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Immigration Update

Border Closures Extended for Another Month

The pandemic travel restrictions in place at the Canada-U.S. land border were extended for another month. Prime Minister Trudeau confirmed that the current border restrictions will now remain in effect until February 21st, 2021. He said this “important decision” was taken to keep citizens on both sides of the border safe as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Canada and the United States.

Our focus since the start of this pandemic has been protecting you and your family. Whether by procuring vaccines or by bringing in strict travel and border measures, our priority is your safety,” Trudeau said.

We anticipate that border closure extensions will occur until at least April 2021 and that thereafter, we will see new rules for entry to Canada depending on science and the effectiveness of vaccinations on the new strains of COVID-19.

Permanent Residence to Canada — News on Express Entry

On January 20th and January 21st, 2021, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued two new rounds of invitations to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system.

The first draw invited candidates who qualify for selection under the Provincial Nominee Class. To apply under the Provincial Nominee Class, candidates must have received a nomination certificate from a Canadian province or territory. The minimum score selected was 741, and 374 candidates were invited to apply.

The second draw invited candidates who qualify for selection under the Canadian Experience Class. The minimum score selected was 454, a decrease of 7 points from the January 7th, 2021 Canadian Experience Class Draw. 4626 candidates were invited to apply in this draw. To be eligible for selection under the Canadian Experience Class, candidates must have at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada within the three years prior to submitting their application.

This is the second consecutive round of invitations we have seen targeting only candidates under the Provincial Nominee Class and Canadian Experience Class, excluding candidates under the Federal Skilled Worker Class. Should IRCC continue to exclude candidates under the Federal Skilled Worker Class from Express Entry draws, we expect that the minimum scores selected for Canadian Experience Class candidates will continue to decrease. Conversely, minimum scores selected for Federal Skilled Worker candidates are likely to increase given that draws under this category are occurring less frequently.

Post-Graduate Workers May be Eligible for a PGWP Extension

Former international students in Canada affected by the pandemic (with an expired or expiring PGWP) will have a unique chance to apply for another open work permit. These will be valid for 18 months and allow former international students to remain in Canada and continue to seek employment in order to meet permanent residence eligibility requirements. PGWP students should contact our office to determine whether they may qualify under this new policy. Basic criteria for PGWP extensions include the requirement to have had a PGWP that expired on or after January 30th, 2020, or a PGWP that expires in 4 months or less from the date they apply. The applicants should still be in Canada and have a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore their status. The application period is from January 27th to July 27th, 2021.