Many people around the world immigrate to Canada through Express Entry Program every year. Some of them are students, entrepreneurs, skilled professionals, and more. However, separated family members and approved permanent residents are unable to travel to Canada. Others are also speaking up in the House of Commons as observers in a study on Canadian Immigration.
Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration of Canada is conducting a study that will observe the COVID-19’s impact on the Canadian immigration system over the course of eight sessions. The committee will report its findings to the House once the study will complete. After that, the government will have 120 days to table a thorough response. However, they won’t be able to make any policy changes.
Issues to Highlight in the Study
Specifically, this study will look into the following issues regarding the impact of coronavirus on Canadian immigration:
- Application backlogs and processing times for the various streams of family reunion and the obstacles that are stopping the timely reunion of families. Denials of Temporary Resident Visas (TRV) due to section 179(b) of the Immigration and Refugees Protection Regulations. However, the ongoing closures of Visa Application Centers also need consideration.
- Observe the government’s decision to restore a lottery system for the reunification of grandparents and parents. Connection with the previous repetitions of application procedures for this stream of family reunion. It will include a review of processing time and the criteria requirement to get successful sponsorship.
- Processing delays in TRV for international students in securing TRVs, specifically in francophone Africa. Authorization to travel to Canada by individuals having an expired confirmation of permanent residency, use of expired medical, security, and the background checks for permanent immigration.
However, the House is still in session, and the committee is meeting on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. The meetings will take place on November 16 and 18. Marco Mendicino, immigration minister, will also appear before the committee on November 25 and December 2.
How Travel Restrictions are affecting the Mental Health of Immigrants
Among other early findings, the mental health of Canadian family members and immigrants observed in two different family separation scenarios.
However, Faces of Advocacy is a popular organization established to reunite families amid COVID-19 travel restrictions. They say that they are directly responsible for the exception of extended family members, it was announced on October 2.
The group indexed the mental health of around 1200 members by the end of August. They were using mental health rating scales for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress in people. However, the results are not diagnostic but give a glimpse into the mental health effects caused due to travel restrictions.
Although 49% of responders reporting that they have never been diagnosed with mental illness. Just over 69% would screen positive for symptoms of clinical depression. Additionally, 16% of respondents had a history of self-harm or suicidal thoughts before the travel restrictions. However, after family separation, the number has nearly doubled to 30%.
Spousal Sponsorship Advocates established during the pandemic. However, another grassroots movement was created to advocate the accelerated reunification of families with ongoing spousal sponsorship applications in Canada.
The survey took a mental health snapshot of around 548 respondents separated from family for months or even years at a time. Among these, a reported:
- 18% having suicidal thoughts;
- 70% having anxiety and 44% generalized anxiety;
- 22% had to stop working;
- 35% had started having panic attacks;
- 76% having severe energy loss;
- 78% having periods of severe depression;
- 57% physical pain;
- 85% having sleep problems;
- 52% have gained or abnormally lose weight.
However, the mental state of expired confirmation of permanent residence holders was also mentioned. These are the people who received approval for permanent residence through the Express Entry Program or any other visa program. However, they were not able to travel to Canada before the expiry of documents. As a result, many of them were unable to travel to Canada without any authorization letter from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. These are the people who have already upset their lives in their home country. The evidence includes a series of various tweets to show the agony, pain, and mental torture experienced by COPR holders. Coronavirus has widely affected the economy of world and Canadian express entry program.
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