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Canada redefines exemptions for workers who can enter the country under Coronavirus travel restrictions

Posted on June 22, 2020
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Canada Work Visa from India

Canada is among the many countries that introduced travel restrictions to control the spread of Coronavirus. On March 18, the Canadian government has imposed travel restrictions on its citizens, permanent residents, and family members of Canadians. However, it has made exemptions for ‘essential’ travel.  These restrictions came into effect from March 27,2020. These travel restrictions expire on the 30th of June.

They are however exemptions to the travel restrictions:

  • Individuals with valid Canadian work permits or Canadian study permits
  • Persons approved by IRPA before 18 March for a study permit but who have not yet received it
  • Persons licensed by IRPA before March 18 as permanent residents but who have not yet become one
  • Immediate relatives of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident including the spouse or common-law partner, the minor child of the person or the spouse of the person, the parent or stepparent of the person or the spouse of the person
  • Work permit holders are exempted from travel restrictions if their reason to travel to Canada is for essential reasons.
  • The IRCC has provided a guide on what constitutes essential travel, especially for temporary workers.

Conditions under which temporary workers are exempt from travel restrictions:

Foreign nationals with a valid Canadian work permit.

Foreign nationals who have received a letter of introduction from IRCC about an application for a work permit but whose work permit is yet to be issued. Such individuals should present their air carrier with a copy of the letter of introduction before embarking on their flight to Canada.

Priority will be given to work permits for critical occupations

The IRCC will prioritize the work permits for foreign workers who intend to work in critical occupations such as health, safety or food security. The critical occupations include:

  • Workers in emergency services
  • Students coming to Canada for training in a health field with a written approval
  • Workers in the marine transportation sector
  • Workers involved in the delivery, maintenance and repair of medical equipment

These individuals will not be subject to travel restrictions and may not be required to undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Decisions based on the discretion

The Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officers will make decisions based on their discretion and the foreign national’s specific situation.

CBSA officers will consider aspects such as the foreigner’s current ties to Canada, whether he will be working in an essential occupation, or any other motivation to travel to Canada.

Only certain IEC work permit holders can enter Canada

International Experience Canada (IEC) candidates with a letter of introduction and a valid job offer with an employer in Canada to enter the country. IEC work permit holders under all three categories – Working holiday, Young professionals and International Co-op will be subject to this rule.

IRCC is still processing new applications

Meanwhile, the IRCC will continue to process new applications for work permits by Canadian employers and foreign nationals.

The IRCC has advised individuals to follow any travel advice before making plans to travel to Canada. They should have a letter of introduction to show the airlines before boarding their flight to Canada.

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