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Canada Immigration Update

Canada to ease travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals:  Starting midnight EST July 5, 2021, Canada enters Phase 1 of easing border measures for travelers. Fully vaccinated travelers who are eligible to enter Canada will not be required to quarantine on entry. There are a number of nuances to the definitions in this announcement that can have a significant impact on individual families/travelers.

Who is 'eligible to enter Canada'?

1) Individuals with right of entry (Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act) and

2) Foreign nationals eligible to enter Canada under the current travel restrictions (generally speaking foreign workers, students and other exempt individuals)

What does 'fully vaccinated' mean?

1) the traveler must have received the full series of a vaccine that is approved by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering

2) the traveler must have proof of vaccination in English or French (or with a certified translation)

3) the traveler may have received the vaccine in any country and

4) currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZenera/COVISHIELD and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). This list of accepted vaccines may expand in the future.

NOTE: Children who are traveling with fully vaccinated parents but who are not themselves vaccinated are required to quarantine and to do a COVID Test on day 8 after arrival. They are not required to go to a hotel to quarantine.

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Individuals with Approved Confirmation of Permanent Residence can now travel to Canada:  As of June 21, 2021, individuals who are outside of Canada with approved permanent residence applications and valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) can now travel to Canada in order to be granted permanent resident status. This has not been possible since the beginning of the pandemic, leaving many individuals and families waiting outside Canada after having been approved for permanent residence. 

CoPRs are generally valid for 12 months, and the expiry is tied to the validity of the passport and medical clearances. Individuals whose CoPR has expired should not attempt to travel to Canada without first obtaining a new CoPR from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 

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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 July 21, 2021, including travelers from the U.S. with notable exemptions for fully vaccinated individuals. These restrictions may be extended at any time. COVID-testing requirements remain in place for land borders and air travel. 

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US Immigration Update 

USCIS extends its deadline extension policy:  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending its COVID-10 emergency policy to September 30, 2021. This policy was was introduced to allow for accommodations of RFEs (Request for Evidence), NOIDs (Notice of Intent to Deny), Notice of intent to terminate EB-5 regional investment centres, Appeals and other responses. The policy gives petitioners and applicants an additional 60 days to respond these requests. 

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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
June saw four rounds of invitations issued to candidates in the Express Entry Pool. On June 9, 2021, there were 940 invitations issued to applicants in the Provincial Nominee Class with CRS points of 711 or higher. On June 10, 2021 there were 6000 invitations issued to Canadian Experience Class Applicants with CRS Points of 368 or higher. On June 23, 2021 there were 1002 invitations issued to Provincial Nominee Program Applicants with CRS Points of 742 or higher. On June 242021 there were 6000 invitations issued to Canadian Experience Class Applicants with CRS Points of 357or 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. Larger draws in both the Canadian Experience Class AND the Provincial Nominee Programs make this a very attractive time to apply for permanent residence for in-Canada applicants. 

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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