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Back to the blog September 13, 2021

Fall Updates – Canadian Immigration

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by: Anin Setyo

As Canada continues its efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see regular program and policy updates affecting Canadian immigration. As of September 2021, here are four major updates of interest:

Reopening the border to fully vaccinated travelers

While the majority of travelers are still subject to travel restrictions, Canada has begun its reopening plan. This includes:

• As of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents can travel for discretionary purposes.

• As of September 7, 2021, all other foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated can travel for discretionary purposes. Foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated will continue to be required to meet an exemption or be travelling for non-discretionary purposes.

Additionally, all travelers who meet the fully vaccinated exemption criteria are also exempt from quarantine and day-8 testing requirement.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons continue to be permitted to enter Canada, subject to health screening measures.

New temporary public policy allowing certain graphic designers to work in Canada

A temporary public policy has been issued to provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption to facilitate the issuance of work permits to eligible foreign graphic designers who are coming to Canada to undertake work activities for productions of live-action television and film projects. The policy is in effect from September 10, 2021 to March 09, 2022, with the objective of helping the TV and film industry meet immediate staffing needs in support of its COVID-19 recovery efforts.

To be eligible under this public policy, a foreign national must:
• intend to work in an occupation in unit group 5241 – Graphic designers and illustrators (this may include VFX artists),

• intend to perform work for one or more named live-action television or film productions being filmed in whole or in part in Canada, whether at the pre-production, production or post-production stage, and

• provide a letter from the employer to attest details of the named productions, the importance of foreign national’s presence to the productions described, the wage that the foreign national will be paid, and that the productions satisfy the criteria for the Canadian government’s tax credit.

This policy also clarifies the requirement for the role to be at or above the median wage for NOC 5241 in the specific community or area of work, as specified on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank site.

Special measures for Afghanistan

As of August 23, 2021, Canada has put in place a temporary measure for those affected by the escalating situation in Afghanistan. This measure includes:

-Priority processing – where requests should be placed ahead of the queue for:

  • Afghan citizens outside Canada who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, or Canadian permanent residents and have made or will make
  • – a family class application for permanent residence or
  • -an application for temporary residence
  • protected persons applications for permanent residence received from Afghan citizens where the spouse or partner and any children are currently residing outside of Canada
  • dependants of resettled Afghan refugees

– Fee waiver

We note that clients who apply online have to self-identify through the dedicated mailbox and are required to provide identity documents and documentary evidence substantiating their eligibility (where available).

Parents and Grandparents

For Canadians or Permanent Residents interested to bring their parents or grandparents to Canada permanently, Canada’s highly anticipated Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) 2021 will accept up to 30,000 applications.

As per previous years, those interested will receive a randomly-issued invitation, prior to submitting their complete application. The unique aspect of the process this year is that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will send invitations to potential sponsors who have already submitted an interest to sponsor form last year (2020). There is no known update regarding opening of the interest to sponsor form for the 2021 year.

We also note that income requirements by the sponsor will continue to be the minimum necessary income, instead of the minimum necessary income plus 30%, and will allow regular employment insurance benefits and temporary COVID-19 benefits, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, to be included towards the sponsor’s income. This measure will ensure that applicants are not penalized for losing income during the pandemic.

Should you wish to learn more about the above policies or how we can help your family or business with an immigration matter, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our immigration team at immigration@bellalliance.ca.