Effect of COVID-19 on immigration policies

Covid-19 pandemic has affected each and every individual and organization at a different level, be it educational, health, food industries, travel or immigration. Quarantine and lockdowns have created hurdles for everyone living in a country but for immigrants they are especially unfortunate.

 Immigration policies and visa programs of many countries around the world have been revised dealing with the pandemic. Patrick Corcoran, an expert on International Organization for Migration in United Nations, said that travel restrictions, quarantine and closure of borders have affected immigration of 173 states. The acquisition of Cyprus passport and Turkish citizenship by investment is also more difficult.

Travel restrictions

In most of the countries, travel bans have been implicated to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Some countries like Colombia have imposed stern measures that stop the nationals and long-term residents from entering back in the country.

Migration and visa offices have been closed for the past 3 months and the previous applications are piling up. A few countries have facilitated people with online application option that provides updates.

Covid-19 and immigration

With the onset of this pandemic, migrants have been facing multiple problems. They have been unable to leave the country irrespective of the status of their immigration process and those who are overstaying their visa now are no longer competent to extend it in future.

U.S.

The immigration system of US has been severely affected by Covid-19. The immigration benefits have been nearly diminished as the entry to immigrants as well as asylum seekers have been entirely restricted. Thousands of noncitizens are put into immigration detention regardless of the risk of spread of coronavirus in those jails.  U.S. Department of State cancelled all immigration and non-immigration visa applications along with the regular visa appointments.

Europe

Some European countries like Portugal have arranged full health facilities and basic necessities of life for migrants. They have allowed the immigrants and asylum seekers with residence permit applications to have temporary residence until the pandemic is over. Czech Republic has allowed the unmarried Czech citizens to come back to country during this pandemic.

Canada

Canada is still accepting the permanent resident applications but they take a lot of time being processed due to the pandemic. Canadian government is making sure that the applications of immigrants and Canadians that have to return to Canada are given priority. Travel restrictions on refugees and asylum seekers continue to be imposed in order to follow the preventive measures for the spread of the virus.