COVID-19: Synthesis of the immigration measures

May 14, 2020

Find relevant information on the immigration measures taken by government authorities, which affect temporary foreign workers and their families in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

Travelling to Canada

From any country except the United States

  • Foreign nationals are prohibited from entering Canada from any country other than the United States.
  • This prohibition does not apply to the following:
    • Immediate family members of a Canadian or permanent resident, including their spouse or common-law partner, dependent child or parent.
    • Temporary foreign workers who have a valid work permit or a letter of introduction from IRCC.
    • Temporary foreign workers who will be coming to work in a critical field such as agriculture and food processing, health, transportation and emergency services.
    • Foreign students who hold a valid study permit or a letter of introduction from IRCC issued before noon, March 18, 2020, and who are registered at a designated educational institution in Canada.
    • Foreign nationals whose application for permanent residence has been approved and who were eligible to travel to Canada for admission as permanent resident on or before March 18, 2020.
    • Foreign nationals who are immediate family members of a foreign worker, foreign student or foreign visitor who has received written authorization from an IRCC officer or an employee of Global Affairs Canada for the purpose of family reunification.
    • Other exemptions: refer to the Order and IRCC guidelines.
  • Despite the exemptions, any person may be denied access to an aircraft or entry into Canada if they are travelling for optional or discretionary purposes such as tourism, recreation or entertainment and do not meet the health check requirements, including symptoms of fever, cough or breathing difficulties.
  • We recommend that any foreign national who intends to travel to Canada during the period of restrictions put in place by the Government of Canada take reasonable steps to ensure that they are concerned by one of the exceptions to the travel restrictions to Canada, and travel with all required documentation. If necessary, consult a lawyer, notary or immigration consultant who will be able to assist you.
  • All persons, with certain exceptions, entering Canada must comply with the 14-day isolation requirement beginning on the day of entry into Canada and must be checked for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during this isolation period. It is mandatory that you provide an isolation plan upon your entry into Canada.

From the United States

  • A foreign national is prohibited from entering Canada from the United States if, among other things:
    • They seek to enter for an optional or discretionary purpose, such as tourism, recreation or entertainment;
    • They have COVID-19 or have signs and symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever and cough; or a fever and breathing difficulties.
  • Exceptions apply, refer to the Order In Council.
  • We recommend that any foreign national who intends to travel to Canada during the period of restrictions put in place by the Government of Canada take reasonable steps to ensure that they are concerned by one of the exceptions to the travel restrictions to Canada, and travel with all required documentation. If necessary, consult a lawyer, notary or immigration consultant who will be able to assist you.
  • All persons, with certain exceptions, entering Canada must comply with the 14-day isolation requirement beginning on the day of entry into Canada and must be checked for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during this isolation period. It is mandatory that you provide an isolation plan upon your entry into Canada.

Work permit applications

From outside Canada

  • It is still possible to apply for temporary residence online through .
  • Several Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed or operating with reduced staff. There may be delays in the processing of applications.
  • It may be difficult to complete a medical examination prior to submitting an application. As needed, IRCC will invite applicants to contact a designated medical practitioner during the processing of the application.
  • A minimum period of 90 days will be allowed to respond to requests for additional documents, such as biometric data or the medical examination.

From within Canada

  • All temporary residents (workers, students or visitors) must ensure that they maintain their valid status by applying for an extension of their stay online via MyCIC.
  • You are advised against going to the Canada-US border to obtain immigration services, including “flagpoling”.
  • Temporary foreign workers who have applied for a work permit with a new employer or for a new job can now request an authorization to IRCC to begin working in their new job while their work permit application is pending. For complete eligibility criteria and instructions on how to use this option, visit the IRCC website.
  • Biometric data collection is not available at any of the biometric capture offices in Canada.
  • For more details, click here.

LMIA and CAQ applications

  • Service Canada and the MIFI continue to process Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and Québec Acceptance Certification (CAQ) applications, however in some cases reduced staffing may cause delays.
  • Employers are invited to submit their complete LMIA applications by email: QC.PTET.INFO-INFO.TFWP.QC.ESDC@servicecanada.gc.ca  
  • The time limit for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) to apply for a work permit based on a positive MTIP has been extended to 9 months, rather than 6 months.
  • For any employer using the Global Talent Stream: note that any annual review of achievement under the Labour Market Benefits Plan is suspended for a minimum of 60 days.

Eligibility of foreign workers and international students for employment insurance benefits

To verify your eligibility for Employment Insurance, we invite you to contact Employment and Social Development Canada directly at 1-800-808-6352, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or contact a lawyer specialized in labour law.

You can also find more information at the following link.

 

*The information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and does not take precedence over immigration laws, regulations or decrees in force. Montréal International recommends that you refer to an immigration attorney or consultant for a legal opinion.

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