Foreign Students - Online Study and eligibility for a Post-Graduate Work Permit: Students can now complete up to 100% of their Canadian education program online from outside Canada while remaining eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit. Time spent studying outside Canada between March 2020 up to December 31, 2021 will count towards the eligibility for and length of a future Post-graduate work permit. This allowance has been made in addition to other policies directly aimed at supporting and retaining foreign students in Canada in their pathway to permanent residence.
To read more: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/updates/2021-covid-pgwpp.html
Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Update:The demand for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program ("OINP") remains high. In 2020 The program had a total nomination allocation of 7600, which was met in November. The federal government granted an additional 450 nomination spaces to the OINP which were also met before the end of 2020. The OINP has many streams, including Employer Support Streams for High Skilled Workers and Foreign Students, streams for PhD and Masters students, Express Entry programs (Skilled Trades, Human Capital Priorities and French-Speaking Skilled Worker Streams) as well as an Entrepreneur Stream. The new 'Expression of Interest' application system is expected to launch in Spring 2021.
To read more: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2021-ontario-immigrant-nominee-program-updates
Work without a work permit for Foreign Medical Students:On March 22, 2021, IRCC announced that certain eligible students in a health field at a school outside of Canada can request authorization to work in Canada without a work permit. Foreign nationals who have not yet completed the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and who are seeking to enter Canada for a short term medical elective or clinical clerkship at a medical teaching institution in Canada, and who will return to their foreign institution may be eligible. Relevant Programs of study include medicine (including dentistry) occupational and physical therapy, medical technology, nursing and other professions in human health care should be eligible for this program. Medical residents who have finished the MD are not eligible.
To read more: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/temporary-residents/foreign-workers/work-without-permit/authorization-work-without-work-permit-health-care-students.html
Extension of Travel Restrictions:Canada has extended the travel restrictions and Mandatory Isolation Order for all travelers seeking entry into Canada until April 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.
To read more: travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/border
US Immigration Update
COVID Testing Rules for Air TravelersAll air passengers age two and older traveling to the U.S. must be tested for COVID-19 no more than three days before their flight. Travelers must show proof of their negative results before boarding their plan. This rule includes U.S. citizens and everyone who has already been vaccinated.
To read more: https://www.usa.gov/covid-passports-and-travel
Extension of Travel Restrictions:The U.S. has extended its travel restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico through to April 21, 2021. These restrictions do not apply to air travel. Essential travel is permitted, and includes travel by U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and foreign nationals traveling to work in the United Statues.
To read more: https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/coronavirus
Vice President Harris tasked with overseeing influx of migrants at the Mexican Border: On March 25, 2021, President Biden tasked Vice President Kamala Harries with overseeing the administration's efforts to check in the influx of migrants at the U.S./Mexico border. Unaccompanied children seeking to enter the US are of particular concern. There are currently 15,000 unaccompanied minor children in the custody of United States Department of Health and Human Services and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
To read more: https://www.thequint.com/amp/story/news/world/vp-harris-to-tackle-us-border-influx-how-difficult-is-the-job
Express Entry February Update
After the record-breaking round of invitations under the Canadian Experience Class in February (over 27,000 invitations issued to candidates with CRS of 75 or higher), March seems to be a return to a more status quo approach to invitations. On March 8, 2021, there were 671 invitations issued to applicants of the Provincial Nominee program with CRS Scores of 739 or higher. On March 17, 2021, there were 183 invitations issued to Provincial Nominee applicants with CRS scores of 682 or higher.
On March 18, 2021, IRCC issued 5000 Invitations to applicants in the Canadian Experience Class with CRS Points of 449 or higher.
The February round of invitees are now filing, or have filed, their applications for permanent residence which is going to increase the intake of applications to levels not seen since the inception of Express Entry. IRCC is sending out notices to applicants with pending applications that processing times are expected to increase.
Applicants waiting for PR under this program would be wise to review their plans for extending their temporary resident status (work permits or other) in anticipation of a 'less than express' processing window.