published on 10 December 2021 @ 5:04 pm · COMMENT
Omicron’s Effect on Canadian Immigration: New Rules
In light of the new dangers presented by the Omicron variant of concern, the Government of Canada has established entry prohibitions from certain designated countries and reinstituted testing requirements for all individuals who have travelled to a country other than Canada or the United States within the past 14 days. These new changes affect both unvaccinated and vaccinated travellers.
Requirements for Travellers Who Have Been In Countries with Entry Prohibitions in the Past 14 Days
First, Canada has identified 10 countries where there is an outbreak or risk of an outbreak of the Omicron variant, and has placed entry prohibitions on travellers who have been in the following countries within 14 days of their entry. These countries include:
- South Africa
Foreign nationals who have travelled to one of the listed countries within the past 14 days will not be permitted entry to Canada, regardless of their vaccination status.
All other travellers, regardless of vaccination status, who have been in one of the listed countries in the previous 14 days, will be subject to immediate COVID-19 testing upon arrival in Canada. They will be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility while awaiting the results of the arrival test.
If a traveller tests positive upon arrival, they will be required to isolate at a suitable location, such as a home or a designated quarantine facility, for an additional 10 days.
If the traveller receives a negative test result, they may proceed to the location where they will complete the remainder of their quarantine. They must remain in quarantine for 14 days, and complete an additional test on Day 8.
If the traveller tests positive on Day 8, they must isolate for an additional 10 days. However, if the traveller has received a negative test result from the Day 8 test, their quarantine period will end on Day 14.
New Testing Requirements for Vaccinated Travellers Outside of Canada or the United States in the Past 14 Days
In addition, the Government of Canada has instituted new testing requirements for all travellers who have been in a country other than the United States, Canada, or one of the countries above with entry prohibitions. The changes are focused primarily on the testing of vaccinated travellers, while testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers remain unchanged.
For vaccinated travellers who have travelled outside of Canada or the United States in the past 14 days, they may be selected to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and quarantine at home until the arrival test results are received. If the result is positive, the vaccinated traveller is required to isolate for an additional 10 days. If the result is negative, the vaccinated traveller is released from quarantine. The Government of Canada has indicated that it will be increasing the number of fully vaccinated travellers being selected for testing to reach 100% of vaccinated travellers in the coming weeks.
For unvaccinated travellers who have travelled outside of Canada, the testing protocols remain the same. They will be required to take an arrival COVID-19 test and quarantine at a suitable location (which could be a home), for 14 days. If the result of the arrival test is positive, the traveller is required to isolate at a suitable location or a designated quarantine facility for an additional 10 days. If the result of the arrival test is negative, the traveller is required to quarantine at home and complete a subsequent test on Day 8. If the result of the Day 8 test is negative, the unvaccinated traveller’s quarantine ends on Day 14. If the result of the Day 8 test is positive, the unvaccinated traveller must isolate for an additional 10 days.
As the Omicron variant of concern continues to show resistance to COVID-19 vaccination, it has presented new issues for regulating travel into Canada. As it has been during this entire pandemic, travel restrictions must be carefully monitored, as they are subject to change very rapidly to respond to developments in the spread of the virus.
Express Entry Update: Provincial Nominee Draw
On December 10, 2021, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a new round of invitations to apply for permanent residence. Invitations were issued to candidates who qualify for selection under the Provincial Nominee Class. The minimum score selected was 698, and 1,032 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. Each province has its own provincial nomination system through which candidates are selected based on factors such as 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.
This draw invited only candidates who qualify for selection under the Provincial Nominee Class. As of this time, we continue to see a pause on draws under the Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades program. The most recent draw held under the Canadian Experience Class was on September 14, 2021, and the most recent all-program draw was held on December 23, 2020.