Canada immigration news: Canada immigration applicants are being given a three-month extension to a policy that removed the need for additional medical exams if they pose a low risk to the health of Canadians.
The policy, originally announced in June, 2021, was set to expire on Tuesday this week, Dec. 28, 2021.
It has been extended to March 31, 2022.
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“These measures will help streamline application processing for low-risk, in-Canada applicants, while effectively managing public health risks,” states Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
“They will also help provide better client service, support faster application timelines, and ensure foreign nationals can more quickly receive permanent resident status. This will help them in turn more quickly contribute fully to the Canadian economy and the communities in which they live.”
When applying for permanent residence or for a permanent resident visa, applicants must still provide an immigration medical exam or a unique medical identifier number from their previous medical exam. IRCC will contact those who are not eligible for the exemption to discuss next steps.
Ottawa Lifted Need For Extra Medical Exams As Country Seemed To Recover From COVID-19
The lifting of the need for the additional medical exam usually required for the immigration process came last summer as Canada appeared to have hit the level of COVID-19 vaccination many thoughts were needed for herd immunity.
Since then, though, the Omicron variant has emerged, infecting even those who have had two shots of the COVID-19 vaccines and making many of them sick enough to warrant hospitalization. The vaccines do, however, still prevent the vaccinated from suffering the more severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Health experts are now calling on Canadians to receive booster shots of the vaccines and programs have started in several provinces to begin vaccinating children as young as five years of age.
“With (the) highly-transmissible Delta variant predominating and Omicron looming, we must maximize layers of protection: full series of COVID-19 vaccines PLUS booster doses as recommended PLUS (ensuring face masks are washed and fit well and there is good ventilation),” tweeted Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer, shortly before the holiday season.
Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination information website shows that 87.25 per cent of Canadians aged 12 and older were fully vaccinated as of Dec. 30, 2021 and 1.29 per cent of children aged five to 11 years of age were also fully-vaccinated.
More than a third of children aged five to 11 years of age in Canada, 39.51 per cent, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 90.01 per cent of those aged 12 and older had also gotten at least one dose of these vaccines at that time.
Vast Majority Of Canadians Fully Vaccinated
More than three quarters of the Canadian population, or 76.49 per cent had by Dec. 30 received two shots of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Despite that high level of vaccination in Canada, there were still 212,318 cases of COVID-19 as the year drew to a close and the country had seen 30,248 deaths among the more than 2.1 million people who had been infected with the coronavirus.
Cases were then spiking in many parts of the country as the Omicron variant spread.
That compares to only 330 active cases of COVID-19 across the country in late June, 2021.
The IRCC’s temporary public policy to no longer require the additional medical exam for immigration to low-risk applicants applies only to foreign nationals who are already in Canada and who:
- have submitted a new application for permanent residence or for a permanent resident visa or have a pending application for permanent residence and have not yet completed a new immigration medical exam;
- have completed an immigration medical exam within the last five years and were found to pose no risk to public health or safety, or complied with a requirement to report to public health authorities for monitoring, and;
- have not left Canada for more than six months in the last year to live in a country that has a higher incidence of a serious communicable disease than Canada, as outlined in the list of countries requiring an immigration medical exam.
Family members of foreign nationals who are applying for immigration can also be exempt from the need for the additional medical exam provided they meet those conditions.
Population Grew Despite Pandemic Due To Immigration
Statistics Canada, the country’s statistical analysis agency, noted in early July that Canada’s population still managed to grow despite the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit at a slower rate.
Immigration was responsible for 74.9 per cent of Canada’s population growth in the year that ended July 1, 2021 and the country remains bullish on increasing immigration even further in the coming year.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced near the end of December that Canada had reached its target of 401,000 new permanent residents for the year, breaking a record for immigration that was set 108 years ago, in 1913.
“Last year, we set an ambitious goal,” said Fraser a week before the end of the year. “Today, we achieved it.
“This is a historic moment for our country, as we welcome the highest number of newcomers in one year in our history.”
In 2022, Ottawa is eyeing an even higher target: 411,000 new permanent residents to Canada.