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Canada Immigration Update

Pathway to Permanent Residence for Essential Workers and International Students: On May 6, 2021, IRCC opened the highly anticipated Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence Pathway ("TR to PR Pathway"). This program allows 90,000 individuals to apply for permanent residence and will remain open to intake until the caps on the various streams are met, or November 5, 2021, whichever is sooner. The program allows for 20,000 applications from eligible health care workers, 30,000 applications for other eligible essential workers and 40,0000 applications from eligible international students. Within 2 days, the International student stream had met its cap, and currently no more applications can be received in that category. However there remains room in the health care (1610 out of 20,000 received) and non-health care essential worker (11,000 out of 30,000 received) streams as well as all of the parallel streams created for French speakers.

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Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Update:  On May 14, 2021, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program ("OINP") announced that it has received an allocation of 8.350 nominations for 2021 plus an additional 250 nominations specifically for temporary foreign workers in intermediate skills occupations (National Occupational Classification - Skill Level C). This is a notable increase over previous years and is a sign of continued demand for provincial nomination by employers and skilled workers.

May was a busy month for the OINP. On May 18 and on May 26, 2021, the OINP issued invitations to international students who are candidates in the Expression of Interest system pool with qualifying job offers from Ontario employers. On May 25, 2021, the OINP issued invitations to skilled workers in the Expression of Interest pool who have qualifying job offers from Ontario employers. 

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Extension of Travel Restrictions: Canada has extended the travel restrictions and Mandatory Isolation Order for all travelers seeking entry into Canada until June 21, 2021, including travelers from the U.S. These restrictions may be extended at any time. Hotel quarantine requirements remain in place for non-essential air travelers to Canada. COVID-testing requirements remain in place for land borders and air travel. 

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US Immigration Update 

USCIS Eases Visitor Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated Individuals On May 27, 2021, based on updated guidance from the Centre for Disease Control, USCIS updated its visitor policy to allow fully vaccinated individuals who enter their offices to no longer where a face covering. To be considered fully vaccinated, it must be at least two weeks after the person has received his or her second dose in a tow-dose series or at least two weeks after receiving a dose of a single-dose vaccine. 

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Travel Restrictions announced for travelers from India:  On April 30, 2021, President Biden issued "A Proclamation of the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019" which suspended the entry into the United States as nonimmigrants, who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding their entry to the US. The travel restriction does not apply to lawful permanent residents of the United States, US citizens, as well as a number of other exemptions for certain dependent family members. Despite the exemption from the travel ban, access to commercial air  travel options has made it challenging for US Citizens and Permanent Residents to return to the US from India since that country began to see a significant increase in its COVID-19 related cases. 

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US Land border with Canada remains restricted: The U.S. land border continues to limit access to 'essential travelers', which includes US citizens, LPRs and foreign nationals entering for an identifiable essential purpose. Canadians seeking entry solely for a vaccine without confirmation from their primary physician that their entry to the US is necessary for medical purposes may not be considered to be essential and could be denied entry to the US. There is currently no exemption for vaccinated individuals. 

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Express Entry February Update
May saw four rounds of invitations issued to candidates in the Express Entry Pool. On May 12, 2021, there were 557 invitations issued to applicants in the Provincial Nominee Class with CRS points of 752 or higher. On May 13, 2021 there were 4147 invitations issued to Canadian Experience Class Applicants with CRS Points of 401 or higher. On May 20, 2021 there were 1842 invitations issued to Canadian Experience Class Applicants with CRS Points of 397 or higher. On May 26, 2021 there were 500 invitations issued to Provincial Nominee Program Applicants with CRS Points of 713 or higher. 

The CRS points required for an invitation to apply have hit historic lows, and we are seeing applicants in the Canadian Experience and Provincial Nominee Classes who were previously not competitive have an opportunity to apply for permanent residence.

There have still been no rounds of invitation that include Federal Skilled Workers or Federal Skills Trades in 2021. We expect this trend to continue while COVID-19 related travel restrictions remain in place and the focus is on in-Canada applicants. 
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