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Immigration Update

Canada will ease quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers on July 5, 2021

When the Canadian government introduced new vaccine quarantine exemption rules for fully vaccinated eligible travelers, immigration lawyers and their clients were ecstatic.

Fully vaccinated eligible workers will be quarantine exempt, as of July 6, 2021, if they meet the following conditions:

  • Have received all the required doses of the vaccine at least fourteen (14) days prior to their entry to Canada;
  • Have received a Government of Canada approved-vaccine (currently, this includes: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson)
  • Input all relevant vaccine information into their ArriveCAN app prior to travel;
  • Carry proof of vaccination (must be in English or French, or with certified translation);
  • Present proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to arrival, along with a second negative COVID-19 test taken on arrival; and
  • Have a backup 14-day quarantine plan in case of a positive COVID-19 test on arrival.

In addition to the above quarantine exemption, the Order in Council, under the Quarantine Act, enables those not vaccinated to enter Canada without the requirement to quarantine for compassionate and humanitarian purposes such as the death of a parent, and for non-vaccinated workers who fall within the vaccination exempt provisions of urgent work inter alia, such as a technician that needs to repair equipment which is causing a work stoppage in Canada.

Those who are not fully vaccinated and do not fall into the array of narrow quarantine exemptions will be required to quarantine. The law effectively creates a two-tiered entry system. With only six percent of the world population fully vaccinated, quarantine requirements remain critical to entry, and will continue to be part of our immigration framework for years to come.

Nonetheless, these new vaccination rules simplify travel and facilitate international commerce. Canada is open for business again, but only if the entry is non-optional and non-discretionary; in other words, the entry must be essential. Although the US/Canada border rules are more relaxed, entry from all other countries requires pre-vetting and approvals. Work permits for visa exempt nationals remain subject to pandemic-required visa office processing, including a travel authorization. Visa processing in non-vaccinated countries continues to be delayed by the reduced availability of biometrics and Canadian visa office staff.

Also, effective June 21, 2021, any foreign national who holds a valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (“COPR”) will be exempt from travel restrictions.

Previously, only those travellers that held a COPR issued on or before March 18, 2020 were exempt from the travel restrictions. Of course, at the time of landing in Canada, if the foreign national is not fully vaccinated, they will be required to quarantine at their own expense. By lifting the landing ban for overseas approved nationals, the government one again has signaled the reopening of our country. The entry of thousands of immigrants, plus their families, will further assist Canada’s post-pandemic economic buoyancy.

The government has announced that additional changes are forthcoming. These changes are predicated on attaining our Canada-wide vaccination goals. We anticipate that this will include the pre-pandemic resumption of the ability for visa exempt nationals who are fully vaccinated to apply for work permits at the port of entry. Also, the government should reinstate regular express entry draws for overseas immigration applicants seeking qualification under the Federal Express Entry application process, so that we can continue to not only attract, but also immigrate, the best and the brightest worldwide.

This article has been published on The Lawyer’s Daily site. Here’s the link.


Express Entry Draws Select In-Canada Applicants and PNPs Exclusively

On July 7, 2021 and July 8, 2021, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued two new rounds of invitations to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system.

On July 8, 2021, IRCC issued a new round of invitations for candidates who qualify for selection under the Canadian Experience Class. The minimum score selected was 369, and 4,500 candidates were invited to apply. This draw invited fewer candidates than the previous Canadian Experience Class draw held on June 24, 2021, in which 6,000 candidates were invited. As a result, the minimum score required for selection increased by twelve (12) points.

To qualify for selection under the Canadian Experience Class, candidates must have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada within the last three (3) years.

On July 7, 2021, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a new round of invitations to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system. This draw invited candidates who qualify for selection under the Provincial Nominee Class. The minimum score selected was 760, and 627 candidates were invited to apply.

The previous draw for candidates who qualify for selection under the Provincial Nominee Class was held on June 23, 2021. The minimum score selected was 742, and 1,002 candidates were invited to apply.

To qualify for selection under the Provincial Nominee Class, candidates must have received a nomination certificate from a Canadian province or territory. Canadian provinces and territories have their own unique set of immigration programs through which applicants can apply for permanent residence.  Criteria for nomination varies by province and is based on factors such as the candidate’s ties to the province and provincial labour market needs. Candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination certificate are awarded 600 additional points under the federal Express Entry system.