THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON FOREIGN WORKERS IN CANADA

With COVID-19 causing so much uncertainty for foreign workers and their employers in Canada, the government has announced a number of new measures that have affected immigration applications as well as the recruitment and management of foreign workers over the last few months. Since employers need to be cognizant of all the new guidelines to ensure that they are complying with all the regulations, I have answered some of the most frequently asked questions that have arisen since the onset of the pandemic:

How has COVID-19 impacted LMIA and work permit applications in Canada?

Canada has continued to exempt the entry of foreign workers to Canada and as such, new LMIA and work permits applications continue to be accepted and processed. Some applicants might face processing delays on the work permit applications due to limited staff as well as the temporary closure of consulate offices outside of Canada. A majority of the VAC centers also remained closed in different countries which further contributes to the delays.

Do foreign workers in Canada still have to give biometrics?

No, the biometrics requirements for all foreign nationals applying from within Canada has been cancelled until further notice.

Can foreign visitors in Canada apply for a work permit?

Yes, foreign visitors who have been present in Canada on and since August 24 with a valid job offer can apply for an employer-specific work permit and when approved, receive the permit without having to exit the country.

Has the government made any concessions for foreign workers with an expired work permit?

Applicants with a valid Canadian work permit in the past 12 months can request an expedited authorization to begin working while the work permit extension application is being processed.

Can the work location on LMIA be amended due to the new age of remote work?

Yes, with many work buildings closing down as a result of work-from-home measures ensuing from Covid-19, this is considered a change in work location. In typical circumstances, employers must provide an address for the physical work location on the LMIA application. However, in light of the changes post COVID, Service Canada is being more lenient and considering employees working remotely, only if the employee is within the vicinity of the work location.

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