Canada Continues Loosening COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for Immigrants
As COVID-19 measures begin easing up in many countries around the world, Canada is also loosening travel restrictions by allowing International Experience Canada (IEC) visa holders to enter the country.
Effective May 8, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is allowing those with a Working Holiday, Young Professional, or International Co-op IEC visa to come to live and work in Canada despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as they have a port of entry letter of introduction and have received a Canadian job offer.
The IEC visa provides young, international workers between the ages of 18 and 35 with temporary work permits. These permits allow them to legally live and seek employment in Canada for 12 to 24 months, depending on their country of citizenship.
The visa is available to residents of over 30 countries, however, the majority of participants tend to come from the following nations:
- New Zealand
- Costa Rica
- European Union member states
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
Conditions Put in Place
Upon arriving in Canada, IEC visa holders must legally self-quarantine for 14 days and provide authorities with their self-quarantine plan. Canada border services agency (CBSA) officers will also be checking for health insurance coverage at all ports of entry, so you will need to make sure you have sufficient coverage before traveling to Canada to avoid being denied entry.
As it stands, only four Canadian airports can receive international flights. This includes Vancouver (YVR), Calgary (YYC), Montreal (YUL), and Toronto (YYZ). Therefore, those who are traveling to Canada should plan to live and work/self-quarantine in these cities or the surrounding areas.
It’s also important to note that the travel exemption only applies to those who currently hold an IEC visa, as there will not be any new rounds of invitations sent out until further notice. However, the IRCC will continue to accept submissions of profiles into IEC pools, but applications will not be processed at this time due to service interruptions caused by the pandemic.
Note that any applications that are currently in process will not be closed or refused due to a lack of documentation or inability to meet the deadline. This includes providing biometrics or completing a medical exam.