Canada’s immigration department is renewing a temporary medical exam exemption on some foreign nationals who are applying for immigration.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is extending the already-existing medical exam exemption on immigration candidates applying from inside Canada until March 31, 2022. Originally, the public policy came into effect in June and was set to expire on December 28.

When foreign nationals apply for permanent residence, they must provide an immigration medical exam or a unique medical identifier number from their previous exam. This exemption allows them to not have to do an additional medical exam, if they have already completed one and they meet the following criteria:

  • they have applied for permanent residency and have not completed a new immigration medical exam;
  • the have completed a medical exam within the last five years and were found to pose no risk to public health or safety, or complied with a requirement to report to health authorities for monitoring; and
  • they have not left Canada for more than six months in the last year to live in a country that is on the federal government’s list of countries requiring an immigration medical exam.

Family members of applicants may be eligible under this policy if they are also in Canada and meet the above criteria.

IRCC will contact individuals who are not eligible for the public policy to discuss the next steps, the immigration department says in a media release.

IRCC also writes that this policy helps streamline application processing for low-risk, in-Canada applicants, while at the same time managing public health risks.

The policy is also supposed to support faster immigration application processing. Although IRCC reached its goal of admitting 401,000 new immigrants this year, the department is currently dealing with an enormous backlog. The most recent figures say that nearly 1.8 million immigration applicants are in the queue to get permanent residency status.

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