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Is a medical examination required for studying in Canada?

Medical Examination

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Every year, a large number of foreign nationals seek study permits to pursue higher education in Canada, reflecting the country’s popularity as an educational destination. Recently, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented a two-year cap on new international students to manage the influx of foreign nationals.

Typically, there are three key steps involved in obtaining a study permit. These steps include securing a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI), obtaining an attestation letter from the province or territory where the DLI is situated, and finally applying for a study permit from IRCC.

Nevertheless, there are specific scenarios in which foreign nationals intending to study in Canada will require a medical examination:

  • Students arriving from designated visa-required countries/territories.
  • Students planning to stay in Canada for more than six months.
  • Individuals pursuing medical studies.
  • Students who will be engaged in healthcare or occupations involving close contact with children or the elderly.

Temporary Public Policy Regarding Medical Examinations

Until October 6, 2024, IRCC has introduced a policy regarding medical examinations, allowing certain applicants for both temporary and permanent residence to be exempt from undergoing another medical exam if they have already done so within the last five years.

To qualify for this exemption, applicants must fulfill all four of the following criteria:

  • The applicant must have applied for either permanent residence or temporary residence, such as a study permit, or be currently in the process of applying.
  • The applicant must currently reside in Canada.
  • The applicant must have undergone a previous medical examination within the last five years.
  • The results of the applicant’s previous medical exam must have indicated low risk or no risk to public health or safety.

Navigating Medical Examinations for Temporary Residents

IRCC highlights that distinct processes and policies govern medical examinations depending on whether the applicant is seeking temporary residence* or permanent residence in Canada.

For further details regarding medical exams for applicants seeking Canadian permanent residence, please click here.

Who is required to undergo a medical examination

For temporary residence applicants, IRCC specifies that the necessity for a medical exam is generally determined by the duration of the individual’s intended stay in Canada.

Specifically, temporary residents planning to stay in Canada for six months or less typically do not require a medical exam unless they intend to work in certain occupations where public health protection is crucial.

Examples of such occupations provided by IRCC include:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Patient attendants in nursing and geriatric homes
  • Medical students admitted to Canadian universities
  • Workers in primary or secondary school settings, or childcare settings
  • Workers providing in-home care to children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities
  • This requirement also extends to agricultural workers who have resided or visited one of these countries for six months or more continuously in the year preceding their arrival in Canada.
  • Conversely, temporary residents intending to stay in Canada for more than six months will need a medical exam if:
  • They have resided in or visited one or more of the specified countries or territories for six months or longer continuously in the year before coming to Canada.
  • They will be employed in a position where public health protection is essential while in Canada.
  • They are applying for a parent and grandparent super visa.

Varieties of medical assessments

IRCC specifies that applicants might undergo either a standard medical examination or a streamlined medical examination, described as “a simplified medical exam for urgent operational situations, such as a humanitarian crisis, and in other exceptional circumstances as determined by IRCC.” Applicants cannot choose the type of medical examination they undergo; IRCC will inform them which exam they are required to take.

Authorized medical practitioners

Only panel physicians designated by IRCC are authorized to conduct the medical examination necessary for temporary or permanent residence applicants. In essence, applicants cannot have their family doctor perform this examination unless they are designated by IRCC.

It’s important to note that IRCC, rather than the examining physician, holds the ultimate decision regarding an applicant’s medical examination.

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