Overseas work permit applicants defined as essential workers: Biometrics exemption under a temporary public policy

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Special measures were implemented to facilitate work permit issuance overseas in certain key industries (seasonal agricultural workers, agricultural stream workers, agri-food sector workers, truck drivers and health-care workers).

When biometric enrolment is not possible due to travel restrictions or visa application centre closures, the decision has been made to waive biometrics collection overseas for these workers (who require biometrics). Clients may then be enrolled at the port of entry (POE) upon arrival when feasible. These measures will remain in place until the public policy is revoked by the Minister.

These measures apply to the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes:

Agriculture and agri-food sectors (including truck drivers)

Health-care sector

If the applicant is subject to the biometrics requirement (meaning they are not exempt under the 1 in 10 policy), an officer specified under the Instrument of Designation and Delegation may waive the requirement overseas in accordance with the public policy in order to expedite processing, except in situations where

If the applicant has met all other program requirements and there are no outstanding concerns, such as those cited above, the application can be finalized and an approval letter issued to the client.

If biometrics are waived overseas, officers should select “Exempt-Pub Pol (in-Canada)” in order to bypass the biometrics requirement (note: there is no other “public policy exempt” drop-down option, which is why this one is being recommended as the closest option that reflects the correct exemption reason). The biometric instruction letter (BIL) will need to be cancelled where biometrics have been exempted. In the case of an e-application, if the BIL has been automatically sent to the client, the office should consider communicating with the client as appropriate. IRCC will also endeavour to advise clients of this change through other channels (outreach to stakeholders, etc.).

If the biometric fees have been paid, a refund will need to be issued.

The biometric fee record can be either deleted if there has been no payment, or changed to “entered in error” if a payment has been made.

To mitigate the risks associated with waiving biometrics, collection for this group will be done, when operationally feasible, on arrival at the POE. In order for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to be alerted as to who needs to be enrolled at the POE, a visible remark should be added to the work permit itself that says, “COVID PP – Bio Req at POE”.

Case notes in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) should be added to the application as follows:

“Biometrics collection waived overseas under special COVID-19 measures. No specific inadmissibility concerns noted.”

Where possible, applicants should be advised that their biometrics will be collected upon arrival at the POE by CBSA border services officers.

CBSA’s collection of biometrics at POEs will be discretionary for the purpose of assessing admissibility under subsection A16(2) and not for the purpose of rendering a decision on the visa or permit application under section A10.01. Fees will not be collected at POEs.

However, prints taken at the POE will be done as an IMM enrolment type, and therefore clients will benefit from the 1 in 10 policy, meaning that prints taken for this group at the POE can be applied to future temporary residence applications (for up to 10 years).

The Centralized Network will manually associate prints collected at POEs with clients in GCMS retroactively.

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