As we progress into the pandemic immigration, which by far is the fastest evolving area of law during this period, has been silent lately in introducing new rules and regulations. There are only few updates which were announced by the federal government within the past couple of weeks, some being new measurements and some overriding the previously announced regulations. I still find individuals and corporations being somewhat confused on interpreting the new rules, so here is the sum up of all the new guidelines in a nutshell:
As of June 8th immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to come to Canada regardless of their nationality or where they are coming from. IRCC has started processing temporary resident visas (TRVs) and electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) for immediate family members so long as they meet the following conditions:
- The visit to Canada is at least 15 days long
- They are legally required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering Canada
- They do not have COVID-19 and do not have any COVID-19 symptoms
Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
As of June 9th, Canada announced that it will continue to issue work permits to foreign nationals from the United Kingdom under CETA until December 31, 2020 – the last day of the transition period, after which the UK will officially not be a part of the European Union. The permits issued for the UK nationals will be valid until the expiry date of the permit. As work permit duration under CETA is capped at 12 months in any 24-month period, work permits cannot extend beyond December 31, 2021.
As of May 12th, foreign workers who are in Canada under a valid closed work permit (employer-specific) and are looking to change an employer due to lay off or termination as a result of the pandemic, can do so within 10 business-day time frame. IRCC has reduced the processing time drastically from 10 weeks to 10 days in response to Canada’s labour market needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
There are three main eligibility criteria:
- workers must be in Canada with valid status
- they must have an employer-specific work permit or have been working under a work permit exemption; and
- they must have submitted an application for a new work permit with a valid job offer under either the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, or the International Mobility Program
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
Earlier during the pandemic, Service Canada made few critical announcements to assist employers impacted by the economic crisis. One of the measures put into place almost immediately after the rise of pandemic was the extension of LMIA validity from 6 to 9 months to facilitate foreign workers travelling to Canada. Also, employers are given exemption in submitting minor administrative changes to the LMIA that would not change the terms and conditions of the job offer. In addition, the process for employers willing to change the name of already identified foreign worker, for reasons related to the pandemic, are expedited.
Please refer to our LinkedIn page to get access to online webinars or articles posted on the most recent Canadian immigration updates. To discuss the details of your situation, please reach out to our office and we will gladly assist you.