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Canada is set to extend travel restrictions on most foreign travellers for another month, to the end of August.
The federal government has issued an Order in Council dated July 30, extending the travel restrictions to August 31.
The restrictions, barring entry to all except citizens and permanent residents – with some exemptions – was due to expire at the end of July.
The restrictions cover travellers arriving from a foreign country other than the United States. The travel ban affecting the Canada-U.S. border is covered by a separate agreement, that currently expires on August 21. However, with coronavirus cases spiking south of the border, it is likely to be extended.
The following people can currently travel to Canada:
- Citizens and permanent residents.
- Work permit holders travelling for non-optional and non-discretionary reasons.
- International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, on March 18, 2020, who are travelling for non-optional and non-discretionary reasons.
- Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
- Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Anyone entering Canada is still required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival and provide CBSA officers with a viable quarantine plan. The quarantine order also expires at the end of June and is also expected to be extended.
The latest available figures show Canada welcomed nearly 11,000 new permanent residents in May, the first sign of recovery since coronavirus restrictions severely limited arrivals.
While the increase is a sign of the start of the recovery, it is also an indication that immigration officials are processing virtual permanent resident arrivals in increasing numbers.
Officials were able to process 5,000 virtual arrivals in a week in June, showing their ability to maintain numbers despite the crisis.
New ‘arrivals’ can either be candidates already in Canada transitioning from a temporary status, or those from overseas who were approved before March 18 and are therefore exempt from travel restrictions.
Despite the green shoots of recovery emerging, immigration numbers remain significantly below pre-coronavirus levels.
February 2020 saw 28,895 arrivals, while 33,015 permanent residents arrived in May 2019. Up to the end of May, Canada has welcomed a total of 84,275 new permanent residents so far in 2020, compared to 125,870 by the same point last year.
It means Canada is increasingly unlikely to reach its target of 341,000 new permanent resident arrivals in 2020.