The year 2021 started on the right foot!
As an immigration consultant, I have a hectic life. Being a middleman is not easy. Of course, on the one hand, you need to offer an amazing service to your client. However, on the other hand, your client’s destiny depends on the immigration officer’s decision. Interestingly enough, if something goes wrong, most people tend to blame their consultants. That’ where the nerve-wracking element of this job comes from: being blamed for the decisions of another entity! Will that change in the year 2021?
Don’t get me wrong. This is not always the case. I have enjoyed thousands of amazing clients regardless of the outcome of their applications. Of course, I also have done my best to serve them in the best way possible. Luckily, a fantastic professional team is helping me to make this happen.
The year 2020 was the worst year ever!
We started 2020 with some devastating external news. While the downing of Flight 752 had nothing to do with the immigration, it shattered the lives of many Canadians and their loved ones. Of course, I didn’t expect the issue to affect my profession. Regardless, it immensely affected me emotionally. However, what came next certainly affected us. The government imposed travel restrictions and closed the borders in March 2020 because of COVID-19. The whole fiasco of the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the immigration process. We faced immense delays even in the most simple applications, such as an extension request. Many of my clients are still dealing with those delays as I’m writing this blog post.
Some other issues we faced in 2020,
- The Federal Court stopped conducting Judicial Review cases.
- The Immigration Refugee Board stopped hearings for a few months.
- IRCC closed their inland offices to refugee claimants.
- Many inland offices stopped processing applications.
- Flagpoling was not an option for work permit renewals.
- Service Canada stopped running biometrics tests but then later resumed it.
- The Central Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia, did not issue file numbers.
- Many Visa Application Centres and outside Canada Visa Offices remained closed or half operational.
- Express Entry system invited Canadian Experience Class applicants only for a while. Of course, they later switched back to normal.
- IRCC stopped running citizenship tests and citizenship oaths for most of the year.
Of course, this list does not explain all the issues people faced with the Canadian immigration system in 2020. Also, some of those issues are now a matter of the past. I couldn’t wait to see 2020 was over, and the year 2021 was on the horizon.
The year 2021 started on the right foot!
I woke up on January 1, 2021, and a message was waiting for me on our portal with IRCC. Isn’t Jan 1st a statutory holiday? Why on earth does IRCC decide immigration applications on this day? Anyway, I had no choice but to open the message. Luckily, it was an approval for a visa extension request. Therefore, I contacted the client and congratulated them. Of course, both for the new year and the approval!
Luckily, the streak of wins continued. I received another approval on the first working day of 2021. This one was for a work permit application. While I won’t superficially decipher this as an indication of a successful year, it is great to begin your year with a streak of wins. Of course, now that IRCC is open for business, I expect multiple messages from them daily. I keep my fingers crossed that all of them are positive.
What could we expect in the year 2021
Of course, no one can predict the future, but considering all the changes IRCC has gone through, I expect the following developments in 2021:
- IRCC will invite thousands of Express Entry applicants to apply. Therefore, the Express Entry CRS score will drop.
- Spousal sponsorship applicants will see some positive movements in their applications.
- Canada will speed up the processing of temporary cases. Consequently, we should see faster processing of work permits, study permits, TRV and TRP applications.
- IRB will continue processing applications online.
- IRCC and CBSA will gradually open the borders to foreign travellers.
- Many of the in-person interviews and hearings will move to an online platform.
Needless to say, if we have another major issue, none of these could happen. Also, this list is neither inclusive nor exclusive. Regardless, I hope the year 2021 be a great year for Canadian immigration.
Disclaimer: Al’s blog reflects my personal experience and opinion about immigration to Canada. Please do not consider these topics as immigration advice. I cannot be held responsible for the contents of my blog posts.
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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
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