If you’re Australian and you had plans to travel to Canada, whether for tourism, work, or studies, the pandemic has likely thrown a wrench in your plans. COVID-19 is causing extraordinary changes to Canadian immigration. We are here to break down what this means for Australians who want to move to Canada.
- Considering a move to Toronto after COVID-19? Want to connect with some Aussies in the area? Check out the Aussies in Toronto group on Facebook!
COVID-19: Travel restrictions for Australians moving to Canada
It’s now been nearly one year since most Australians were banned from entering Canada due to travel restrictions imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus. This ban, of course, has impacted all foreign nationals, not just Australians.
As per initial announcements, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will have the ability to cross into Canada, whether by aircraft or by the land border with the U.S. However, several exceptions were confirmed through IRCC’s announcement.
The following groups can cross the border into Canada whether by air or by land:
- Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents;
- immediate family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who are travelling to Canada for non-discretionary reasons;
- extended family members and long-term partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents (or their partners) who apply for written authorization from IRCC;
- immediate family members of temporary residents in Canada who receive written authorization from IRCC;
- temporary workers who hold a valid work permit or who are approved for a work permit but have not yet been issued the work permit (please note that flagpoling is not permitted at this time, refer below for more details);
- IEC participants who have not yet activated their work permits must have a valid job offer in order to enter, this job offer does not need to be in an essential sector (Source: IRCC);
- IEC participants who have already activated their work permits and were outside the country temporarily do not require a valid job offer in order to re-enter (Source: IRCC; note that anecdotal reports suggest airline staff and border officers may still deny entry without proof of a connection to Canada like employment, housing, or family);
- international students attending a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that is on the approved list (schools which have a COVID-19 readiness plan) and have either a valid study permit or a letter of introduction showing that they’ve been approved for a study permit (Source: IRCC);
- COPR-holders with a valid COPR who are residing in any country other than the United States and were approved for their COPR before 12pm EDT on March 18, 2020, and who are travelling to Canada to settle permanently (Source: IRCC);
- COPR-holders with a valid COPR who are residing in the United States and were approved on any date (even after March 18, 2020) and who are travelling to Canada to settle permanently (Source: IRCC);
- those granted special permission to enter for compassionate reasons.
There are a handful of other exceptional exemptions listed here.
This means that if you’re Australian and you don’t fall into one of those groups, you will not be able to enter Canada.
It’s unclear how long this travel ban will remain in effect. The length of the ban will be responsive to the progression of the public health crisis. For the most recent updates regarding the travel ban, please refer to our COVID-19 newsfeed.
If you do choose to travel to Canada at this time, there are strict requirements for entry. First, ensure that you are allowed to enter Canada (refer to the section above on who can and cannot enter at this time). If you meet an exemption to the travel restrictions, you will need the following in order to enter:
- Negative COVID-19 test (air travel only): As of January 7, 2021, all travellers arriving in Canada by air need to show negative COVID-19 test results prior to boarding their flight. The test results must be no more than 72 hours old at the time of boarding. Obtaining test results is the responsibility of the traveller. If the travelling is coming from a country that does not have testing available, they may be granted entry on the provision that they report to a designated government quarantine facility for their 14-day quarantine period. Full details available on the Transport Canada website.
- Mandatory Quarantine & Isolation Plan: Currently, anyone entering Canada will be forced to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine. You must prepare an isolation plan in advance of arrival in Canada detailing where and how you will complete your quarantine. This quarantine is being enforced and those breaking quarantine may be subject to fines and jail time. Certain exemptions will be made for essential workers and in certain compassionate situations (Source: IRCC). Select locations in Canada are trialing a new format for mandatory quarantine with reduced mandatory isolation combined with testing.
- ArriveCAN app: All those travelling to Canada by air will have to use the ArriveCAN app to submit information regarding their travel/contact info, quarantine plan, and COVID-19 self-assessment (Source: Canada.ca).
COVID-19: The case for travel insurance
The coronavirus pandemic represents one of the reasons why you need to be sure that you’re covered by a good insurance plan when you travel to Canada. With a robust travel insurance package, you can travel with confidence, knowing that you will be covered in the event of an emergency. From hospital stays to repatriation back to another country, the coronavirus has shown us just how unpredictable health emergencies can be.
When the travel restrictions for Canada are lifted, which we expect to happen in the future, though the timing is unknown, you may need travel insurance for your time in Canada. International Experience Canada (IEC) participants, including those on the Working Holiday program, require mandatory insurance upon arrival in Canada, as do parents and grandparents travelling on Super Visas. If you plan to come to Canada as a permanent resident, or on a work or study permit, it may be recommended to purchase travel insurance.
To be kept up to date on your insurance options for moving to Canada from Australia as soon as the restrictions are eased, please complete this form.