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Canada Eases Travel Restrictions On Students And Family Members

Canada is easing travel restrictions on students who have a study permit and people entering on compassionate grounds.

This was recently announced in a press conference in Ottawa by Canada’s ministers in charge of immigration, health, and public safety.

Canada’s immigration minister Marco Mendicino pronounced that extended family members of Canadians will be allowed to enter Canada beginning on October 8th.

Effective October 20th, international students registered at a Canadian post-secondary institution will be able to enter Canada so long as their school has a COVID-19 readiness plan that has been approved by the province or territory that the school is located in.

Foreign nationals will also be able to apply to enter Canada for compassionate reasons. Such examples include traveling to Canada to attend the funeral of a family member, among various other reasons one might be able to apply for a travel exemption on compassionate grounds.

As is the case for all incoming travelers, those exempt must self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days upon entering Canada.

Qualified extended family includes those who are in exclusive long-term relationships, adult children, siblings, dependent children, and grandparents.

A press briefing from Canada’s immigration ministry stated that detailed information will be presented on its website on October 8th.

It said that there will be a strong and robust process in place for extended family members and they have to apply for authorization and acquire it before they can enter Canada.

Prior to today’s announcement, IRCC exempted the following immediate family members:

  • spouse or common-law partners;
  • dependent children;
  • children of dependent children;
  • parents and step-parent, including in-laws; and
  • guardian or tutors.

Last week, Canada announced that spousal sponsorship applications will now be processed much faster, ramping up processing to about 6,000 applications per month.

When travel restrictions were initially put into place, international students could not only come to Canada if they had their study permits approved before March 18.

Canada also exempts international students from restrictions if they are coming from the United States. However, until October 20th, students are only allowed to come to Canada if their program requires in-class participation, such as laboratories or workshops.

Canada first shut down its borders between March 18 and June 30. International travel restrictions have since been extended each month.

Currently, travelers from the United States are barred from non-essential travel until 21st October, and travel restrictions on other countries extend until the 31st of October.

Some special categories of people continue to be exempted from the coronavirus travel restrictions so long as they are coming to Canada for essential reasons such as reuniting with a close family member such as their partner or working in Canada.

Following the initial success in stepping down its COVID-19 cases, Canada has seen a spike 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 Continue To Operate

Canada continues to conduct new Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws so that immigrants can come into Canada after COVID-19 to support the economy.

Canada’s last three Express Entry draws, which was conducted twice a week in the month of September, was tied for the second-largest in history. A total of 12,600 Invitations to Apply were sent out to successful candidates. British Columbia and Quebec also had their biggest draws of 2020 earlier this week.

In a speech last week, the Canadian government announced it plans to continue to welcome more new immigrants to increase economic growth.

Two major events this month still being expected will dictate how the federal government aims to proceed with its immigration policies after the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister Marco Mendicino is likely to announce a new Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2023 by Friday, October 30th.

The minister will also get a new mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with instructions on what immigration policy matters to prioritize over the next coming years.