COVID-19: Closure Of Canada-U.S. Border, International Travel Restrictions Extended Another Month

COVID-19: Closure Of Canada-U.S. Border, International Travel Restrictions Extended Another Month
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Canada’s international travel restrictions and the closure of the border with the U.S. have both been extended for another month, until June 21, 2021.

Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness made the announcement in a tweet on Thursday, May 20. The restrictions had been due to expire on May 21.

“We are extending travel restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until June 21st, 2021,” Blair wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe from #COVID19.”

The extension means both international and U.S. restrictions will have been in place for 15 months after first being imposed in March 2020.

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Travellers At Land Borders Need Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test

Canada requires that anyone returning to the country quarantine for 14 days.

Travellers arriving in Canada by land from the U.S. also need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken within 72 hours or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival.

In addition, travellers entering Canada at the land border require to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

All travellers arriving in Canada by air, with some exceptions, need to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada and another towards the end of their 14-day quarantine period. They also need to stay in a government-designated hotel for three days at their own cost to await the results of those tests.

Anyone arriving by air from another country for non-essential travel is also required to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding the aircraft in their home country.

Exemptions for Non-Discretionary Travel

Canada has exemptions in place for the following people, provided they are travelling for a non-discretionary reason:

  • Seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers;
  • International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020. More international students are now allowed to travel from October 20 last year under a new exemption;
  • Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced but who had not yet travelled to Canada;
  • Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are also exempt if entering to be with an immediate family member for at least 15 days, and;
  • Extended family members of citizens and permanent residents, plus foreign nationals travelling on compassionate grounds.

Immigration Numbers Recovery At Start Of 2021

The latest federal government figures show Canada welcomed 70,500 newcomers in the first three months of the year, compared to just over 69,000 in 2020 – a solid start on its way to an ambitious target of 401,000.

January to March was easily the most prolific quarter for Canada immigration since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

However, the numbers are still well short of those needed for Canada to its target. If 70,500 newcomers are welcomed every quarter this year, the total would reach only 282,000 permanent resident admissions.

Monthly Permanent Resident Admissions to Canada, 2020 and 2021

Ottawa is clearly expecting a major increase in the remaining three quarters, boosted by the new pathway the permanent residence launched this month, through which it expects to receive 90,000 applications from international graduates, healthcare workers and other essential workers.

Meanwhile, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has also significantly increased the numbers of Invitations to Apply being issued through Express Entry, including 27,332 in a single Canadian Experience Class draw on February 13.

These candidates, 90 percent of them already in Canada, are likely to make the transition to permanent residency in the second half of the year.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino remains confident Canada will hit the 401,000 targets, set in the fall 2020 immigration levels plan.

“I am confident that we are doing everything we can to meet that target and we will meet that target and the reason it is important to hit that target is that immigrants create jobs … and allow us to meet our workforce needs,” he said in a recent press conference.

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