Canada is easing travel restrictions on family members, study permit holders, and people entering on compassionate grounds.
Canada’s immigration minister Marco Mendicino stated that extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be able to enter Canada beginning on October 8.
Effective October 20th, international students enrolled at a Canadian designated learning institution will be able to enter Canada so long as their DLI has a COVID-19 readiness plan that has been vetted by the province or territory that the DLI is located in.
Foreign nationals will be able to apply to enter for compassionate reasons.
This was just announced in a press conference in Ottawa by Canada’s ministers responsible for immigration, health, and public safety.
Those eligible include those who are in exclusive long-term relationships, dependent children, non-dependent children, siblings, and grandparents.
Mendicino said that families should not make travel plans to Canada until they have received all authorizations.
Extended family must stay in Canada for at least 15 days. They must receive written authorization from the Canadian government, have a valid passport, and meet other requirements.
Before today’s announcement, Canada exempted the following immediate family members:
- spouses or common-law partners;
- dependent children;
- dependent children of dependent children;
- parents and step-parents, including in-laws; and
- guardians or tutors.
Last week, Canada announced that spousal sponsorship applications will be expedited, ramping up processing to 6,000 applications per month.
When travel restrictions initially went into place, students could only come to Canada if they had their study permits approved before March 18. Canada also exempts students from restrictions if they are coming from the U.S. However, students are only allowed to travel to Canada if their program requires in-class participation, such as labs or workshops. Otherwise classes need to be done online.
Canada first closed its borders between March 18 and June 30. Travel restrictions have since been extended each month. Currently, travellers from the U.S. are barred from non-essential travel until October 21, and travel restrictions on other countries extend until October 31.
Some individuals continue to be exempt from the coronavirus travel restrictions so long as they are coming to Canada for essential reasons such as working in Canada or to reunite with a close family member such as their partner.
Following initial success in reducing its COVID-19 cases, Canada has seen a substantial increase in its daily cases over the past month. Quebec, which is Canada’s second-largest province by population, reported over 1,000 new COVID-19 infections today, which is its largest total since May. Canada’s largest province, Ontario, is also experiencing surging numbers with over 700 new infections reported today, its highest since April.
Canada’s immigration system continues to operate
Canada’s last three Express Entry draws, which took place during bi-weekly intervals in September, were tied for the second largest in history. A total of 12,600 immigration invitations were issued to successful candidates. B.C. and Quebec also held their biggest draws of 2020 earlier this week.
In a speech last week, Canada’s federal government announced it plans to continue to welcome more immigrants to fuel economic growth.
Two additional major events this month will extra certainty on how the federal government aims to proceed with its immigration policies after the pandemic.
Minister Mendicino is likely to announce Canada’s Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023 by Friday, October 30th. Mendicino will also receive a new mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with guidance on what immigration policy issues to prioritize over the coming years.
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