Covid-19 Immigration to Canada: How we are dealing with families

By Katya Karvelis

Immigration Paralegal

It should come as no surprise that immigration to Canada have become more difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Canadian government amended requirements for certain travelers coming to Canada to reunite with their families.

Before, one applied for a work permit via an authorized representative who asked for a temporary resident visa (TRV). This person applied for a work permit through a consulate or embassy and applied for the accompanying spouse and children’s appropriate visa and status documents.

Once the application was approved, the TRV national received a visa and a Letter of Introduction (LOI), which they and their family needed, along with their supporting documents, so they could hop on a plane and travel to Canada.

Things have changed to make borders safer and healthier due to the Covid-19 crisis. But don’t worry, we here at All Points have adapted the process of immigration to Canada throughout the pandemic. We will explain step by step how we can assist families through the new process of immigration to Canada.

What is the new Family Reunification process?

Now that border applications are not allowed anymore (except on entry from the US), an authorized representative or a TRV national can apply only for their work permit and visa.

The temporary resident’s family has to apply for letters of authorization, also known as Family Reunification Letters (FRLs), regardless of whether the family is travelling to Canada together or if the foreign worker is coming first.

Foreign Relocation Letters are a requirement for all accompanying children, especially minor children under the age of 6 who get approved as visitors. They cannot travel until this letter is issued to each of them, even if their parents already hold LOIs.

What is All Points’ Process?

As mentioned, All Points has adapted many of its employee relocation service processes and that includes that of immigration to Canada. The application for a FRL is typically made to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) after the applications for TRVs and status documents have been approved. It takes the IRCC an average of 3-4 weeks to decide the application for FRLs and to communicate the decision to the applicants’ authorized representative.

However, since January 2021, the officers are instructed to consider issuing FRLs at the time of visa approval, but there is no requirement that they do it.  Because of the change in instructions which helps streamline the process by removing the need for a subsequent application for the FRL, we anticipate that more officers will begin issuing FRLs to minor children at the time of approving the application.   

What else?

After the IRCC receives the FRLs, you need to complete a few new steps that All Points has highlighted elsewhere. Check out the other posts on our blog to know more!

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