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
As of March 21, 2020, most Australians are banned from entering Canada due to travel restrictions imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus. The travel restrictions will not apply to the following groups:
- Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents;
- Immediate family members* of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents (the spouse or common-law partner of the person; a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; a dependent child of a dependent child; a parent, step-parent, or guardian);
- seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers;
- international students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020;
- permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada
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. If you were approved for your Working Holiday, even if you have your Letter of Introduction, you cannot enter Canada at this time. If you’ve been approved for a Canadian study permit after March 18, 2020, you won’t be able to travel to Canada for your studies just yet.
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. When you are finally able to complete your move to Canada from Australia, it may also be recommended that you ensure your insurance policy includes cover for pandemics.