Adjoined by the border but divided in “Immigration Decision”. This is the story of the United States and Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While one nation has established its stand for immigration by continuing to invite skilled workers inspite of the current situation, the other nation is steadily seeking ways to reduce immigration and number of immigrants residing in the country.
The Trump administration has taken a consistently hard stance on immigration from the beginning of the Trump Era and sought to put the Americans first. This time about, in response to the pandemic, the administration has already largely cut off immigration to the United States. Layoffs in the US, due to the pandemic affecting businesses could cause trouble to H1-B visa holders, who run the risk of losing their status. Millions of Americans have been laid off since the start of the pandemic. However workers on visas are a more vulnerable group. H-1B workers who are fired have 60-days to find a new job, shift to a different visa type or return home. As per the latest information available, about 200,000 H1-B holders will loose status by end of June 2020 and may have to return to their respective Countries. The visa crisis, will pose a major problem for workers who are already staggering due to the pandemic. In addition to this, on April 20, President Trump tweeted that he planned a temporary ban on all immigration to protect American jobs; the very next day he announced an executive order blocking most people coming from outside the U.S. from receiving green cards for 60 days.
In contrast, Canada has aggressively issued invitations to apply for permanent residence reinforcing its immigrant friendly stand. Starting 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world economy, the Government of Canada announced that it was targeting to admit 341,000 immigrants in 2020. Express Entry draws were held and ITA’s were issued as usual from the start of the year. Come March, although corona virus changed the landscape of immigration in Canada, invitations have been consistently issued. The virus could not deter immigration in Canada and the 22,600 ITA’s issued in the first quarter of 2020 stand testimony to the fact.This is most for a first quarter since 2017. Since March 18, 2020, seven Express Entry draws were held and also provincial nominees and Canadian Experience Class immigration program candidates were issued ITA’s. Though strict travel restrictions are in place, the provinces continue to hold PNP draws. British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan held draws towards the end of the first quarter. In fact, Canada’s various PNP streams have held more than 30 draws since the start of 2020.
To conclude, Canada inviting Immigrants at a point of time when the entire world is looking at saving their economy and protecting their citizens is a clear indication that Canada needs “Immigrants” to give a “Thrust” to their “Economy”. Canada also has done their bit to their Citizens, Permanent Residents and Economy but then, they have also shown their inclination to “Invite” more “Immigrants”. This is probably their way of ensuring their Economy remains robust inspite of the current upheaval faced by all the Countries in the World.
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