In Medical-inadmissibility
medical exams

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Mary Keyork
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Do I Need a Medical Examination Before Coming to Canada?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) recently updated its list of countries that need to undergo medical exams before they come to Canada.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to update everyone on who does and does not, need a medical exam before coming to Canada and what exactly medical examiners look for during examinations.

Who Needs an Immigration Medical Examination?

Temporary residents from designated countries who apply to come to Canada for six months or more, and everyone applying for permanent residence, need medical examinations.

The designated country list applies to anyone who has lived in a designated country for six months or more in the last year before applying to come to Canada. This means that, even if you are a citizen of a country that is not on the list, you may still need an exam if you worked in or visited a country on the list for at least six months in the last year.

IRCC has a list of countries requiring medicals on their website (List of designated countries for medical exams). As of November 23, 2017, Fiji, Singapore and Tunisia were added to the list. Argentina, Bahrain, Belize, Colombia, Portugal, Seychelles, Surinam and Venezuela were removed from the list.

If you made an application for temporary residence before November 23, 2017, and you now need an exam, your application may be processed without one or the visa office may request you to undergo an exam. You will be contacted if an exam is now needed.

Who Provides Immigration Examinations?

IRCC has an authorized list of doctors, called Panel Physicians, who are able to complete immigration medicals. If you are examined by a doctor that is not on the IRCC Panel Physician list (Panel Physician list), it will not be accepted. Don’t worry – there are Panel Physicians in countries all over the world and you can locate them by searching for your country through the link provided.

When you call to book your appointment, make sure you tell the office that you need an immigration medical exam. The office will confirm what information you need to bring and the fee you will be charged.
Panel Physicians send your results directly to an appropriate Regional Medical Office (“RMO”), so you are not responsible for submitting your exam results; however, you are responsible for submitting proof that you underwent an exam. The doctor’s office will give you a document as evidence of the date of your exam. Each visa office around the globe is linked to an RMO and, once your results are processed by the RMO, details of your exam will be sent to the visa office automatically and updated in your file.
If additional tests are required, you will be contacted by the visa office to let you know what you need to do and whether you need to visit the Panel Physician for follow-up.

Should I Get my Immigration Medical Completed Before I Submit My Application?

There are two types of medical exams: (1) up-front medical examinations; and (2) medical examinations that are completed once you receive a request from the visa office processing your application. Visa offices generally give you a 30-day deadline to undergo your exam when they send you a request.

In order to understand when up-front exams are a good idea, it is important to know about the validity periods for exams and take those into account with application processing times. Medical exams are generally valid for one year from the date of the examination. If your exam results expire before your application is processed, you will have to undergo another exam and pay another fee. Since many permanent residence applications can take a year or more to process, permanent residence applicants should wait until the visa office makes a request.

For temporary residents applying to visit, work or study in Canada, processing times are generally shorter and an up-front exam can be taken before an application is submitted. The Panel Physician will give you a document confirming that you had an up-front medical and it is critical that you include this with your application to the visa office can link your results to your application. Again, the estimated processing time of the application and the date you plan to visit Canada should be considered. While this blog provides general guidance, each situation should be evaluated based on its specific factors.

Jobs Requiring Medical Exams

If you plan to work in Canada, there are certain jobs that require you to have a medical exam. This is true even if your country of residence or citizenship is not on the designated country list.

Generally, these jobs include anything that brings you into close contact with others or agricultural work. For example, if you work in a medical service setting, as a caregiver to children or persons with disabilities, or as a teacher you will need an exam.

If you are already in Canada with a work permit and have not undergone a medical exam, you can apply to remove the restriction that prohibits you from working in these fields by having a medical exam and applying to change the conditions of your work permit. You cannot start working in one of the restricted jobs until your application is approved, even if your physician advises that there were no issues with your exam.

What Are Visa Offices Looking For in Medical Exam Results?

Individuals who pose a danger to public health or may cause excessive demand on the Canadian healthcare system may be deemed medically inadmissible to Canada.

Individuals with highly contagious conditions, like tuberculosis, may be seen as a threat to the public health of Canadians if their condition is active and is transmittable. Excessive demand can be a complicated issue, but it generally refers to individuals that likely need access to medical resources that place a strain on the Canadian healthcare system and have the potential to decrease available services, or increase wait times, for Canadians. For example, if a foreign national has a chronic heart condition that is not well-controlled and is likely to require serious surgery during the period they wish to come to Canada, they could be deemed inadmissible due to excessive demand.

There are options to overcome medical inadmissibility in some cases. If you have been refused temporary or permanent status in Canada due to medical inadmissibility, you can contact us to discuss your refusal and what options are available to you.