Canada has once again extend travel restrictions on most foreign travelers for another month, to the end of August.
The federal government has sent out an Order in Council dated July 30, extending the travel restrictions to the 31st of August.
The restrictions, barring entry to all except Canadian citizens and permanent residents – with some exemptions – was due to expire at July ending.
The restrictions cover travelers arriving from a foreign country except for the United States. The travel ban affecting the Canada-U.S. border is covered by a separate agreement, that was to expires on August 21. But, with coronavirus cases increasing south of the border, it is likely to be extended.
The following category of people can currently travel to Canada:
- Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
- Work permit holders traveling for non-discretionary or non-optional reasons.
- International students who hold a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, on or before March 18, 2020, who are traveling for non-discretionary and non-optional reasons.
- Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for Canadian permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced but who had not yet traveled to Canada.
- Close family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Anyone coming Canada is still required to quarantine for fourteen (14) days on arrival and provide CBSA officers with a reliable quarantine plan.
The latest available figures shows Canada welcomed approximately 11,000 newcomers in May, the first sign of recovery since COVID-19 restrictions severely limited arrivals.
Despite international travel restrictions and the closures of the Canada-U.S. border, permanent resident admissions soared by 165 per cent compared to April, when just 4,130 new immigrants were welcomed.
While the rise is a sign of the start of the recovery, it is also an indication that border officials are processing virtual permanent resident arrivals in increasing numbers.
Immigration officials were able to process 5,000 virtual arrivals in one week in June, showing their capacity to maintain numbers despite the crisis.
New ‘arrivals’ can either be candidates already in Canada changing from a temporary status, or those from abroad who were approved prior to March 18 and are therefore exempt from travel restrictions.
Despite the green shoots of recovery emerging, immigration levels remain remarkably below pre-coronavirus levels.
February 2020 saw 28,895 arrivals, while 33,015 immigrants arrived in May 2019. Up to the end of May, Canada has received a total of 84,275 newcomers so far in 2020, compared to 125,870 by the same point last year.
It means Canada is increasingly unlikely to reach its immigration target of 341,000 new permanent resident arrivals in 2020.