On January 27, 2017, the President of the United States of America signed an Executive Order prohibiting foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the United States of America for a period of at least 90 days. Subsequently, on January 31, 2017, the Honourable Ahmed Hussein, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), announced a temporary public policy to assist foreign nationals who are adversely affected by the Executive Order in applying for, or extending their, Canadian temporary resident status. This temporary public policy is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. EST on April 30, 2017.
Foreign nationals from the aforementioned counties who are currently in Canada with valid temporary resident status (visitor, student, worker) and who hold valid temporary resident status in the United States of America may not be able to return to the United States of America during the prescribed period as a result of the Executive Order. Further, those who were transiting through Canada on their way to the United States of America may not be able to enter the United States of America during the prescribed period as a result of the Executive Order. Therefore, IRCC has implemented special measures to assist foreign nationals who are essentially stranded in Canada as a result of the Executive Order.
Citizens of the aforementioned countries require a Canadian temporary resident visa (TRV), or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) if they are a permanent resident of the United States of America, to enter Canada. If a foreign national made arrangements to travel to the United States of America but is unable to do so as a result of the Executive Order, he / she may be able to apply for a Canadian temporary resident permit at a Canadian port-of-entry (e.g. international airport) to enter Canada if they do not have a Canadian TRV or eTA without having to pay the applicable processing fee.
If a foreign national is currently in Canada as a temporary resident and he / she made arrangements to travel to the United States of America but is unable to do so as a result of the Executive Order, he / she may be able to apply for restoration and / or an extension of their Canadian temporary resident status without having to pay the restoration fee (if required) and applicable processing fee(s) and they may be able to apply for work authorization if they do not have sufficient means to support themselves during their temporary stay in Canada.
In order to be eligible for Canadian temporary resident status based on these public policy considerations, the foreign national must hold a visa or other document that is normally required to enter the United States of America and they must not be inadmissible to Canada other than for a failure to obtain a TRV or eTA.
IRCC will consider all applications subject to these public policy considerations on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, all foreign nationals who are seeking to rely upon the public policy considerations should include a detailed explanation as to how they are affected by the Executive Order as part of their application and mark their application as “Urgent: Facilitation” for expedited processing.
For information about this temporary public policy, please contact PwC Law LLP.