We are hustling, so is every other immigration firm in the country, to be up to date and keep our clients informed on the fast moving developments as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement on Monday with respect to the measures Canada will be taking to avoid catastrophic effects of this pandemic in Canada left many corporations puzzled. Closing down the borders, effective Wednesday March 18th, created a big issue for the companies with foreign workers on work permits currently outside of Canada for business or family visits. While there are still many uncertainties around the new rules and how they will be applied to temporary permit holders, the new measures being announced everyday, sometimes every hour to add to the complexity of the issues!
As of today, certain temporary permit holders are still permitted to enter Canada. The rule applies to the immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, temporary residents who have resided in the United States for 14 days, and foreign workers providing essential services. In addition, there is conflicting information on the status of valid study and work permit holders who are currently outside of Canada and the U.S. Under the Aeronautics Act it has been suggested that study or work permit holders outside of Canada and the U.S. who are not the immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident are forbidden from returning to Canada for the time being. On the other hand, study and work permit holders currently in the U.S., who have not travelled to any other country may be eligible to return to Canada as long as the travel is deemed to be “essential”. There is still not a clear definition of what the essential services are and we are expecting to hear some clarification on this in the days to come from the government.
On the bright side of things, the federal government appears to show some flexibility by extending the timeline of providing immigration documents. In an effort to support individuals and create less burden on the government officials in this unusual time, the timeline for submitting biometrics for foreign nationals have been extended from 30 to 90 days. The same applies to the validity of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) issued by ESDC, that also has been extended from 6 to 9 months to facilitate companies in supporting the foreign workers joining their operation in Canada in a timely manner.