What is the change? Canada has eased immigration rules on medical inadmissibility.

What does the change mean? Authorities made two key changes. First, they increased the cost threshold for inadmissibility to 19,965 Canadian dollars (about US$17,765) per year, three times the previous amount. Second, they changed the definition of “social services” by removing references to special education, social and vocational rehabilitation services and personal support services. The changes are expected to dramatically reduce the number of medical inadmissibility cases.

  • Implementation time frame: The new rules are expected to take effect June 1, but the government has not formally announced an implementation date.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work and residence permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying to work or reside in Canada on or after the implementation date. It is not yet clear whether the changes will apply to applications that are pending.
  • Business impact: Authorities said a majority of those affected are applicants in the economic immigration class who are “selected for the benefit their skills will bring to the Canadian economy.”

Background: After the government began reviewing Canada’s medical inadmissibility rules in 2016, a standing committee tasked with studying immigration issues recommended eliminating the policy altogether. Officials have not yet gone that far, but said they will continue working toward that goal. Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, called the changes, announced earlier this week, “a major step forward in ensuring our immigration system is more inclusive of persons with disabilities, and reflects the values of Canadians.”

BAL Analysis: The changes are welcome news to employers and immigrants, including those in the economic immigration class, who previously would have had difficulty relocating to Canada because of a medical problem or disability. The changes will also benefit those relocating to Canada who have a dependent family member with a medical problem or disability that would have rendered the family member inadmissible under the previous rules.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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