If you’re Australian and you had plans to travel to Canada, whether for tourism, work, or studies, you’re likely aware of the international travel restrictions being caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. 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.
COVID-19: Travel restrictions for Australians moving to Canada
It’s now been more than four months 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;
- 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 may still request to see proof of a connection to Canada like employment, housing, or family, when boarding);
- international students who hold a valid study permit, or who had been approved for a study permit when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020, or who are coming from the United States, and who are entering for a non-discretionary purpose;
- 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).
There are a handful of other exceptional exemptions listed here.
Mandatory Quarantine: As of March 26, anyone entering Canada will be forced to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Canada’s Health Minister has announced that this quarantine will be enforced and that those breaking quarantine may be subject to fines and jail time. Certain exemptions will be made for essential workers. (Source: CBC)
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.
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.