2020-03-23 – Canada says temporary foreign workers, international students and approved permanent residents who meet certain requirements will be exempt from air travel restrictions aimed at tackling coronavirus.
In a statement late Friday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said exemptions would cover those “who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home.”
The exemptions include:
- Seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers.
- International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020.
- Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
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IRCC has also changed the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirements for agriculture and food processing workers, waiving the two-week recruitment period for six months.
Further, IRCC has also moved to increase the maximum allowable employment duration for workers in the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program from 1 to 2 years.
“This will improve flexibility and reduce the administrative burden for employers, including those in food processing,” IRCC said.
Candidates will face health screening protocols before travel and be required to isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Canada said those affected by these exemptions should not try to travel immediately. “We will announce when the exemptions are in place, which we anticipate will be early next week,” IRCC said.
These exemptions follow others announced earlier this week, for:
- Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Canadian government for a purpose related to the containment of COVID-19.
- Close family members of Canadian citizens.
- Close family members of Canadian permanent residents.
- A person who is authorized, in writing, by a consular officer of the Government of Canada to enter Canada for the purpose of reuniting immediate family members.
- A person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act.
- Accredited diplomats and family members (including NATO, those under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, other organizations).
- Any foreign national, or group of foreign nationals, whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Minister of Public Safety.
- Members of the Canadian military, visiting forces and their family members.
- Transiting passengers.