Hurry! 80% Vaccinated, Canada will open borders on September 7

Demand to come to Canada to Study and Work will soar.

The Government of Canada recently announced that the country will re-open borders to fully vaccinated non-essential travelers on September 7. If you want to be in Canada this Fall to Study, Work or Emigrate with your family, you need to hurry!

 Borders will open in Canada

It is expected that applications to come to Canada will increase sharply in the coming weeks and months, as Canada opens its borders, the Fall term of Post-Secondary education begins, and the demand for Workers increases.

This means that if you want to Study, Work, or do Business in Canada starting this Fall or even later in 2021, you need to hurry; now is the time to act.

Many applications to come to Canada are already in processing, pending on the lifting of Travel restrictions. Many more applications will come into the Immigration System in the next few weeks, as the news spread about Canada’s reopening of its borders. This is why acting now is so essential to be approved in time.

For example, in its April “What to make of the Canadian Job Data” report, CIBC Capital Markets says that “what the data remind us is that sectors like retailing and other services are very labor intensive. If, by year end, progress against COVID allows us to have bars, gyms, and restaurants up and running, and more hotel rooms and plane seats filled, that can generate a steep dive in the jobless rate in a hurry.”

International Students coming to Canada

Canada ranks 3rd globally among Study Destinations, because of its quality of education, reputation as a safe and non-discriminatory society, and its affordable tuition fees and cost of living.

Even more so, according to the latest Navitas global research report on perceptions among Education Agents, Canada is currently the most attractive study destination worldwide, especially because of its strong government policy response against COVID-19. A substantial 63% of surveyed agents rated Canada as “Very Attractive”. This is well ahead of the UK and Australia at 51% and 49%, respectively.

Another advantage offered by Canada over other Study Destinations is that it allows Post-Secondary International Students to work part-time while they study in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), and has a clear program to grant them a Post-Graduation Work Permit that allows them to stay in country and work after they graduate.

The June 2021 Labor Force Survey from Statistics Canada, which includes key data about employment rates in June 2021 vs the May 2021, shows evidence of Job opportunities in the Retail, Accommodation and Food industries that will be attractive to Full-Time International Students enrolled in Post-Secondary institutions. These International Students can work up to 20 hours per week. Demand for part-time workers will be increase even further in the Retail, Accommodation and Food industries (which usually abound in part-time jobs) as restrictions are fully lifted, and given that many Canadians are pivoting away from these industries to pursue new careers.

  • Full-time Students aged 20 to 24 that intend to return to school in September saw their June 2021 employment rate grow to 67.5%, similar to the historical average for June (68.0%), with gains mostly in industries that recently had COVID restrictions eased or lifted, and which typically employ students (i.e., retail; accommodation and food services; and information, culture, and recreation).
  • The accommodation and food services industry added 101,000 jobs, +11.8%.
  • The retail industry added 75,000 jobs, +3.4%.

Source: June 2021 Labor Force Survey, Statistics Canada

Although Universities and Colleges in Canada have not explicitly stated a collective position (remember, many are publicly funded either in part or in full), various sources confirm that these institutions have quietly pressured their Provincial Governments and the Federal Government of Canada to reopen the border to International Students.

Much of the revenue of Post-Secondary institutions in Canada depends heavily on Tuition and Fees from International Students. As the number of International Students in Canada dropped 17% in 2020 vs . 2019, it is not surprising that Universities are still pressuring for even further clarity in Government travel policies for International Student as of September 7, in time to adjust their student intakes this Fall.

An article by Jennifer Brown says that, as of July 2021, over 80% of Canadian Universities and Colleges have announced their Fall COVID plans, after more than a year of trying to remain financially viable (International Students would have represented over 50% of all student fees paid in 2020-2021).

Post-Secondary institutions and International Students alike need clarity to plan and to make decisions, and they expect the Government of Canada (and Provincial Governments) to coordinate and announce now further definitions and policies for its border reopening plan. The above article says that this Fall, more than 48% of Post-Secondary institutions will deliver programs in-person, that 30% will do so using a hybrid model, and that around 17% have not yet announced their plans.

Canadian Colleges and Universities desperately need International Students enrolled this Fall, and the Canadian economy would certainly benefit as well. If decisions are based on vaccination coverage and science, it is clear that Canada can safely reopen now its border to fully vaccinated International Students without the need of a costly quarantine, and that the Government should accept International Students who have been fully vaccinated with any vaccine approved by the World Health Organization, not only those approved to be administered in Canada.

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Foreign Workers coming to Canada

Canada’s economy is expected to bounce back strongly after COVID-related restrictions are lifted for international travelers, and several indicators and trends point to looming labor shortages in Canada.

According to the June 2021 Labor Force Survey from Statistics Canada, unemployment went down in the country compared to May 2021, as Canada lifted or eased some COVID-related restrictions between Provinces.

“Employment rebounds in June as some restrictions are lifted. Employment rose by 231,000 (+1.2%) in June… The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 7.8%… as the total number of unemployed Canadians fell by 61,000 (3.7%)”

Source: June 2021 Labor Force Survey, Statistics Canada

Some other highlights from the June 2021 Labor Force Survey from Statistics Canada are:

  • The number of people in the labor force grew by 170,000, +0.8%. (this includes those employed and those unemployed but looking for a job).
  • The number of people that were employed but worked less than half their usual hours decreased by 276,000, -19.3%.

“41,000 more Chinese Canadians and 31,000 more Filipino Canadians were employed in June.”

Source: June 2021 Labor Force Survey, Statistics Canada

Right now, based on the January 2019-June 2021 trendline, Canada has a gap of about 850,000 jobs, according to Acus Consulting.


Source: Acus Report, June 13, 2021, by Acus Consulting, with data from Statistics Canada

Although the Canadian economy started a recovery in the second part of last year, the June 2021 unemployment rate still shows a gap of about 850 Thousand jobs that need to be filled. That is a big whole to fill, but it can grow even larger, and in a hurry, if the economic recovery exceeds expectations or happens more quickly than anticipated.

It is clear that many of these jobs will have to be filled by Temporary Foreign Workers. As restrictions continue to be lifted in Canada and the economy improves, many Canadians will continue to pursue different interests than their pre-pandemic jobs, which will increase Employers’ demand and the number of positions to fill.

As many experts agree, this is supported by structural reasons, including Canada’s aging population, as well as a continued disconnect on the jobs actually available (demand) and those that Canadians want to do (career preference).

In a recent article, Canada’s Financial Post says that unemployment, which increased due to the COVID pandemic, did not actually start with it, and comments about various sources that confirm this. For example, it mentions that the Bank of Canada’s 2021 Spring Business Outlook Survey indicates that labor constraints preceding COVID are starting to return, and that businesses are still struggling nowadays to find workers for the same types of jobs than before COVID, like skilled trades and technology. It also quotes Jennifer Lee, Senior Economist for BMO Economics, saying that “many firms expect these constraints to persist”.

The Financial Post’s article continues to point out that all surveys evidence that finding workers that are qualified, or actually any workers, is among the biggest hurdles for businesses in Canada.

As another example, the articles indicates that CFIB, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says that 38% of surveyed businesses reported difficulties to hire skilled workers, and that this is most common barrier to growth in terms of sales or production.

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This evidences that Canada will face growing labor shortages in jobs in different sectors, including trades such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers and many more, not to mention pervasive shortages for specific positions like Long-Haul Truck Drivers and sectors like IT and Health Care.

BlackRock sees Canada's Economy as a Compelling Investment Opportunity

Source: Government of Canada, “Invest Canada” report

Organizations as important as BlackRock, the world’s largest Asset Manager, see the opportunities that the Canadian Economy offers. As more and more indicators are pointing out, the Canadian economy is set for a sharp recovery post-COVID.

Canada, ahead of the U.S. in Vaccination

According to Canada’s Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker, 80% of eligible Canadians have been vaccinated with ant least one dose, while almost 60% (58.5%) have been fully vaccinated.

Source: Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker

And Canada continues to administer a lot of doses every day. Just in the last 6 days reported by the same organization, Canada administered 1,822,449 doses, an average of almost 304 Thousand doses per day.

Source: Covid-19 Vaccination Tracker

When comparing how many doses each country administers daily per 100 people, Canada’s current pace of vaccination is also above China, France, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, India, and the United States, as shown in the table below:

Source: Our World in Data

Canada’s daily vaccination pace is not only enormously quick; most importantly, it adds to a strong vaccination coverage Canada has already achieved.

Canada has vaccinated almost 69% Total Population with at least one dose, and fully

Canada is also ahead of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, , France, China, Australia, and India, in Share (or percentage) of People Vaccinated against COVID-19. This statistic considers, for each country, the percentage of people fully vaccinated plus percentage of people that have received at least one dose. See the following chart:

Source: Our World in Data

With the added protection of this extraordinarily strong vaccination coverage, Canada is well positioned to safely re-open its borders to international travelers starting September 7, as recently announced by the Government of Canada.

Fully Vaccinated Travelers welcome in Canada starting September 7.

This past July 19th, the Government of Canada announced that it will ease its border restrictions related to COVID for fully-vaccinated travelers.

In the announcement, the Government stated that it continues to take a “risk-based and measured approach” to the re-opening of Canada’s borders.

In its announcement, the Government of Canada included two stages for its reopening.

First Stage:

As of August 9, 2021, Canada will allow entry to citizens and permanent residents of the United States (currently residing in the U.S.) that have been fully vaccinated no more than 14 days before entering Canada for non-essential travel.

This first stage, indicates the announcement, will allow the Government of Canada to “fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021”; opening its borders first to U.S. citizens and permanent residents recognizes the close relationship between Canada and the U.S.

Second Stage:

The same announcement clarified that on September 7, 2021, “the Government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully vaccinated travelers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements”. The announcement included the caveat that this re-opening will come into place “provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favorable”.

Sources have indicated that the Government might broaden its criteria to accept international travelers to include those fully-vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (see further down in this article).

Other Important Changes:

The announcement include other various important changes that international travelers will need to consider:

  • All travelers must use the ArriveCAN internet portal or downloadable smartphone app to submit their travel information, with limited exceptions.
  • If the fully-vaccinated international traveler is eligible to enter Canada and meets specific criteria, the traveler will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.
  • All travelers will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result.
  • As of August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is adjusting its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travelers.
  • The Government of Canada will use a new border testing surveillance program at land border crossings along the Canada-U.S. border, as well as at those airports approved to receive international flights. With it, fully-vaccinated travelers will be exempt from post-arrival test, unless they are randomly selected to “complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test”.
  • COVID-19 molecular testing will still be mandatory for all unvaccinated travelers.
  • The 3-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travelers arriving by air starting August 9 (fully vaccinated travelers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine)
  • All travelers will still have to provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine if they are determined at the border to not meet the necessary requirements.
  • Finally, the announcement still states that “the federal government will continue to monitor the situation”.

4 Vaccines currently Accepted in Canada

The vaccines that are currently being administered in Canada are:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (2 doses),
  • Moderna (2 doses),
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (2 doses), and
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (1 dose).

Because these 4 vaccines are the ones that were approved by the Government of Canada to be administered to its population, they are the ones that the government mentioned when it announced that it will re-open its borders to fully-vaccinated travelers as of September 7th, 2021

As mentioned above, it is still possible that the Government might broaden its criteria to accept international travelers to include those fully-vaccinated with any of the 7 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, the WHO has approved 7 Vaccines for use Worldwide

Source: World Health Organization

As reported by CTV News, the World Health Organization is urging the international community to recognize any of the vaccines it has authorized as they reopen their borders to fully-vaccinated travelers.

In a statement, the World Health Organization indicated that “any measure that only allows people protected by [some of the] WHO-approved vaccines to benefit from the reopening of travel… would effectively create a two-tier system”. The organization argues that this would widen the global vaccine divide between countries and deepen “the inequities we have already seen in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” negatively impacting the growth of “economies that are already suffering the most.”

Who Can Help Me With the Study Visa / Permit and Work Permit Process?

We can help you. If you are unsure whether applying to Study or to Work in Canada, or want to have specific Immigration information and assistance to Study and Work in Canada, our In-House Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can explain the requirements, the process, and next steps. Booking an Immigration Consultation can help define your situation and best strategy.

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