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fry

Moving during the Covid-19 epidemic

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fry

I am interested to hear where everyone's thoughts are at with regards to moving from SA to Canada during the Covid-19 epidemic.

  • Are you still keeping with your travel plans, or have you changed them?
  • Have you managed to secure travel insurance in-case Canada follows the US and blocks all travel from Europe? If so who did you cover with?
  • When you land, without Canadian medical cover, what are you plans to stay healthy and safe?

I am definitely not trying to feed the hypochondria around Covid-19, but there are realities to deal with:

  • If we had to get sick on the way over and be isolated or quarantined who would "look after us" as we are "fresh off the boat" and don't yet have a support community.
  • Would Canada "care" about us as we are not yet covered by provincial health.

My family's flights are booked for the 7th of May from JHB to Kelowna (layovers in Amsterdam and Calgary), so I am actively watching the story as it plays out and as Canada, the Netherlands, RSA and KLM respond to the changing health landscape.

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Slippers

So I haven't thought about it too much as yet, so probably won't be able to answer most of your questions. But just adding my 2 cents. 

We are flying on the 10th of May via Dubai and then onto Toronto. We did pay for some insurance with our booking that was specific to Corona, but this was specific to the flight and before all the airlines started offering free date changes. 

I am planning on going provided the flight is still operating etc. Two months feels like a very long way away and things could either be completely out of control or a distant memory. 

 

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DC85

I am seriously worried about the exact same thing- except ours is just an activation trip booked for the end of May before our PR Visa expires at end June. I am so scared that there is a travel ban in either SA or Canada and we cant get in before our Visas expire and we lose our PR.

Just praying things have calmed down by then and all this stress would have all been for nothing, but goodness me the thought of having to restart this whole process honestly keeps me up at night :(

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PhilipCX
1 hour ago, DC85 said:

I am seriously worried about the exact same thing- except ours is just an activation trip booked for the end of May before our PR Visa expires at end June. I am so scared that there is a travel ban in either SA or Canada and we cant get in before our Visas expire and we lose our PR.

Just praying things have calmed down by then and all this stress would have all been for nothing, but goodness me the thought of having to restart this whole process honestly keeps me up at night :(

There is a document on CIC's website dealing with this exact issue. So don't stress, they will not let you lose your PR if your travel is restricted by the virus.

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DC85
21 hours ago, PhilipCX said:

There is a document on CIC's website dealing with this exact issue. So don't stress, they will not let you lose your PR if your travel is restricted by the virus.

This is a huge relief. thank you!

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Jules

For anyone moving over permanently and looking for a job, the timing isn’t great. Most economists are now calling for a recession this year. The pandemic is hurting the economy and the effects will be felt all year unfortunately. 
 

let’s all hope the virus gets under control very soon which will limit the economic impact. 

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Nelline
10 hours ago, Jules said:

For anyone moving over permanently and looking for a job, the timing isn’t great. Most economists are now calling for a recession this year. The pandemic is hurting the economy and the effects will be felt all year unfortunately. 
 

let’s all hope the virus gets under control very soon which will limit the economic impact. 

Our CEO sent out an instruction that everyone must work from home until end of March at which point he will re-assess. Anyone needing equipment from the office was to take home what they needed. I am concerned about people who cannot work from home (service industry etc) and may be financially impacted if they can't go in due to illness, and therefore will not isolate themselves. 

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Jules

Nelline I don’t want to fall into the trap of being an alarmist but this is going to really hurt the economy. Lots of business is going to lose revenue as well as many workers. 
All of the major economists are calling for a recession later this year. 
 

Right now, based on what I am seeing, I would strongly recommend that anyone planning on landing here without a job, postpones their landing. Job searching is going to to be ridiculously hard. 
 

I work for one of major banks and I work very close with one of the Executive Vice Presidents and he sits on the big committees. From what I am hearing, this is very serious in economic terms and it’s being echoed by our chief economist. 

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M-N
3 hours ago, Nelline said:

Our CEO sent out an instruction that everyone must work from home until end of March at which point he will re-assess. Anyone needing equipment from the office was to take home what they needed. I am concerned about people who cannot work from home (service industry etc) and may be financially impacted if they can't go in due to illness, and therefore will not isolate themselves. 

Some service industry businesses are giving their staff the choice to keep or forego shifts without penalty. One restaurant had a positive case of covid-19 and they had to shut down. All employees will still be paid while they are in quarantine. 
 

The Alberta government has also given everyone 14 days of paid sick leave in the event of quarantine.  

i agree with @Jules this is going to have a heavy impact on our economy and will probably take us a long time to recover.  

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Marianka

In such a panic right now...after more than a year of ghosting this site finally needing some advice. My family of three activated our PR November last year and returned home with the intention of my husband finding employment (aqua culture industry) and me completing MCCQE1 for medical liscencing before the big move.

We had the pleasant surprise of finding out I'm pregnant shortly after returning home. Knowing that I can't really travel past 30 weeks and keeping in mind the time to activate medical cover in BC, we planned to come over middle of May. Then corona happened and we may not be able to travel in time due to restrictions.

As to the info I could find, there is no way to add a dependent whilst we are outside of canada. 

Does anyone have any advice or paddling in a similar boat???

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OHCANADAAA

Just changed our flights from the 25th of this month to the 21st. Anything sooner becomes insanely expensive.

I'm not sure what I would even do if we were not able to travel, our visas expire start of April.

This whole situation is insanely stressful, good luck everyone.

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anxiety
21 hours ago, OHCANADAAA said:

Just changed our flights from the 25th of this month to the 21st. Anything sooner becomes insanely expensive.

I'm not sure what I would even do if we were not able to travel, our visas expire start of April.

This whole situation is insanely stressful, good luck everyone.

What are your plans now given the announcement by the PM?

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OHCANADAAA
33 minutes ago, anxiety said:

What are your plans now given the announcement by the PM?

There still isn't clarity whether we would be allowed to travel, some sources seem to suggest that CoPR is good enough although we won't know until a detailed announcement is made. I don't think I've ever been this stressed, we've sold everything, given notice on rent and quit our jobs, to not be able to travel would be a disaster.

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OutOfSa

Man this is a super sucky situation.  

Things have become pretty glum here all of a sudden.. !

From a booming industry to bust overnight.  I really feel for you guys about to make the jump - it's hard enough without the world being against you !

I'm not sure what they would do with a PR activation at the border...? They said Citizens and PR's can return - so it depends on whether or not a PR-to-be-activated would classify as a PR.  I guess the thing to do is to find out if the airline will allow a person on with a PR visa....  If they do, then I suspect the Canadian border will also.  Canada said that the airlines need to take the initial decision on who they transport here.

And then there is the job hunt in a 0-operational economy.  No doubt Peter Pan will throw billions at the problem - which is probably the first time I would agree with that.  But for a new arrival, I think the prospect of a job is extremely bleak.  So if you do come here, be prepared to hunker down for 2 - 3 months without work.  Mind you, many arrivals take that amount of time to get their first real job - so perhaps from a purely new arrival it does not make much difference.  

 

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OHCANADAAA
21 minutes ago, OutOfSa said:

Man this is a super sucky situation.  

Things have become pretty glum here all of a sudden.. !

From a booming industry to bust overnight.  I really feel for you guys about to make the jump - it's hard enough without the world being against you !

I'm not sure what they would do with a PR activation at the border...? They said Citizens and PR's can return - so it depends on whether or not a PR-to-be-activated would classify as a PR.  I guess the thing to do is to find out if the airline will allow a person on with a PR visa....  If they do, then I suspect the Canadian border will also.  Canada said that the airlines need to take the initial decision on who they transport here.

And then there is the job hunt in a 0-operational economy.  No doubt Peter Pan will throw billions at the problem - which is probably the first time I would agree with that.  But for a new arrival, I think the prospect of a job is extremely bleak.  So if you do come here, be prepared to hunker down for 2 - 3 months without work.  Mind you, many arrivals take that amount of time to get their first real job - so perhaps from a purely new arrival it does not make much difference.  

 

Just got word that our cat won't be able to fly in, all arrangements are cancelled, there's is apparently a large embargo on any animal travel :(

In the last week 'n managed to secure a fantastic job offer. We've sold everything, quit our jobs, and now this possible delay will probably compromise my new job. This is just the worst timing ever.

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OutOfSa

In the last week 'n managed to secure a fantastic job offer. We've sold everything, quit our jobs, and now this possible delay will probably compromise my new job. This is just the worst timing ever.

Sorry to hear about the kitty, that is indeed horrible - perhaps you can get it into an cattery for a bit.  We had no choice but to leave our animals in care for a month before they were shipped over.  This was a blessing in disguise as we had a chance to get some stability before the dog and cat arrived.  The dog might have been ok, but the cat would have freaked out with the moving and busy life that we had for the first month.  You might miss the cat, but it's probably better to leave it somewhere quiet and secure while your lives are in turmoil.  

As for losing your job here, hopefully that won't happen - companies are stressed, but they understand that people are helpless - so pretty much everything is frozen at the moment. 

I'd get hold of your prospective employer and discuss the issues and see what they say.

 

 

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Jules
2 hours ago, OHCANADAAA said:

Just got word that our cat won't be able to fly in, all arrangements are cancelled, there's is apparently a large embargo on any animal travel :(

In the last week 'n managed to secure a fantastic job offer. We've sold everything, quit our jobs, and now this possible delay will probably compromise my new job. This is just the worst timing ever.

Are you cancelling because of the pet restriction or because of the restrictions on non citizens / residents? 

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MaryJane
6 hours ago, OutOfSa said:

As for losing your job here, hopefully that won't happen - companies are stressed, but they understand that people are helpless - so pretty much everything is frozen at the moment. 

I'd get hold of your prospective employer and discuss the issues and see what they say.

Definitely a good idea to do this, even if it's just for reassurance.

I'm actually currently in transition too and starting a new job mid-next week. Had a call earlier with my future employer to talk about logistics. Boss confirms that everything will happen as planned albeit in a slightly different form - meaning I will start on my start date; if they have to deliver equipment to my house so I can work from home so be it; technology and support being set up so this is all possible, onboarding to happen on first day via video-conference, etc.

I agree that companies understand that these are unprecedented but necessary measures to take during this time.

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OHCANADAAA

We currently have a place where our cat can stay if we can still fly out, it may be for the best as @OutOfSa has said.

Right now it doesn't really seem like anyone on the floor knows what's going on, the IRCC twitter and the page on special measures on canada.ca have not had any updates on the specifics of the travel ban, I think they're still trying to figure it out. The only info I've managed to find was conjecture by immigration agents who way CoPR holders would not be allowed.

Our flights are for Saturday but if we don't hear anything official regarding CoPR holders in the next two days we'll push it out to the maximum our visa would support and wait till there is some clarity.

If we do need to extend the times on our visas after this has blown over, I really hope it's a quick process and that it blows over quickly, I'm not sure how we're going to live for the next couple of weeks.

Good luck to everyone else in the same boat, we'll get through it and we'll get to Canada.

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Jules

This is a rough time for so many people all over the world. Hopefully we are close to the worst of it so we can start to see improvements in the near future. 

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archiryan123

I guess my wife and I can weigh in here, having arrived last Sunday 15 March 2020. One should keep in mind that things have changed a lot in the last few days, and continue to change daily. When we left RSA the virus was a mounting concern with very few cases, landing in Canada here it is sheer Armageddon all-round. Toronto airport was empty, and so are the streets in our current city. People don't go outside, and turn extremely nasty when they find out we are foreign immigrants.

It's been difficult... we arrived in one of Ontario's small cities, near to Ottawa and Toronto. To us it feels a lot like Hermanus, crossed with a bit of Stellenbosch (very student-y). It also has a huge population of seniors... We spent 2 days in our first temporary apartment before we were asked to leave by the local tenants due to perceived risk. Yesterday we tried to open a bank account and were nastily forced to leave the establishment. Sadly we are unable to obtain any documentation whatsoever. Any kind of apartment rental is impossible. For the foreseeable future we don't exist... 

Of course we understand the situation here, but it's not as if we were ever sent instructions to self-quarantine. Maybe what threw us off was at the airport there were zero tests done, or instructions given etc. We would love to know if this has changed. I believe in the week that we've been here a great many things have changed.

We are extremely thankful that we were able to get here in time, but also really hope being treated like dirty immigrants (no exaggeration) will pass. We also can't be sure how much of our experience has been more small town mentality vs nationwide fear vs goodness-knows-what-else.

Not a good time to be an immigrant. If someone is coming over with work in place I would say delay and then come tentatively. If no job is in place I would advise to postpone for a few months. Above all I'm concerned for the affect this will have on Africa.

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Nelline

I saw this on IRCC:

 

SPECIAL MEASURES

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) published an updated set of special measures to help temporary and permanent residents conserve and/or obtain their rights to remain or work in Canada during the outbreak. These measures include:

• Temporary residence applicants from outside Canada
  • An additional 90 days for temporary residents who need to submit documents for their files to continue to process – no application in progress will be closed or refused due to lack of documentation (for example, if it is impossible to obtain a police certificate, medical record, transcript, certified documents, etc.);
  • Biometrics deadlines are automatically extended by 90 days;
  • Some visa application centres are closed until further notice, which may cause delays in processing;
• Permanent residence applicants
  • Permission to submit a permanent residence application via Express Entry without all of the required documentation;
  • Additional delays for individuals having been approved for permanent residence but unable to travel to Canada to validate their confirmation of permanent residence;
  • IRCC will continue to accept intake of new permanent residence applications even if some documents are missing if applicants can justify why they cannot obtain the document;
  • All in-person permanent residence landing appointments are cancelled until April 13, 2020
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