This bulletin will provide a summary of the key immigration updates for the period between November 1, 2020 and November 20, 2020.
Travel Restrictions between the US and Canada Extended
On November 20, 2020, Immigration Canada announced the current travel restrictions between the United States and Canada for non-essential travel will be extended until December 21, 2020.
Visa Application Centres in India Re-Opening
On November 19, 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Visa Application Centres in India will begin scheduling limited biometric appointments as of November 20, 2020. The Visa Application Centres in India will prioritize in family class and study permit applications.
Special Measures to Support Hong Kong Residents to Come to Canada
On November 12, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a new immigration initiative that will attract students and youth from Hong Kong to Canada by offering a new open work permit and broadening their pathways to permanent residency.
The new initiative will allow eligible Hong Kong residents in Canada or abroad with recently completed post-secondary studies to apply for an open work permit, which may be valid for up to 3 years.
Obtaining an open work permit will allow Hong Kong residents to come to or stay in Canada and gain valuable employment experience. To follow this experience, a new pathway to permanent resident status for in-Canada Hong Kong residents who meet specific eligibility criteria is being created. This new pathway will be available in 2021, and criteria will include minimum language and education levels and 1 year of work experience in Canada.
Admissibility for Residents of Hong Kong
On November 12, 2020, the Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino made an announcement that residents of Hong Kong who were arrested or charged after “taking part in peaceful protests” in Hong Kong would not be deemed inadmissible to Canada. Currently, we are not certain if this covers specific charges, such as rioting or unlawful assembly.
International Experience Canada Work Permit
On November 9, 2020, Immigration Canada made an announcement that International Experience Canada participants whose letter of introduction is about to expire and who are not able to travel to Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to extend their letter of introduction online before it is expired.
Alberta COVID-19 Border Testing Pilot Program
Since November 2, 2020, travellers entering Alberta at select border crossings can take part in the Alberta COVID-19 Border Testing Pilot Program. Accordingly, eligible international travellers (i.e. Canadian citizens, permanent residents, foreign national currently permitted to enter Canada) returning to Alberta at the Calgary International Airport or the Coutts land border crossing may be able to shorten their quarantine period from 14 days to 48 hours.
Participants who are interested in enrolling into the Pilot Program will need to complete the below steps:
- Complete the online registration form up to 5 days before arrival in Canada.
- Complete a COVID-19 test at the Calgary International Airport or at the Coutts land border crossing.
- Remain in quarantine until you get an email with your COVID-19 test results (approximately 48 hours). If the COVID-19 test result is negative, then you can leave your quarantine location. However, you must stay in Alberta during the 14 days period and follow preventive health measures.
- On day 6 or 7, you must take a second COVID-19 test in Alberta.
- After day 14, you may leave Alberta and are no longer required to submit daily health reports online or by phone.
Guidelines for Canadian immigration and travel are evolving quickly and are subject to frequent change with little to no prior notice.