Customs & Immigration

Coronavirus confirmed in U.S.

The first case of the potentially deadly Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S. has been reported in Seattle. The federal Centers for Disease Control says the patient, in his 30s, had traveled from Wuhan in Hubei province, where the virus first was identified in December. [node:read-more:link]

Tighter YVR security screening

An outbreak of coronavirus in China has resulted in more stringent screening of passengers arriving at Vancouver International Airport. Also, the Public Health Agency of Canada in introducing arrivals-screen messages reminding travelers from Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the outbreak has claimed a number of lives, that they must advise Canada Border Services Agency personnel if they have any flu-like symptoms. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. seeks Canada-style trade pact

Having succeeded in taking Britain out of the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson evidently is focusing his attention on getting the same kind of trade pact as the EU has with Canada. He told a Greenwich audience 03 February that if those negotiations don’t bear fruit, he is prepared to fall back on a Withdrawal Agreement signed by both sides in November 2018. [node:read-more:link]

Jamaicans deported by U.K.

Seventeen convicted criminals have been deported to Jamaica from Britain amidst an ongoing debate about how foreign nationals, even though found guilty of violence offences, are treated by the justice system. Deportation of 25 others has been blocked by a court order which is being challenged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. admits border discrimination

Mark Norman, acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has admitted that his officers had wrongly detained and interrogated Iranian-born travelers at the Canada-U.S. border. He says the issue, which had been denied for several weeks, has been addressed.  [node:read-more:link]

NY jurisdictional squabble

U.S. federal enrolment in expedited travel security programs in New York have been suspended because a New York state law prevents federal access to driver’s licence information. The law was designed to facilitate licensing of undocumented residents but Department of Homeland Security policy means the state’s residents now can’t apply for or re-enroll in trusted traveller programs. [node:read-more:link]

Asylum-seekers turned back

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 20 March that asylum-seekers trying to enter the country away from official border crossings will be returned to the U.S., part of a government-wide effort to contain COVID-19. Migrants have continued to arrive in a steady flow at one point in Quebec and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that although they do not represent a higher public health risk, monitoring and isolating them would be problematic. Trudeau said they are mostly persons who are legally in the U.S. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: U.S. emulates Canada

Effective Jan. 26 and in line with a policy already implemented by Canada, U.S.-bound airline passengers now will need proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days prior to their departure. “Combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible,” says Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. visa exemption for Canadians

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been directed to exempt Canadians from new restrictions on foreign professionals’ access, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association. An executive order announced 22 June by the White House blocks entry for most H, J and L visa holders for at least the rest of 2020; President Donald Trump’s rationale is that it would provide job opportunities for U.S. citizens. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian border control extended

Rules barring most foreign travelers from entering Canada have been extended by a month until at least 31 July as the federal government steps up its COVID-19 countermeasures. The restrictions apply to everyone except Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and U.S. citizens entering Canada for “essential” reasons. Closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all but essential workers and trade is covered by a separate order. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: new air travel rule

Effective Jan. 7, all visitors aged five years or older who arrive by air will have to have tested negative for COVID-19 within a 72-hour period before boarding the aircraft. The customary 14-day quarantine period on arrival in Canada will continue to apply. [node:read-more:link]

NAFTA 2.0 clears Congress

The U.S. Senate voted 89-10 on final congressional approval 16 January of a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, rebranded by President Donald Trump as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump is expected to sign the bill next week.  [node:read-more:link]

Penalties for ignoring isolation advice

The federal government is considering criminal penalties for travelers who ignore COVID-19 self-isolation recommendations on their return to Canada. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says “every measure in our toolbox” is being considered, including “monetary penalties up to and including criminal penalties” provided for in the Quarantine Act. [node:read-more:link]

Mandatory quarantine for most returnees

Effective at midnight 25 March, most travelers returning home to Canada are legally required to self-quarantine for 14 days, the only exception being essential workers. Confirmed by Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the measure designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 is the government’s response to situations in which some returnees essentially ignored requests that they go into voluntary self-isolation. [node:read-more:link]


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