit application.”
What should be done?
Thus, what needs to be considered in this situation is that on the event of an emergency, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, force majeure must be taken to note in the scope of immigration. It is unfair to ask applicants to risk their health and safety merely for a visa obtainment and secondary means should definitely be stated or thought about in terms of law. Canada’s role in the expansion of special measures to the specified targeted nations demonstrates its good faith and compliance to human rights norms. Such behavior and ethics should be implemented throughout the immigration scope and context.