Rosanna Pancotto, the president of Prairie Sky Immigration works with students, families, and single people through the arduous immigration process, and says, "Every time I see their smile, I know that this is the purpose."
Since the pandemic, immigration has almost come to a halt.
"COVID has essentially turned immigration upsidedown. I don't think the department was prepared for the longevity of COVID. They closed the borders back in March and they have remained closed since."
The border closures have impacted the family class, the study permit classification, and skilled workers who are trying to come to Canada for permanent residency.
"Virtually all the applications that are considered non-essential that are being processed from outside of Canada came to a stand-still."
The borders have been closed to lessen the spread of the virus, according to the government. However, it's also been hard on families and students wanting to either proceed with the immigration process or see their loved ones.
"Students that have been visiting family at that time in February and March have not been able to re-enter Canada. They're stuck outside," says Pancotto.
While closing the borders means less work for the mediation company from people outside our country, Pancotto says it's more work for those still here.
"The applicants that have been in Canada have been in a bit of a panic scenario as some have lost their jobs. Plus, if you've graduated recently and you're unable to find an offer of employment or an employer, than that will stagnate your ability to proceed with a permanent residency application."
Normally, from start to finish, it takes about a year to go through the immigration process. Right now the government is not giving processing times, according to Pancotto.
"If you're coming here as a visitor, [the wait] is roughly 137 days for a visitor visa, whereas before it was 4 weeks."
As a mediator for those who are just waiting to hear back from the immigration officer, Pancotto says, "My job has always been rewarding. Every time a permanent residency goes through, they get an approval on the visa, they're extremely happy."