Canada immigration news: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated Canada could start welcoming fully vaccinated international travellers from early September.
In a COVID-19 status update with provincial premiers, the Prime Minister also said fully vaccinated Americans could be allowed to travel from mid-August.
The dates are the first time Trudeau has given a real indication about a possible reopening since March 2020, when international travel restrictions were introduced and the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel, to fight the spread of COVID-19.
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“The prime minister noted that, if our current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continue, Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travellers from all countries by early September,” says a read-out of the call from the PM’s office.
“He noted the ongoing discussions with the United States on reopening plans, and indicated that we could expect to start allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel.”
There was no mention on the call about how U.S. visitors would be asked to prove they were vaccinated, with the idea of ‘vaccine passports’ a difficult subject in Canada and around the world.
After a slow start, Canada is currently leading the G20 on vaccination rates, with 80 percent having received at least one dose, and more than 50 percent fully vaccinated.
Canada’s current international travel and U.S. border restrictions are due to expire on July 21. This latest call would suggest they could be in for one last extension.
Ottawa has already taken a first tentative step to easing restrictions, with fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents, and those covered by exemptions to travel restrictions, no longer required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
With dates now in the open for when restrictions could end, Ottawa will be hoping for a surge in immigration between now and the end of the year, with current rates well short of what would be needed to reach a 2021 target of 401,000 newcomers.
Canada recorded 17,115 new permanent resident arrivals in May, the lowest monthly total of 2021. Since welcoming 24,675 newcomers in January, numbers have fallen every month.
Canada welcomed 108,730 new permanent residents in the first five months of the year, up from 84,155 in the same period of 2020.
However, the current 2021 average of 21,746 newcomers per month would give Canada a total of just over 260,000 immigrants for the year, against a target of 401,000.