Canada exempts biometric requirements for temporary foreign workers
Posted on June 10, 2020
In spite of the limitations posed by the need to control the Coronavirus pandemic, the immigration authorities in Canada are trying to provide uninterrupted immigration services for those who are in the process of applying for a Canadian visa or intend to apply for one.
As part of these measures the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced a temporary policy measure that exempts temporary foreign employees in some industries from having to send their biometrics before arriving in Canada if the nearest biometrics collection site is closed because of restrictions due to Coronavirus.
Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) such as truck drivers, health-care workers, those working in agriculture or agri-food sectors in Canada are part of the exemption.
IRCC is aware that many of these workers have already provided their biometrics to Canada since they used to work in the country. But ensuring that biometrics are collected for all TFWs it hopes to maintain the safety and security of the Canadian public.
Biometrics for entry into Canada
In general, biometrics are required for foreign nationals applying for a visitor’s visa, a study or work permit, refugee or asylum status, permanent residency, a visitor’s record, or an extension of a study or work permit.
Such people submit their fingerprints, photograph and pay a fee. Canada collects biometrics to confirm the identity of foreign travelers quickly and accurately so that they can enter the country.
Exemptions for temporary foreign workers
In normal circumstances, temporary foreign workers are required to provide their biometrics at the Point of Entry (POE) in Canada. They will be screened by the
TFWs may be asked to provide their biometrics at a Point of Entry (POE) in Canada. They will be screened at the POE by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ascertain if they are in the country for an essential purpose.
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, their arrival in the country to work in the country is considered essential. However, once they enter the country, they must be under self-quarantine for 14 days.
Biometrics relaxations by the IRCC
IRCC is now offering an additional extension to individuals currently unable to send their biometrics with their application because of COVID-19 interruptions.
Even if the biometric instruction letter of a person states that they have a deadline of 30 or 90 days for submitting their biometrics, they should not worry about missing the deadline if the nearest visa application center or biometrics collection center is closed.
They can wait to give their biometrics till these collection centers reopen.
The IRCC has clarified that it would not close or reject any application under processing due to missing documents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC placed several special policy initiatives and provided flexibility to help foreign nationals.
The Canadian government is inclined to issue visas in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in a bid to keep the economy running and to support Canadian employers during this pandemic.