Ottawa is removing the need for an additional medical exam to give a break to applicants for immigration who are already in the country and pose a low risk to the health of Canadians.
“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.”
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The lifting of the need for the additional medical exam usually required for the immigration process comes as Canada appears to have hit the level of COVID-19 vaccination needed for herd immunity.
“From wildfires to COVID-19, people across Canada are facing serious challenges – and we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe.
Three-quarters of Canadians more than 12 years of age had already received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 22 per cent were fully vaccinated against the illness as of June 25, the Government of Canada website indicates.
On Friday, there were only 330 new daily cases of COVID-19 in Canada.
The IRCC’s temporary public policy to no longer require the additional medical exam for immigration to low-risk applicants is in effect until Dec. 28.
It 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.
With vaccination rates against COVID-19 rising in Canada, new daily case numbers are dropping and the country is gradually re-opening its borders in wake of what has been a historic and costly disruption to both the Canadian economy and its immigration processes.
It looks very likely that immigration to Canada will rebound as well within a few months.
Statistics Canada, the country’s statistical analysis agency, noted Canada had suffered the biggest quarterly drop in its population growth rate since the Second World War in the third quarter of last year. The loss of international students for the fall semester due to COVID-19 travel restrictions was at least partly to blame.