Canada Announces New International Travel Restrictions

By Cyril Zachariah Updated On - Jun 21, 2021 02:05 PM

The Government of Canada has released a set of new travel restrictions that mandates a three-day stay at hotels on arrival. This curveball may affect the decisions of many international students who had earlier planned to travel and study in Canada this year.

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As per the latest announcement, Canada has extended its border restrictions till 2st July. However, these restrictions do not extend to certain international students, premit holders, Canadian citizens and permanent residents and their families. As per the announcement, all non-essential travellers will be barred from entering the country during the pandemic. As has been the case previously, Canada has been accepting international students since Fall 2020, provided the students have enrolled in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan.

Currently, Canada has stopped processing study permit applications for the Fall 2021 term, however, international students admitted to colleges in Canada, who had submitted their applications by 15th May 2021, may receive their approval by 6th August. It is advisable to wait for the visa approval message before booking your flights to the country.

Canada has not mandated COVID-19 vaccines for international students, universities in Canada will be required to vaccinate their students for on-campus activities. For instance, universities such as Fanshawe College, Trent University and Western University have mandated that students be vaccinated with at least one dose, from any one of the approved vaccines.

Meanwhile, Sandy Welsh, Vice-provost at the University of Toronto commented that the students be vaccinated, although they have 14 days to do so after their arrival. She added that the directive will help students to avail themselves of the accommodation facilities, without risking the lives of all involved.

Similar to other top study-abroad destinations, Canada recognises four vaccines, i.e. Pfizer, Moderna, Astra/Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson, presently. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau commented that two phases of proving their vaccination status in Canada will be undertaken for travellers. The first phase involves, uploading the relevant vaccination documents on the ArriveCAN App. The second phase will be considered in the form of a national certification which is accepted globally.

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Many international students who had earlier planned to travel to Canada have now decided against it as new international travel restrictions have been added by the Government. While students had the ability to study remotely, the inconvenient time differences and course schedules, which earlier motivated the students to travel to Canada.

Several students who had booked their tickets during the current off-season, which made the airfare comparatively inexpensive, have now been forced to reconsider their travel plans due to Canada’s new travel restrictions, which dictate a steep price tag as well.

As per the new restrictions, all non-essential air travellers are mandated to take a COVID-19 test on arrival. They will then be required to book a hotel for three nights while the results come in. However, the non-essential air-travellers will be required to complete the duration of 3-days at the hotel, irrespective of whether they receive the 72-hour mandated pre-arrival negative test result.

The expensive price tag comes courtesy of the hotel bills, which, as mandated by the Government of Canada, should be paid off by the travellers. The official website does not specify the price range, however, the government suggests that it may land anywhere near CAN$ 2,000.

Consequently, if an air traveller is tested positive for COVID-19, they will either be transported to designated government facilities or quarantine at home for the mandated two-week period.

It should be noted that whether international students will be affected by the travel restrictions have not been clarified by the Government as of now. Nonetheless, further information regarding the same is expected soon.

As per the previous update, which was made a month ago, on the official website, international students were allowed to travel to Canada, provided they had a valid study permit while their respective universities or DLI’s have an approved COVID-19 readiness plan. However, sources claim that this may not be enough and the final determination will be at the discretion of the government official, at the port of entry.

Also Read: Canada: International Talent Crucial For Economic Recovery Post Pandemic

Meanwhile, UBC has been working communicating with Universities Canada and the Bureau of International Education to curb the effects of the travel restrictions on international students. Michelle Suderman, the Director of International Student Development at UBC commented that international students are not tourists and they hope to help students travel to the country safely and easily.

However, in her statements, Suderman was not able to affirm whether international students are exempted from the new travel restrictions in Canada. She did, however, confirmed that the University is in talks with the government to figure out the possible solutions.

She added that while essential travellers are not the intended target for the new travel restrictions and can be exempted from the regulations, however, if international students are not considered as essential travellers, UBC has promised to try and figure out a possible solution.

Also Read: COVID-19 Screening Pilot Project for Int'l Travellers Now Available at Canada’s Largest Airport

Adding to her statements, Suderman stated that the university will “certainly… help if international students are not excluded from the change…”. She stated that the university will try and figure out if students will be able to self-isolate at their respective institutions, which would, in turn, be safer, healthier and more importantly considerably cheaper.

However, we can only speculate on whether or not international students will be exempted from the travel restrictions until the government releases any further information. Stay tuned to CollegeDekho Study Abroad to receive more updates like these.

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