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Canada Immigration Update

Canada halts evacuation from Afghanistan: Canada's airlift mission from Kabul has ended as of August 26, 2021. The government issued a statement confirming that they are aware of Canadian citizens, permanent residents, their families and applicants under program for Afghans who remain in the country. Canada has helped to evacuate more than 3700 people from Kabul, and has indicated that they will continue to prioritize applications for family reunification from Afghanistan, as well as to continue to process applicants for the special programs introduced to support women leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, persecuted religious minorities, LGBTI individuals and family members of previously resettled interpreters.  

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Re-opening of border to Non-US citizens and Permanent Residents still expected to be allowed in early September 

Travel for fully-vaccinated individuals other than U.S. citizens and permanent residents is expected to be allowed on September 7, 2021. If the epidemiology for COVID-19 in Canada remains favourable, the Canadian government intends to open Canada's border for discretionary travel (i.e. visits not currently permitted) by travelers from any country who have been fully vaccinated with Government of Canada-approved vaccines at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. This would be subject to any country-specific travel bans in place at the time.

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US Immigration Update 

COVID-19 Vaccinations Required for immigrant applications: Starting on October 1, 2021, applicants for immigrant or refugee status, as well as non-immigrants who are required to have an overseas medical examination as part of their visa application process will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Applicants who are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines because of their age, or a medical contraindication, or who are in a country where the COVID-19 vaccine is not routinely available, would be eligible for a waiver from the requirement. Applicants may also request a waiver based on religious or moral convictions by submitting a request to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (not to the panel physician). An applicant who refuses the COVID-19 vaccine where it is medically appropriate and available to the applicant would be considered inadmissible to the U.S.

US Land border with Canada remains restricted: Despite the announcements from the Canadian government to allow U.S. citizen and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated to enter Canada for discretionary purposes, the U.S. government has not made a reciprocal announcement and the land border with Canada remains restricted to 'essential travel,' regardless of vaccination status.  The U.S. land Border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least September 21, 2021.

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Express Entry Update August 2021 
The pattern of Express Entry draws has remained consistent in August, with two rounds of invitation for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and two for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). There have not been any invitations issued to Federal Skilled Workers or Federal Skilled Trades applicants since March 2020. As of August 16, 2021, there are just over 36,000 candidates in the Express Entry pool with CRS points of between 451-500, which is likely where our applicants for economic immigration will continue to be drawn from for the remainder of 2021. 

On August 4, 512 invitations were issued to candidates in the PNP with CRS scores of 760 or higher, followed by a draw on August 5, in which 3000 invitations were issued to candidates in the CEC with CRS scores of 404 or higher.

On August 18, 463 invitations were issued to candidates in the PNP with CRS scores of 751 or higher, followed by a draw on August 19, 3000 invitations were issued to candidates in the CEC with CRS scores of 403 or higher.

Provincial Nominee Programs Update - Ontario and British Columbia 

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP) has issued a number of invitations to apply for nomination to targeted groups of applicants in August. On August 24 and on August 10, 2021 there were 'Tech Draws' where invitations issued to applicants with job offers in the 29 BC PNP Tech occupations. On August 17, applicants in the Skills Immigration, Express Entry BC categories as well as the Entrepreneur Immigration Base and Regional Pilot program registrants. August 3 also saw a draw inviting applicants in the Skills Immigration and Express Entry categories. 

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The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program ("OINP") conducted a target draw for the Economic Mobility Pathways Project ("EMPP") Candidates and issued 1 invitation on August 6, 2021. The EMPP program was launched by IRCC in April 2018 and aimed to identify approximately 10 to 15 skilled refugees in the Middle East and East Africa who meet the requirements of Canada's economic immigration programs. Refugee candidates with strong economic settlement potential were referred to participating jurisdictions for possible nomination by an existing PNP or under the Atlantic Immigrant Pilot Program. 
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