Americans looking to move to Canada as US coronavirus cases surge

US and Canadian immigration lawyers say there has recently been an increase in Americans looking to move north of the border.
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta

Americans are considering moving to Canada as the pandemic continues to spread in the United States, with over 3.7 million cases and 140,000 deaths, and nearly 2 million recorded recoveries, reports Global News.

US and Canadian immigration lawyers say there has recently been an increase in Americans looking to move north of the border.

"They’re concerned about the death rate. They’re concerned about the increase in positive cases nationwide," said US immigration lawyer Len Saunders. "They’re looking to Canada as almost a safe haven."

"These are Americans who either have spouses in Canada or they have fiances or partners, or they have possible claims to Canadian citizenship through a parent."

Mark Belanger, a Canadian immigration lawyer pointed to a "sizable uptick" in US citizens who were in Canada before the pandemic to spend time with their partners or families and are now looking to acquire their work permits or permanent resident status.

"Perhaps double or triple the amount of inquiries—serious inquiries on how to go about staying in Canada or even to immigrate to Canada," Belanger said.

Saunders and Belanger both think the border will stay closed to travel that isn’t essential for the remainder of the year.

"Even after the border opens, I think this is a trend that’s going to continue indefinitely," Saunders said.

There has also recently been an increase in the amount of US-Canada land border crossings. According to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, 107,795 people entered the country from April 6 to 12.

In July, during the same period, 172,842 travellers entered Canada—about 60 percent more than three months ago but still a 90 percent decrease from last year during the same period.

Belanger noted that it’s a lot harder to acquire work status in Canada without family connections. This offers an explanation as to why there is now a trend of weddings being held at Peace Arch Park which is accessible from Washington and BC.

"Now you see it on a daily basis," Saunders said. "I’ve basically become a wedding coordinator to many people."

Some couples are not able to meet in the middle and Belanger said he is looking into the possibility of legally binding marriages over video-conference that immigration authorities in both Canada and the US recognize.

"This could be the new era of virtual marriages to sponsor your spouse."

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