Customs & Immigration

Refugee deal with U.S.

Almost simultaneously with the arrival in Ottawa of President Joe Biden today, it’s reported that Canada and the U.S. have an agreement permitting them to turn away asylum seekers at their borders. Disclosed by an official in Washington, the agreement evidently is scheduled to be signed before Biden heads home March 24. [node:read-more:link]

Canada closing in on 40 million

Driven mainly by the federal government’s aggressive immigration policies since 2015, Canada’s population increased by a record annual 1.05 million in 2022, Statistics Canada reported today. It meant that the population at year’s end was 39.57 million as the country retained its position as the fastest-growing G7 state. [node:read-more:link]

Free visas for Ukrainians extended

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser announced today that Ukrainians and their families now have until July 15 to apply for a free visitor visa which enables them to work and study for up to three years. The previous deadline was March 31. [node:read-more:link]

Nexus ramping back up

The federal government said March 20 that it expects that the Nexus trusted-traveller program with the U.S. to be back in full operation in about a month. Registration for the program has been on hold for nearly a year, partly because of bureaucratic and legal issues, resulting in backlogged applications. Enrolment centres will reopen at the Halifax and Winnipeg airports on March 27, followed by Vancouver April 3, Calgary and Edmonton April 12, Montreal April 17 and Toronto and Ottawa April 24. [node:read-more:link]

Finland’s “barbed wire curtain”

A three-metre fence topped with barbed wire is being built along Finland’s eastern border because it “cannot rely” on Russia to maintain security. The construction is part of an effort by Finland and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to fence off the European Union against illegal immigration from Belarus as well as Russia. [node:read-more:link]

EU shelving Chinese virus tests

European Union states have agreed to phase out by the end of February their requirement that Chinese visitors have a pre-departure coronavirus test. When China eased its policies January 8, the EU initially failed to agree on a unified response. [node:read-more:link]

Alleged ISIS repatriations naïve?

The federal government’s agreement to repatriate Canadians detained in Syria on suspicion of involvement in the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is a concern for some of the 1,200 Yazidis who fled to Canada when ISIS destroyed their community in northern Iraq. Lawyers for the detainees contend there is no link to terrorism, saying that if the federal government does have evidence, it should prosecute in a Canadian court. Some Yazidis believe that the government and human rights organizations are naïve. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta dropping immigration detentions

The Alberta government gave notice today of its plan to scrap an agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency to detain persons awaiting immigration approval. “The change comes in response to concerns about using correctional facilities to hold people who haven’t been charged with a criminal offence, nor convicted of one,” it said in a statement. The decision takes effect at the end of June. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian MPs lament Afghan killing

An interparty group of Canadian Members of Parliament was working to bring a former Afghanistan MP, Mursal Nabizada, to Canada before she was murdered in Kabul on the weekend. Police say Nabizada and her bodyguard were killed at her home by unknown gunmen. [node:read-more:link]

Record immigrant intake in 2022

Canada accepted a record 431,645 new permanent residents in 2022 as the government moves toward an annual intake of 500,000 by mid-decade. “It is a testament to the strength and resilience of our country and its people.,” says Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser. “Newcomers play an essential role in filling labour shortages, bringing new perspectives and talents to our communities, and enriching our society as a whole.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada requiring Chinese coronavirus testing

Beginning January 5 for an initial 30 days, Canada will require air travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong or Macao to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than two days before their departure. The measure announced December 31 by the Public Health Agency of Canada echoes decisions taken by the U.S. and other countries in response to a surge in confirmed cases in China. [node:read-more:link]

WHO says virus checks “understandable”

The World Health Organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says other countries’ requirements that visitors from China have pre-travel coronavirus tests are “understandable” as China grapples with a surge in confirmed cases. He also said December 29 there has been an “absence of comprehensive data” from Beijing, but the foreign ministry insisted that it has been sharing relevant information with the international community. [node:read-more:link]

Canada “monitoring” Chinese virus situation

While the U.S. and other countries prepare to implement new coronavirus testing protocols for Chinese visitors, the Public Health Agency of Canada said December 28 that it will “monitor and assess” the situation before taking further action. “Travellers continue to be advised to maintain enhanced health precautions and follow public health measures at their ports of entry,” it says. “Any other updates will be communicated to travellers through a travel health notice.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. to require coronavirus testing

Effective January 5, Chinese visitors to the U.S. must show a negative Covid-19 test result no more than two days before they fly direct or through gateways such as Vancouver and Toronto. Announced today, the requirement is in response to a surge in confirmed cases after Beijing’s rapid relaxation of internal restrictions. [node:read-more:link]


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