IRCC July Updates, Part 1

IRCC released a number of updates to PDIs in July: here is a summary and links to the some of the updates where not covered elsewhere, i.e.:

Travel Restrictions and visa/eTA processing

On July 1, 2020, IRCC released “COVID-19 – Temporary resident visas (TRVs) and electronic travel authorizations (eTAs)“, which stated there were updates to two PDIs: “Temporary resident visas (TRVs): COVID-19 program delivery” and “Electronic travel authorization (eTA): COVID-19 program delivery“.[1] The changes to those PDIs are, in short, that persons who are applying and meet the travel restriction exemptions should self-identify and include supporting documents.

Current Travel Restrictions and Exemptions

The current PDI on travel restrictions – “Travel restriction measures: COVID-19 program delivery” – was updated on July 23, 2020.[2] To the previous version (of June 23, 2020[3]) were added the following:

Exemptions from online processing for TRV extensions, study permits, and work permits

On July 6, 2020, IRCC issued an update[4] noting the creation of a new PDI covering “Programs exempt from the in-Canada mandatory electronic application (e-application) requirement for temporary residents“.

The PDI notes that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227 (IRPR) were amended in June 2019 by the addition of s. 9.2:

Application by electronic means
9.2 The following applications must be made by the electronic means made available or specified by the Minister for that purpose:

(a) an application for an extension of an authorization to remain in Canada as a temporary resident;

(b) an application that is made in Canada for a work or study permit or for renewal of such a permit;

(c) an application for the restoration of temporary resident status;

(d) an application that is made pursuant to a youth mobility arrangement entered into by Canada.

Sections 9.4 and 9.5 of the IRPR set out regulatory exceptions, i.e. where the person is applying from a place lacking the necessary technology or infrastructure (s. 9.4) or cannot use the online system for reasons of a disability (s. 9.5). The PDI adds to those two regulatory exceptions a number of others arising from the inadequacy of IRCC’s own online systems.[5]

Updated Study Permit & PGWP PDIs

On July 20, 2020, IRCC updated the SP PDI (“Program delivery update: COVID-19 – Study permits and travel to Canada“), and on July 28 issued a further update along with an update to the PDI for PGWPs (“Program delivery update: Two-stage assessment process for study permit applications, post-graduation work permit eligibility“).[6]

The current version of the PDI “Study permit: COVID-19 program delivery” (July 28, 2020) includes the following changes from the July 20 update:

– further instructions on non-optional and non-discretionary purposes of travel for students

– information on passports expiring within the next 6 months

– additional information on distance learning and study permit issuance

– new measures for students destined to Quebec whose program of study start date has been postponed from the summer semester to the fall semester information on student on-campus work authorization during COVID-19

– additional information on the fall cohort and their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit

– information on the public policy exempting students working in essential services and functions from the requirement not to exceed the allowable hours of work under paragraph 186(v) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations

The second update added:

New instructions are available to assist officers in the 2-stage assessment process for study permit applications. This new process will allow applicants to receive a notification from IRCC once they have passed the first stage of the eligibility assessment but before they give their biometrics. Applicants who have submitted their biometrics and have not completed their immigration medical examination or provided a police certificate will also benefit from this process.

New instructions are also available to assist officers with post-graduation work permit eligibility. This includes updates on post-graduation work permit requirements and distance learning outside of Canada and new information on programs of study 6 months or less in duration for students already in Canada.

[1] Both PDIs were actually last updated June 25, 2020, so the date of this “update” is not accurate, but the change described took effect as of July 1, 2020.

[2] Archived: July 23, 2020 version of “Travel restriction measures: COVID-19 program delivery”, as saved on July 26, 2020: See also Update: “Program delivery update: COVID-19 – Travel restriction measures processing instructions“.

[3] Archived: June 22, 2020 version of “Travel restriction measures: COVID-19 program delivery”, as saved on July 8, 2020:

[4]Program delivery update: Programs exempt from the in-Canada mandatory electronic application (e-application) requirement for temporary residents

[5] Exemptions as of July 23, 2020:

  • Work Permit Applications
    • LMIA Exempt:
      • Exemption Code A70: Open work permit pilot program for permanent residence applicants in the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class
      • Exemption Code A71: Live-in caregivers who have submitted an application for permanent residence
      • Exemption Code A75:
        • Start-up visa work permit applicants
        • Permanent residence applicants in Canada who used Express Entry to submit their permanent residence application and have received an acknowledgment of receipt letter
      • Exemption Code C10: Quebec physicians
      • Exemption Code C21: International Experience Canada (IEC) participants extending the period of participation or changing employers
      • Exemption Code C43: Post-graduation work permit (visitor record to post-graduation work permit and post-graduation work permit extensions)
      • Exemption Codes C90 (principal applicant) and C91 (family members): In-Canada applicants under the 2 pilots for caregivers: Home Child Care Provider Pilot (HCCPP) and Home Support Worker Pilot (HSWP)
      • Exemption Code H81: Destitute students
      • Exemption Code H82: Holders of a temporary resident permit valid for a minimum of 6 months
      • Exemption Code S61: Refugee claimants
      • Exemption Code S62:
        • Persons under an unenforceable removal order
        • Failed refugee claimants waiting for removal who need to support themselves
      • Exemption Code
      • Exemption Code
      • Exemption Code
      • Exemption Code
    • LMIA-required:
      • Seafood-processing workers
      • Non-Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) Guatemalan workers
    • LMIA may be required or exempt: Urgent referrals process for work permits or otherwise specified by the Clients Support Centre’s call handling document
  • Visitors: Visitors in Canada applying for an initial study permit, work permit or both who are accompanying a spouse holding a low-skilled work permit

[6] Here are the past versions of the PDI “Study permit: COVID-19 program delivery”:

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