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COVID-19: New Measures Implemented by the IRB & IRCC

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have implemented measures to respond to the rapidly evolving situation.

Some of the steps taken by both organizations are listed below and remain valid as of 27 March 2020.


  • All in-person hearings – including refugee claims, refugee appeals, cessation and vacation hearings, immigration appeals and alternate dispute resolution conferences – are postponed effective 17 March 2020 through 5 April 2020
  • The Immigration Division will continue to hold detention reviews with temporary procedural accommodations, including:
  • minimizing the transportation of detained individuals to IRB premises
  • establishing a means by which other hearing participants, for example counsel, hearings officers and bondspersons, can take part in hearings by telephone or videoconferencing should they wish to do so
  • and continuing to implement active health screening procedures at each hearing site
  • All COVID-19 related motions and applications will be considered with flexibility


  • Inland refugee claim applications are still accepted, but claimant appointments (such as eligibility interviews) are cancelled and will rescheduled at a later date
  • Citizenship ceremonies, tests and retests, as well as all in-person permanent resident landing appointments are cancelled; clients will be contacted directly to reschedule their appointment
  • Irregular migrants who attempt to cross anywhere at the Canada–US border, including those who attempt to make an asylum claim at a land point of entry (POE), will be returned to the US
  • Applications (such visas, permits and permanent residence) will be accepted and processed but processing times may change
  • Travel restrictions are in place, but exemptions exist for: (1) temporary foreign workers; (2) international students with a valid study permit or who were approved for a study permit before 18 March 2020; (3) and foreign nationals who were approved for permanent residence before 18 March 2020, but who hadn’t yet travelled to Canada

For a complete and current list of these implemented temporary measures, you are advised to regularly consult each organization’s website by clicking here for IRB or here for IRCC.


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