News

New restrictions for travelling to Canada

After a period of eased measures for travel to Canada, new restrictions will come into force in the coming weeks to reduce the number of COVID-19 infections in Canada.

Omicron variant also a reason for concern in Canada

The latest news from Canada in response to the new omicron variant announces that all vaccinated travellers will be tested for corona on arrival at a Canadian airport by means of an arrival test. In the past, travellers were selected on a random basis, but this will now apply to everyone again. Fully vaccinated travellers will have to remain in quarantine pending the results of their arrival test.

Non-vaccinated travellers who fall under an exception to Canada’s travel restrictions will be required to undergo multiple corona testing in all cases and will also be subject to a 14-day quarantine period.

Restrictions on domestic travel and use of public transport

Transport Canada has updated its domestic travel restrictions effective November 30. Anyone wishing to use public transport or Canadian airports (including flights departing from Canada to other countries) are required to be fully vaccinated. Persons with temporary status in Canada (e.g. work, study or tourist status) who entered Canada as unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons may leave the country without being fully vaccinated until February 28, 2022. After that date, they must be fully vaccinated to board a plane or train in Canada.

Vaccination obligation for all travellers as of 15 January 2022

As of January 15, 2022, all travellers to Canada will need to be fully vaccinated. This includes groups that are currently exempt from these restrictions, such as:

  • Persons travelling to reunite with family
  • International students
  • Professional athletes and their support staff
  • Persons with a valid work permit or work permit approval (some exceptions for the food industry and agricultural sector apply)
  • Most essential service providers (including truck drivers, emergency responders and marine researchers)

After January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated agricultural and food workers, new permanent residents and some children under the age of 18 will still be allowed to travel to Canada tomorrow and travel within Canada to settle, but must comply with testing and quarantine measures.

Have any questions? Then get in touch with us.

Source:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/11/government-of-canada-introduces-additional-measures-to-address-covid-19-omicron-variant-of-concern.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/11/adjustments-to-canadas-border-and-travel-measures.html

Australian occupational list (ANZSCO) updated

On 23 November 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published changes to the Australian Occupational List (ANZSCO). As a result, a number of jobs and job categories have been changed or removed.

What is New

The new edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), or the occupational list, is limited to a number of targeted updates of occupations. This relates mainly to the following sectors:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing;
  • Cybersecurity;
  • Naval ship building;
  • And emerging occupations identified by the National Skill Commission.

The above areas are based on priority sectors for the Australian labour market. They have been chosen primarily to test a new approach to updating the occupations list (ANZSCO). This update is therefore a first step towards a larger programme of updating the occupational list. It is expected that other sectors will be addressed as a priority in future updates.

This update relates only to the Australian labour market. Changes in the labour market in New Zealand have therefore not been taken into account.

Various types of changes

Various types of changes are implemented, and combinations of these are also possible. Below you find an overview:

Alternative title(s) revised
Alternative Title(s) revised refers to the situation where new Alternative titles are added, or existing ones are deleted. An example is the addition (deletion) of “Urban Forester” as an Alternative Title for 362212 – Arborist.

Lead statement revised
Lead Statement revised refers to the situation where the lead statement of an occupation is modified. An example is the addition of “for forestry conservation and production purposes” to the lead statement of 721112 – Logging Plant Operator to provide additional precision regarding this occupation.

Tasks revised
Tasks revised refers to the situation where the task list (at the Unit group level) has been amended. An example of this is the addition of “installing, testing and commissioning solar photo voltaic (PV) power generation systems” in the task list for Unit group 3111, Electricians.

Moved to another Unit Group, code retired
Moved to another Unit Group; code retired refers to the situation where the occupation’s Unit Group has changed. An example is the reclassification of 361211 – Shearers from ANZSCO Version 1.3 Unit Group 3611 to 2021 Australian Update Unit Group 3633.

Moved from old Unit Group, code created
Moved from another Unit Group; code created refers to the same situation as point 5 above, and appears next to the new occupation code. For the example of Shearers, it will appear next to the new code 363311.

Category addedd
Category added refers to a newly created occupation code in the 2021 Australian Update. These codes are not present in previous versions of ANZSCO.

Category deleted and code retired
Category deleted and code retired Refers to occupations that are no longer included in the classification. In many cases this is due to the creation of two or more new occupations from an existing occupation. In this instance, the original occupation is deleted and the code retired.

NEC occupation list revised
NEC occupation list revised refers to the situation where the set of occupations contained with a nec occupation are revised. An example is the removal of “Aerospace Draftsperson” from 312999 – Building and Engineering Technicians nec.

Category title revised
Category Title revised refers to the situation where the occupation’s title has been modified to clarify its definition. An example is the change for 311111 – Quarantine Officer to Biosecurity Officer.

Specialisation(s)
Specialisation(s) revised refers to the situation where new Specialisations have been included or deleted. Examples are the addition of “Solar Installer” and the removal of Heavy Coil Winder as specialisations from 341111 – Electrician (General).

For a complete overview of all changes, click on the button below.

Occupations not yet available for skilled migration

The previous ANZSCO catalogue is still current. This means that the Department of Home Affairs has not yet accepted any of these changes for Skilled Migration purposes. But since the update was broadly requested by professional bodies, industries and other parties, a new occupation list for migration purposes and the Legislative Instruments may come up.

Source:
https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/classifications/anzsco-australian-and-new-zealand-standard-classification-occupations/2021

Canada faces huge backlog of immigration applications

The backlog at the Canadian Immigration Service is enormous. Currently, the counter stands at nearly 1.8 million immigration applications waiting to be processed. The backlog has increased by nearly 350,000 applications since July alone.

Dramatic figures

CIC News has received data from the ICCRC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) showing how many applications are in the pile for each visa category. These figures are applicable as of October 27 and rounded up:

Applications for permanent residency
(economic visas, family visas, refugee and humanitarian visa applications)
548.000
Temporary visa applications
(student visas, work visas, temporary resident visas and tourist visa extensions)
776.000
Applications for Canadian citizenship
(as of 26 October)
468.000
Total number of visas in backlog 1.792.000

The cause of this backlog

An ICCRC spokesperson explained that the ongoing international travel restrictions and border closures are causes for these shocking figures. But also the limited operational capacity and the difficulties for clients to obtain documentation from abroad due to COVID-19 have caused problems in the processing of applications. This has allegedly hampered the ICCRC’s ability to complete applications, causing delays that are said to be beyond ICCRC’s control.

The ICCRC has also published data on the number of applications processed during the pandemic. The figures are from January to September 2021.

2021 2020
Applications for permanent residency 337.000 214.000
Temporary visa applications   1.500.000 1.700.000
Applications for Canadian citizenship 134.000 80.000

Source:
https://www.cicnews.com/2021/11/canada-has-a-backlog-of-nearly-1-8-million-immigration-applications-1119651.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter-20211119#gs.hgqeel

ICCRC becomes ‘the College’

For many years we assist individuals and business relations with visa applications for Canada and Australia. In order to assist applicants to Canada, visa consultants are required to be registered. The ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council) was the party responsible for granting and regulating these registrations. Effective 23 November 2021, a change has been made. The ICCRC has now become the CICC: College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. Abbreviated to ‘the College’.

What will change?

In addition to the name change, a new logo is used. Otherwise, the register has remained the same. The same applies to the membership numbers. Our visa consultants can therefore still be found under the numbers below.

Christiane Kühn
#532359

Gwenda van Veldhuizen-Helmig
#R420775

Re-opening of Australian borders delayed by at least two weeks

With the good news about the further easing of travel restrictions still fresh in our minds, a disappointing announcement has now followed. The Australian government has announced that it will pause the easing of restrictions from 1 December to 15 December.

Concerns about the Omicron variant of COVID-19

The reason for the pause of the easing of border restrictions is the concerns about the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The advice comes from the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, Professor Paul Kelly. Based on this advice, the necessary and temporary decision has been taken to postpone the next step towards the safe reopening of Australia. This applies to all previously announced visa holders, as well as travellers from Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Pausing the relaxation will allow Australia to gather the necessary information to better understand the new Omicron variant. This includes the efficacy of vaccines and the range of illnesses, but also the degree of transmission and associated symptoms.

What next?

The Prime Minister has called a meeting with Cabinet tomorrow, 30 November, to discuss the Omicron variant and how Australia should respond. He indicated that with a 92.3% vaccination rate – one of the highest rates in the world – Australia is in a strong position to deal with the virus and its challenges. The Prime Minister has therefore indicated that they will continue to take evidence-based measures under the guidance of medical experts. This, he said, will lead to them being able to open Australia safely and keep it open while learning to live with the virus.

Important measures to prevent the spread

No flights are currently scheduled from the eight African countries where the Omicron variant has been detected and has spread. These African countries include South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique.

Last Saturday, the Australian Government announced the following measures. These remain in force until 15 December:

  • With immediate effect, anyone who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or their immediate family including parents, and has been in one of the eight African countries in the past 14 days will not be able to enter Australia;
  • Australian citizens, permanent residents and close family members returning to Australia from these countries must undergo supervised quarantine. This is for 14 days, subject to jurisdictional arrangements;
  • Anyone who has already arrived in Australia and has been in one of the eight countries in the last 14 days must immediately isolate themselves and be tested. They must also follow the quarantine regulations of the jurisdiction. The quarantine is for 14 days from the time of departure from Southern Africa.
  • These restrictions also apply to people, for example, international students and skilled migrants arriving from a safe travel zone (New Zealand and Singapore), who have been in one of the eight countries within the last 14 days.

Source:
https://www.pm.gov.au/media/pause-further-easing-border-restrictions

Australia further opens its doors: More international travellers are welcome again

After the border closure became effective in March 2020, only Australian citizens and permanent residents were welcome. For everyone else, a travel exemption was made compulsory and these were granted sparingly. Only candidates who had urgent reasons for travelling to Australia were granted a travel exemption. After almost two years with closed borders, Australia’s migration figures have fallen sharply. As a result, many sectors are reporting labour shortages that are putting projects, including major public infrastructure works, at risk.

Eligible visa holders welcome again from 1 December

After a long wait, travel restrictions will be eased further on 1 December. From that moment, visa holders within 28 visa categories will be welcome to travel to Australia again. They will no longer be required to apply for a travel exemption previous to travelling. However, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine that has been approved by TGA (Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration);
  • You have a visa in one of the eligible visa categories;
  • You can show proof of your vaccination status;
  • You can demonstrate a negative PCR test, taken within three days prior to departure.

Everyone travelling to Australia must comply with the quarantine requirements of the State or Territory of arrival. But also of the states and territories to which you wish to travel. The states of New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory already admit vaccinated travellers without the quarantine requirement. The rest of the states and territories have not yet achieved the target vaccination rates and still maintain the mandatory quarantine rule for all incoming travellers. In the coming month, more and more states will drop the quarantine requirement for vaccinated travellers.

From 1 December, fully vaccinated citizens of Japan and the Republic of Korea will be able to travel to participating states and territories from their home countries quarantine free. It is no longer necessary for them to have a Travel Exemption in advance. They must, of course, have a valid Australian visa. They must also be able to present proof of vaccination. In addition, they have to prove a negative PCR test, taken within three days prior to departure.

Eligible visa categories

  • Subclass 200 – Refugee visa
  • Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa
  • Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa
  • Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa
  • Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa
  • Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa
  • Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
  • Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
  • Subclass 407 – Training visa
  • Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
  • Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa
  • Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa
  • Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
  • Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa
  • Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa
  • Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa
  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
  • Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
  • Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa
  • Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
  • Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
  • Subclass 500 – Student visa
  • Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)
  • Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
  • Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa
  • Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa
  • Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa
  • Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

Would you like to find out more? Feel free to contact us.

Source:
https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/vaccinated-travellers
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-22/migration-boost-visa-international-student-places/100638704
https://www.pm.gov.au/media/further-steps-reopen-australia-and-secure-our-economic-recovery

Canada introduces mandatory vaccination for the transportation sector and travellers

Canada, like many other countries, has stated that vaccination is the best defence against covid-19. Therefore, on August 13, the government announced its intention to introduce mandatory vaccination for employees of federally organised air, rail and sea transportation sectors and their travellers.

As of October 30th, the Canadian government will require employers in the previously mentioned sectors to set up a vaccination policy for employees. As of the same date, passengers departing from Canadian airports for domestic and international travel as well as passengers using VIA Rail and the Rocky Mountaineer trains must also be fully vaccinated in order to travel.

Arrangements for those not yet fully vaccinated

There will be a short transition period for people who are not yet fully vaccinated. During the transition period, people can still travel if they can show a valid molecular covid-19 test, taken within 72 hours before travel. However, this transitional period ends on November 30th. In order use the aforementioned transport services after November 30th, travellers must be fully vaccinated.

Vaccination requirement for employees of these organisations

The new rules also affect employees of federally organised air, rail and sea transport organisations. Employers are required to set up and implement a vaccination policy as of October 30th. Among other things this policy must set out the consequences for non-vaccinated employees. After a short introduction period, every organisation must be able to guarantee that their employees have been fully vaccinated. If this is not the case, they cannot operate.

Source:
https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2021/10/mandatory-covid-19-vaccination-requirements-for-federally-regulated-transportation-employees-and-travellers.html?fbclid=IwAR02aXsREWp5-jqZ7Ygjk4f8bxB-tsnc4zPgbwwjCgiPi0co5UxYWj2iYHI

Australia’s vaccination plan and the reopening of borders

For a long time, infection rates in Australia were low because of the strict ‘zero-Covid’ policy. Unfortunately, this meant that the vaccination programme was very slow to get off the ground and frustration grew. In addition, infection rates are increasing rapidly.

The government has recently published an updated plan, which sets new vaccination targets. Four phases are outlined as the way out of the pandemic. Within the first phase – phase A – the goal is to have 70% of the population vaccinated twice. Minister Morrison has indicated that he is confident of achieving this target by the end of this year. Currently, just over 38% of the population over the age of 16 have been vaccinated twice.

If it is indeed realistic to reach the 70% mark, Australia will move to phase B. In Phase B, restrictions on international arrivals and the number of flights will continue to exist. Once 80% of the population has been fully vaccinated, phase C will slowly allow more inbound and outbound international travel between ‘safe’ countries. It is expected that less strict requirements will be applied to fully vaccinated travellers.

In the final phase – phase D – life will go back to as normal as possible. International borders will finally be (fully) opened again. Australia will treat Covid-19 like any other infectious disease from then on. This is with the aim of keeping the number of cases to a minimum, without constant lockdowns and restrictions. However, the quarantine requirements will continue to apply, for example, to high-risk inbound travellers.

The minister said he would not set timetables for all phases as this, he said, “is now in the hands of Australians, together with state and territory governments and the federal government”.

Source:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-30/national-cabinet-four-phase-plan-out-of-covid-pandemic/100339314
https://covidlive.com.au/

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.