Quoted in Ritesh Matlani’s Medium piece: “The pandemic and immigrants — when your fresh start needs a reboot”

Canada’s Award-Winning Canadian Immigration and Refugee Law and Commentary Blog

Recently, I haven’t been as active as I wanted to be. Partially because others have been doing a fantastic job and I am a huge believer in not overcrowding the information airways when others are doing such good work (shoutouts especially to Ravi Jain and the CBA Immigration Section Executives, Steven Meurrens, Julianna Daley and Migrant Workers Centre, Jim Wu, FACLBC, among many, many others). I am also grateful for the mentorship of my colleagues at Edelmann, and individuals such as Sam Plett (a brilliant lawyer out in Ottawa, formerly Toronto) who have given me a lot to think about with their words and imparted wisdom.

The other reason is that in my own way I have also been struggling with the pandemic. I have been struggling with staying healthy, motivated, and positive (crushing those ANTs!) among all the other things. I’m also in the middle of an internal/structural rebuild with many moving parts. Some of those parts include (like many courts have been doing) thinking about how to leverage technology,

Someone I assisted in the past, a creative mind, and film director Ritesh Matlani wrote this wonderful piece in the Medium where he  graciously quoted some of my thoughts on the recent COVID pandemic. Ritesh has a growing network in the Film and Television industry where he often assists others and advocates for those within the broader Asian diaspora, such as writing for the Cold Tea Collective.

I wanted to just share a few of the quotes in Ritesh’s piece below. I also would recommend everyone to go watch his film Nana. I’m still in line to see it but from what I read and what I know of Ritesh’s journey it likely is a magical short [edit: he just sent me the link to watch it and it is incredible].

The Medium piece is HERE:

My quoted section is as follows:

Will Tao is a solicitor with Edelmann & Co. Law Offices in Vancouver and had assisted me in my immigration process, first as a temporary worker and then for permanent residency. My case was complex and his expertise really got me through what can be a dark and daunting time for many immigrants.

“Our pathways to permanent residency, especially in the economic stream, are based on employer endorsement or job offer. Due to the pandemic, HR offices at limited capacities to write support letters for permanent resident candidates, many of whom are losing eligibility as they are no longer employed,” said Tao about the current scenario.

For citizenship, unfortunately, the delays of applications will become quite pronounced.

“I would not be surprised if citizenship applications take at least a year to possibly a year and a half longer than usual. Ironically, one of the only positive effects I have seen has been the lowering of Express Entry scores,” says Tao, who engages with both workers and students at a community level. Worry and confusion afflict those who have a precarious status or expired SIN numbers as little information is provided on how they can access relief funds. There are students who are panicked for funds to support their studies. Many are isolated in rented rooms with no ties in Canada. Others are choosing to defer their start dates and stay abroad. Online learning is going to become the new norm.

I wanted to also give you a quick update on my new norm. I realized that Twitter has been killing my brain so I have temporarily deactivated it. I hope to jump back before the 30 days takes away my account but I’m likely going to move to a more Peter Edelmann (Justice Edelmann, now) approach of tweeting only important immigration updates. I am trying to find a new platform for my race/equity writing and as well hold some of my own political views more to myself and express them through various organizations/efforts I am involved in.  In short – tweeting has overwhelmed me to the point of needing to step back and recognize the temporal nature of  a Tweet versus the longer need of deeper systemic efforts. It’s time for the horse blinders!

See you all shortly.

 

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Will Tao is an Award-Winning Canadian Immigration and Refugee Lawyer, Writer, and Policy Advisor based in Vancouver. Vancouver Immigration Blog is a public legal resource and social commentary

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