Customs & Immigration

Afghan evacuee plan sparks protest

About 100 resettled Afghan interpreters gathered in Ottawa Aug. 3 to ask the federal government to rescue extended families and former colleagues who remain under threat from the Taliban. The U.S. already has begun evacuations while Canada’s program seems stuck in bureaucratic limbo after more than a month of discussions. [node:read-more:link]

CBSA contract talks resume

Days after confirming that Canada Border Services Agency employees had voted in favour of strike action as early as Aug. 6, their unions resumed contract talks July 29 with Treasury Board. “The government is clearly concerned about . . . the possibility of major disruptions at the border,” said Public Service Alliance of Canada President Chris Aylward. “They need to bring a new mandate to address major workplace issues.” [node:read-more:link]

CBSA unions vote to strike

More than 8,500 Canada Border Services Agency employees have voted in favour of strike action, which could begin as early as Aug. 6, two days before the border is reopened to fully vaccinated U.S. residents. The Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union acknowledged today that while many staff could be deemed essential, a strike could impact commercial traffic. [node:read-more:link]

Biden frees funds for Afghan rescue

Up to $100 million from an emergency fund to meet “unexpected urgent” needs of Afghan refugees, including special immigration visas, was approved July 23 by U.S. President Joe Biden. He also has authorized the release of $200 million in services and articles from government agencies’ inventories as the U.S. prepares to prevent thousands of Afghan allies and their families from being captured and potentially executed by the Taliban. [node:read-more:link]

Fake proof of vaccination a cause of concern

Multiple reports of fake vaccine cards and passports are emerging, leading Canadians to worry that non-vaccinated Americans will be trying to cross the border. On 20 July 2021, Canada Border Services said that 237 travellers who had arrived in Canada by air, and 354 who had arrived by land, were referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada for “issues related to their proof of vaccination.” [node:read-more:link]

Afghan nationals coming “very shortly”

The government announced today that “special immigration measures” to rescue Afghans who helped during Canada’s combat mission as well as those still assisting diplomatic staff even as the Taliban continue to grain ground. “Lives hang in the balance here,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Marco Mendocino said in a news conference with Defence Minister  Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Garneau, explaining that the initiative is not limited to interpreters. “Canada will do right by those who did right by us.” [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Britain opening up

The British government has dropped COVID-19 restrictions in most of the country despite a surge in infections, mainly the more aggressive Delta variant. England is opening up fastest but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which manage their own health care systems, are taking a slower approach. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Australia returns to lockdown

Half of the Australian population is under new COVID-10 lockdowns as the government tries to cope with new outbreaks. Fewer than 14 per cent of the population have been vaccinated, the lowest rate among industrialized countries, as the country relied on early quarantine measures and border closures. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Border set to reopen

Fully-vaccinated visitors from the U.S. will be permitted to enter Canada Aug. 9 with visigtors from other countries to follow Sept. 7. Federal officials also announced today that unvaccinated children younger than 12 also will be permitted to enter from the U.S. Aug. 9 and can move around with their parents subject to provincial and local public health measures. [node:read-more:link]

Canada sucking up U.S. techies

The U.S. business community says partisan squabbling which is frustrating efforts to update immigration laws are contributing to a worrisome brain-drain. They aired their concerns at a congressional hearing, focusing mainly on the loss high-technology workers to Canada. “We're stuck in a time warp,” California Republican Representative Zoe Logren agreed. “It's like driving around with a 30-year-old paper map while others easily navigate the road with turn-by-turn directions from their smartphones.” [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Border to remain closed?

U.S. COVID-19 infection rates have more than doubled in the past two weeks with the advent of the Delta variant. Coupled with stalled vaccination rates, it could justify keeping the Canadian border closed to most visitors after July 21 despite pressure from several business sectors. With a week to go, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reiterated that the government remains “cautious” about reopening the border. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: No unvaccinated tourists

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said July 8 that it will be “quite a while” before Canada welcomes any tourists who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. “We need to continue to ensure that the safety of Canadians, of all the sacrifices that so many people have made over the past many, many months, are not for nothing,” he said July 8, addressing presume from the tourism industry to reopen borders.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said July 8 that it will be “quite a while” before Canada welcomes any tourists who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. [node:read-more:link]

“Weird” immigration law problematic

Section 34 of Canada’s Immigration Act, which states that anyone who acted to overthrow a democratically-elected government, is presenting a huge hurdle for an Ivory Coast refugee facing deportation. Mamadou Konaté originally was deemed “imadmissible” because of his involvement in a civil war 20 years ago. His lawyer says Section 34 technically means that Nelson Mandela and even opponents of Adolf Hitler could have been denied residency status by Canada. [node:read-more:link]

Drug trial has international twists

A Canadian national has been deported to the Netherlands from Taiwan to stand trial on charges that he oversaw a global methamphetamine cartel. Lawyers for Tse Chi Lop, who was arrested in Amsterdam in January and detained on a 2019 Australian warrant, say he was deported illegally as part of an international scheme to ensure a long sentence in the Dutch court. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: some travel restrictions to be eased

Quarantine restrictions are to be eased, beginning, July 5 for fully-vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada as long as they test negative for COVID-19. Announcing the relaxation today, the government said that with few exceptions, vaccinated foreigners still would be quarantined. [node:read-more:link]

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