News

Canada reopens border for fully vaccinated tourists

Starting September 7, fully vaccinated tourists from all countries will be allowed to fly to Canada again. Vaccinated U.S. tourists are already welcome in Canada as of August 9. Hotel quarantine will also be abolished as of August 9, and more airports will be opened for international flights.

Traveling as a tourist to Canada

Canada has announced that it will welcome tourists again! Vaccinated tourists with U.S. citizenship will be allowed to travel into the country starting August 9, and fully vaccinated tourists from all countries will be welcome starting September 7.

To be considered “fully vaccinated,” travelers must have the recommended dosage of a vaccine approved for use in Canada. The last shot must have been administered at least 14 days prior to entry. Currently, Canada accepts the following vaccine manufacturers: Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). All results must be submitted in French or English, otherwise, a certified translation is required.

Airlines will check that travelers coming to Canada have submitted their data via the ArriveCAN app before they are allowed to board.

Restrictions will not be adjusted for travelers who have not been vaccinated or have incomplete vaccinations. These individuals cannot travel to Canada as tourists unless specifically exempted. Unvaccinated travelers with an approved visa application such as a work permit, study permit, or permanent visa are usually allowed to travel under certain conditions but will have to comply with all testing and quarantine measures.

Testing Requirements

All travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, must still undergo molecular COVID-19 testing prior to travel to Canada. However, effective August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is modifying its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travelers. Testing after arrival in Canada will no longer be required, with the exception of random selection for molecular COVID-19 testing on day 1.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 but still test positive can have their test between 14 and 180 days before arrival. Previously, this was only 90 days. Otherwise, there are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers.

Quarantine Requirements

The requirement for three nights of hotel quarantine will be removed for all travelers arriving by air as of 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9. Fully vaccinated travelers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine; however, all travelers must still submit a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.

Canada will adjust the rules for children under 12 who are not eligible for a vaccine. Starting August 9, unvaccinated children of fully vaccinated travelers will no longer have to go through the full 14-day quarantine. They must still comply with all travel and testing requirements, including the test upon arrival and the test on day eight. Children should avoid group environments such as school and daycare during the two weeks following their arrival in Canada.

Airports for international flights

As of August 9, five other airports will also allow international flights again. Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton airports will now be open for international flights. Throughout the pandemic, the only airports accepting international arrivals were Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

Not a pleasant, but very important, topic: unreliable, fraudulent visa consultants and faulty, incorrect visa advice create distressing situations

We understand. You dream of a future abroad and the process towards it is incredibly complicated. You don’t want to take any risks when it comes to your future, so you may decide to call a specialist. An immigration consultant offers visa services, in the form of advice on your visa options, or assistance with your visa application for example. It just makes sense, that you trust the idea that everything is well taken care of by your consultant, and that this person has your best interests at heart. The visa is your ticket to your dream destination. So, when an expert is euphoric and tells you that it won’t be any problem to get a visa, you most likely assume that this is the truth. Because from an ethical point of view, the least you should be able to expect is that they are honest with you.

Unfortunately, there are still many “ghost consultants” who are not licensed and in that case nothing could be further from the truth. We are seeing things go wrong more and more often because of unqualified unlicensed consultants. With worrying regularity, we speak to people who have received incorrect advice and/or – even worse – have already paid a lot of money without getting any results.

First of all, let it be clear that there are a lot of good regulated and licensed consultants who do indeed have your best interests at heart. With the emphasis on ‘a lot’. If you start searching for a visa consultant, you will notice that the choice is enormous. It is therefore difficult to distinguish between ‘good and bad’.

Alarm bells

What you should definitely rely on is your gut feeling. In many cases, it is only afterwards that it becomes clear that your feeling was right. But, in the case of emigration, you can prevent a lot of misery by trusting not only your gut feeling but also by verifying infomration. Especially the latter – verification – is very important. Many factors should set your alarm bells ringing, but not everyone recognises them. What to look out for:

Visa options are only discussed by telephone

Both Australia and Canada have very strict immigration policies. Unfortunately, this also means that many people do not qualify for a visa. This is extremely disappointing, but it also makes you vulnerable. It is in human nature to ‘hear what you want to hear’ and to accept that as the truth. We regularly hear that people with a ‘low-skilled profile still receive positive advice from fraudulent visa consultants. What is striking is that this advice is often only given over the phone. Therefore, always make clear notes so that you can verify the advice with other parties. Even more important: ask the consultant in question for a clear, written (by e-mail) indication of your visa options.

No clear overview of costs

Once your visa options are clear and transparent, a detailed cost overview can also be provided. Recently, we have heard a lot that after the first contact with a consultant, people immediately receive a first invoice. Not knowing exactly what these costs are for. Often, this is a relatively low amount, but the subsequent and total costs are not clearly communicated. By paying the invoice, in many cases, you commit yourself to the relevant party and they start working for you. Unfortunately, we regularly hear that after the first contact, invoices with much higher amounts soon follow and that people do not know what these amounts represent. We even hear stories of people who were offered to pay extra fees so that they can be put on an urgency list. Watch out! In most cases, immigration does not work with urgency lists, with very few exceptions.

In short: ask for a clear cost overview and come to an agreement about the costs for services upfront. Make sure this is a fixed amount to avoid unpleasant surprises.

You are immediately asked for your credit card details

Talking about alarm bells… It seems to happen that immediately after the advice is given, you are asked for your credit card details. Parties indicate that in this way they can make an initial payment – which can be up to a few thousand dollars – and ‘start working for you immediately’. Don’t do this! Make sure you first receive an agreement that includes your rights and obligations, but also the payment conditions. If you agree, you can sign the agreement and start the visa procedure. You will then receive an invoice for the service fees. Fees for the visa application, which will be submitted to immigration and other associated organisations must generally be paid by credit card. Make sure you know the amounts involved upfront. Make sure you have clear agreements about the payment of these costs with your visa consultant. You will always receive a payment confirmation of each final payment made to an associated authority.

Guarantees

However much we would like to, we cannot give any guarantees. This applies to the processing times, but also the outcome of a visa application. We can of course indicate the processing times. However, various factors may cause delays. The visa application is handled by immigration. A case processing officer will make a decision. Until this decision is communicated in writing by immigration, nothing is certain. So be careful when someone gives guarantees.

Check, check, double-check

To make a long story short: make sure you do thorough research and ask questions. Also check the reviews of organisations on Google or social media for example. No matter how big your dream is, be critical and make sure it does not become a trap. If you have any questions or doubts, please contact us. We will be happy to help you! Via our visa check, we provide you with personal visa advice, free of charge and without obligation. 

Canada introduces a new pathway to permanent residency

On 14 April 2021, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced a new pathway. This innovative pathway offers 90,000 candidates a pathway to permanent residency in Canada. It will help achieving the immigration levels for 2021, in which Canada wants to welcome 401,400 new permanent residents. But it is important to note that this is a temporary program (pathway) which might not be available permanently. It therefore is expected, that the quota will be reached not to long after the program opens.

For who

This special public policy offers temporary essential workers and international graduates, currently in Canada and who possess skills and experience, needed to fight the pandemic and economic recover, a chance to become permanent residents. The new pathway focusses on candidates employed in hospital, long-term care facilities and the frontlines of other essential sectors. Furthermore, the focus will also be on international graduates who will play an important role in the economy of tomorrow.

The basic requirements

To be eligible for this pathway, essential workers must prove to have at least one year of Canadian work experience within the last three years. Candidates must have been employed in health-care professions or another approved essential occupation. Other requirements apply to international graduates. They must have completed an eligibly post-secondary education program within the last four years, that started in January 2017 or later.

The opening of the program

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept applications, starting May 6, 2021. Three streams have been created, each one with it’s own quota:

  • 20,000 spots for temporary candidates working in Canadian healthcare;
  • 30,000 spots for temporary candidates working in Canada, in other approved essential positions;
  • 40,000 spots for international students, graduated from a Canadian education provider

The program remains open until November 5, 2021, or until the quota has been reached. Within the streams mentioned above, a maximum of 90,000 permanent visas will be granted.

Additional places for the promotion of Canada’s official languages

Besides the previously mentioned streams, three extra streams without a maximum have been announced. These programs are especially for French speaking or bilingual candidates. Many communities in Canada benefit from French speaking or bilingual new comers. The extra program will therewith contribute to the vitality of the French speaking minority communities.

Send us an e-mail for free and non-binding advice, or complete our visa check.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2021/04/new-pathway-to-permanent-residency-for-over-90000-essential-temporary-workers-and-international-graduates.html

Australia’s vaccine strategy

Not knowing how enormous the effects would be, Australia closed its border on 20 March 2020. Nearly a year later, we are very much aware of the effects of Australia’s border closures. We are waiting in anticipation for notifications from the government, that will provide us with clarity and perspectives on lifting the border restrictions. Australia’s vaccine rollout could mean that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The current situation

Australia’s very strict approach to the pandemic is the reason why the number of Corona cases in the country is comparatively low. As of March 13th, 2021, Australia reported a total of 29,112 registered corona cases. This includes 909 people who died from the virus.

Australia’s national vaccine rollout strategy

Australia´s population will be vaccinated in 5 phases. Phase 1A is currently under way. In this phase 1.4 million doses are available, to vaccinate health care workers as well as quarantine- and border workers. The image below provides an overview of the rollout strategy:

source: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/03/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-presentation-on-14-march-2021.pdf

Expectations on lifting the border restrictions and visa procedures

If everything goes as planned, all Australian´s (who wish to be vaccinated) could have had their first dose of the vaccine by October 2021. The airline company Qantas has indicated that they are planning to resume regular international flights starting October 31st, 2021. This is in line with the expected timeframe for Australia’s vaccine rollout to be effectively completed.

Our visa consultants have been (virtually) present at information sessions, organised by the Department of Home Affairs and various Australian states and territories on March 12th. During these meetings, the assumption was made that the immigration budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year will be finalized in May 2021. Following that, the budget for nomination places will be allocated to Australian states and territories, whereupon the new visa year beginning July 1 will hopefully again provide options for overseas candidates.

Would you like to find out about your personal visa options? To do so, please fill out the free and non-binding visa check. Based on the information you provide, we will assess your visa options.

Source vaccination rollout strategy: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/03/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-presentation-on-14-march-2021.pdf

Bron restart flights Qantas: https://www.qantas.com/au/en/travel-info/travel-updates/coronavirus/qantas-international-network-changes.html 

Webinars ‘migrating to Australia and Canada’

On Tuesday 16 February, Visa4you organises the webinar ‘migrating to Australia’. And on Tuesday 23 February the webinar ‘migrating to Canada’. We will fully inform you about the immigration law and visa procedures for both Australia and Canada. You can subscribe for the webinars, free of costs.

Webinar Australia

Date Tuesday 16 February
Start webinar 7.30 PM (CET) – 1.30 PM (EST)
Duration Approx 1,5 hour
Subscription Yes, mandatory
Costs Nill

Webinar Canada

Date Tuesday 23 February
Start webinar 7.30 PM (CET) – 1.30 PM (EST)
Duration Approx 1,5 hour
Subscription Yes, mandatory
Costs Nill

International Student’s Day: studying in Australia or Canada

The origin and history of this day are dark. Nevertheless, international students day has a beautiful purpose these days: strive for good education for everyone. Are you in for an adventure and do you consider studying in Australia or Canada? We are more than happy to tell you all about it.

Studying in Australia

Foreign studies become more and more popular. If you would like to attend studies in Australia, you first require a visa. To be eligible to apply for a visa, you must enrol at a registered education provider. You could choose to register for full studies, or just for a course or English language training. All approved studies can be found in the ‘Cricos register’.

The Australian student visa

A student visa for Australia will be granted for the duration of your studies, plus some extra time. You can use the extra time to prepare yourself for starting classes upon arrival in Australia. But also to prepare for your return to your home country after finishing your studies or your course, or if you wish to extend your stay in Australia by applying for another visa.

Depending on the studies or the course you will attend, you are allowed to work 40 hours per fortnight. In a few situations, you are allowed to work more than these 40 hours. For example when you perform activities (work) that are registered as part of your course, or if you start a research master or doctoral program.

Costs for studying in Australia

A lot of people are insufficiently aware of the costs that will come with studying in Australia. It is expensive. Very expensive. Because, with a student visa you are a temporary resident and international student. Therefore, you pay the fees that apply to international students which are many times higher than school fees for Australians and Permanent Residents. You can check the school fees per study, semester etc. with the Australian education providers.

Furthermore, additional costs apply for the visa but also for mandatory insurance: the ‘Overseas Student Health Cover’.

Studying in Canada

Would you like to study in Canada for more than 6 months, then you will need a study permit. If you attend a program shorter than 6 months, a study permit isn’t mandatory in general. Depending on your travel document, you require a visitor visa or an eTA.

A Canadian study permit

Are you planning on studying in Canada for a period longer than 6 months, then you do need a study permit. A study permit isn’t a visa, for that reason, you will also need a visitor visa or an eTA to enter Canada. The study permit will be granted for the duration of your studies, plus an extra 90 days. These 90 days could be used to prepare your return to your home country, or to extend your stay in Canada. To study in Canada you must be admitted to a school or university first.

Costs for studying in Canada

It is very important that you can prove sufficient funds to maintain yourself and to pay for your studies in Canada. Furthermore, to study in Canada is much more expensive for international students than for Canadian students or Permanent Residents.

The impact of covid-19

Due to the current border restrictions of Australia, only limited travel to Australia is allowed. We can apply for individual exemption for students if:

  • You are completing year 11 and 12 with support from the relevant Australian State or Territory government health authority and education department;
  • You are a student in the final years of your studies, for a medical, dental, nursing or allied health profession university degree, and you have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice which commences within the next two months

In Canada Designated learning institutions (DLi) with an approved ‘covid-19 readiness plan’ can reopen to international student who are currently outside of Canada. If you intend to travel to Canada after October 20, your education provider must be on the list of DLi’s with an approved ‘covid-19 readiness plan’. Furthermore, you must have an approved and valid study permit and you must complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Contact our visa specialists for any advice in regards to your personal situation.

How can we help?

Are you considering studying abroad? Be very well prepared! We would be more than happy to help. If you have any questions, please contact our visa consultants for advice.

Three-step plan for easing the Australian COVID restrictions

On Monday May 8th, Australia’s national cabinet discussed options for easing the COVID-19 restrictions. This to help Australians to go back to work in a safe environment, but also to get the economy back to a more sustainable level. Till this date, there were 6.899 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and 97 people have died. A three-step plan has been announced:

  • The first step will focus on carefully reopening the Australian economy. Therein, Australians will be given the opportunity to return to work. Furthermore, social gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed, including up to 5 visitors in family homes. And at last, some local and regional travel;
  • The second step will include allowing gatherings of up to 20 people. Besides that, this step will focus on more business reopenings, including gyms, beauty services and entertainment venues (e.g. cinemas and galleries);
  • The third step will seea transition to COVID-19 safe ways of living and working. In this phase, social gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted. The arrangements under this third step will be ‘the new normal’ while the virus remains a threat. Both international travel and mass gatherings over 100 people will remain restricted.

Under the plan, Australian states and territories will continue making decisions to their local conditions and individual circumstances. By clicking on the links below, you can find the restrictions and easing per state:

Source: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-08may20

Travel conditions Canada

Are you planning to travel to Canada to activate your work permit? That is only an option if you meet the following conditions:

  1. You will be landing on one of the following airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto Pearson or Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau;
  2. You plan to be working in a crucial sector. An overview of all crucial occupations can be found here. Furthermore, your Canadian employer provides you with a letter which you can show upon arrival in Canada. This letter (if possible, printed on official letter head) describes the company, your occupations and duties and the reason why your skills are required;
  3. Upon arrival you present your quarantine-plan, wherein you describe where and how you will be spending 14 days in quarantine after arrival in Canada;
  4. You must download the ‘ArriveCan-app’ and fill out the required details. This app will ask for your health, arrival and flight number and asks you if you’ve thought about a quarantine-plan. Upon arrival at one of the four airports you can verify your information with the so called ‘tokens’ which are hanging at the airport. Download de ArriveCan-app for Android and IOS.

Do you meet all the additional requirements above? Don’t forget about the standard requirements: upon arrival you need your passport,  you visa application approval, evidence that you have sufficient funds (at least CAD 2,500.-) and evidence of health insurance. Please contact us if you have any questions about travelling to Canada.

Canadian office currently not accessible by phone

Due to the measures with regards to COVID-19, our Canadian office is currently closed. Therefore, we cannot be reaced by phone at the moment. All personal appointments will be take place through video calls (Skype). If this is not an option, appointments will be rescheduled. If you have an appointment with one of our visa consultants in Canada, they will inform you personally about the options.

If you have any questions regarding your visa application or travel restrictions, please send an e-mail to your direct contact. If you don’t have a direct contact or for general enquiries, you can send an e-mail to: info@visa4you.org

COVID-19 Update Australia

Australia closes the borders

Update: 20-03-2020

Australia is now banning all non-citizens and non-residents from entering the country. The travel ban is in force from of Friday 20 March, 9 pm. Australians, Australian permanent residents and their direct family members and New Zealand citizens resident in Australia will be allowed to return to Australia from overseas, but must self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry.

Measures will continously be reviewed. We will keep our website up-to-date.