News Round Up
28 January 2021
As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to dictate international travel restrictions, it comes as no surprise to see a raft of global immigration rule changes already introduced this year.
Smith Stone Walters prides itself on delivering dependable global immigration advice. With this in mind, we would like to highlight the following key updates.
Quebec Experience Program moves online
Until recently, applicants for permanent residence under the Quebec Experience Program had the option to file a paper-based application. Going forward, the route will only accept applications to be made online using the Arrima platform. Arrima accepts payment of filing fees and also allows supporting documents to be uploaded.
This new approach forms part of a wider programme to modernise the Canadian immigration system. It is hoped the government’s drive to digitalise application submissions will streamline and accelerate the overall decision making process.
US reinstates travel ban
President Biden, in his first days of power, has chosen to reinstate travel bans for those who have been in the Schengen area, UK, Ireland and Brazil within 14 days of their travel to the USA. The ruling also sees South Africa being added to the list of impacted countries.
Individuals affected by this policy should seek advice before entering the US. Some exemptions do apply. These are referred to in the White House Proclamation.
Diplomatic relations with Qatar ease
In an important political change, the UAE has agreed to normalise their relations with Qatar. The change is a relaxation of restrictions placed on the country in 2017 which limited marine, air and land travel from surrounding nations. The change follows similar steps taken by Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Although some restrictions still apply, most individuals journeying in the area should notice easier entry and cross-border passage of travel. At the very least, restored flights to many hubs in the Middle East will result in reduced flight times between certain nations.
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