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Immigration Update

Borders Restrictions Lifting for Fully Vaccinated Travellers

Since March 2020, our border has been closed for optional and discretionary travel to Canada.  In order to enter Canada, international travellers have had to fit into certain exemptions to be able to cross the Canadian border. Starting next month, the restrictions will be eased to allow for any travellers to enter Canada, provided they have received all required doses of a Government of Canada approved vaccine, at least 14-days before travel.

On August 9, 2021, United States citizens and permanent residents residing in the US will be able to enter Canada for non-essential travel.  Airline officials will be verifying vaccination status through the ArriveCAN app prior to allowing individuals to board their flights.

Additional changes to the current measures, effective August 9, 2021 include:

  • While all travellers will continue to require a pre-departure COVID-19 test, fully vaccinated travellers will not require a test on arrival unless they are randomly selected;
  • International flights will be able to land at five additional airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton, in addition to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver;
  • The three-night stay at a government-authorized hotel will be eliminated for all travellers;
  • Canadian citizens and permanent residents travelling to the US for less than 72-hour may preform their pre-arrival test in Canada; and
  • Unvaccinated children under 12 and dependent children of fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to quarantine, but are subject to strict public health rules.

Fully vaccinated travellers continue to be subject to regular Canadian immigration requirements for entry.


Work Permit for Permanent Resident Pathway Applicants

On May 6, 2021, the Government opened a designated pathway to allow some temporary residents in Canada to apply for permanent residence. Successful applicants under any of the pathway’s streams may now apply for an open work permit while their permanent residence application is processing, provided that they are able to show that they:  are eligible to work; are in Canada at the time of the application; have valid status, have maintained status or can restore their status; and among other requirements, were employed at the time their permanent residence application. The applicant’s spouse and adult dependent children may also be eligible for open work permits.


IRCC to Accept a Record Number of Applicants for the 2021 Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program

On July 20, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced it will accept up to 30,000 applications in 2021 under the Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program (PGP). The invitations will be sent over the course of a two-week period, starting the week of September 20, 2021.

IRCC will be selecting the 30,000 applicants from among those who previously submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) between October 2020 and November 2020. Those invited to apply will have 60 days to submit their sponsorship applications to IRCC.

Those invited to apply during this lottery will be able to submit their applications electronically using IRCC’s new Permanent Resident Digital Intake tool.

IRCC has extended their facilitative income requirement for the program, due to the economic impact of COVID-19 faced by many families. For the 2020 tax year, the income requirement will continue to be the minimum necessary income, instead of the minimum necessary income plus 30%. Employment Insurance (EI) benefits and temporary COVID-19 benefits, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), will continue to be accepted as part of the sponsor’s income. Selected sponsors will have their income assessed for the 2020, 2019 and 2018 tax years.

IRCC aims to accept 10,000 PGP applications from its 2020 intake, and 30,000 applications from its upcoming draw, in accordance with the Government of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2020 to 2022.

The PGP opens once a year and allows Canadian citizens, permanent residents and registered Indians to sponsor their parents and grandparents to immigrate to Canada. Candidates are selected using a lottery system. Parents and grandparents accepted under this program are granted permanent residence.


New Refugee Stream for Human Rights Defenders

Our immigration ministry has announced that Canada will be accepting 250 human rights defenders and their families per year. Human rights defenders are people who non-violently work toward the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and can face persecution at the hands of state and non-state actors.

Human rights defenders who are in need of protection may be referred to the Government of Canada by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Canada’s Government-Assisted Refugees Program for refugee protection.


Express Entry Update: Provincial Nominee Class Draw

On July 21, 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 734, and 462 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. Candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination are awarded 600 additional points under the federal Express Entry system.