Temporary workers – Processing: COVID-19 program delivery

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

Exemptions ending for certain travellers entering Canada

Effective January 15, 2022, 00:01 (EST), some foreign national travellers who were previously allowed to enter Canada without being fully vaccinated will now be required to be fully vaccinated in order to enter Canada. There will also be changes to testing and quarantine exemptions for certain travellers, regardless of citizenship, entering Canada.

Find out if you can enter Canada

Foreign nationals outside Canada must submit work permit applications electronically. For information, please see

Foreign nationals who are exempt from the travel restrictions may apply for a work permit at the port of entry (POE) if they are eligible to do so as per subsection 198(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). To apply at the POE, foreign nationals must meet all of the following:

Foreign nationals in Canada may submit applications to extend or change conditions on their work permits online or on paper. Only foreign nationals who meet one of the exemptions from the mandatory e-application requirement may submit paper applications.

Note: Work permit applicants eligible for the urgent referrals process for work permits should continue to be processed on a priority basis, where operationally feasible.

On this page

Requests for additional information on open applications

All applications should be submitted with the required mandatory documents. This includes the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) – exempt offer of employment number, the LMIA or proof that the employer has submitted the LMIA application.

For further information on requesting additional information under COVID-19 processing, see Requests for additional information on open applications on the General Processing instruction page.

Note: For LMIA-exempt work permit applications, the offer of employment is a regulatory requirement under subsection R209.11(1) and must be provided by the employer through the Employer Portal before a work permit application can be submitted.

Prioritizing work permit processing for essential occupations

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will prioritize the processing of LMIAs for the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes related to agricultural, agri-food and truck driving occupations. Where operationally possible, offices are encouraged to prioritize work permit applications for these NOCs, in addition to health-related occupations, as these occupations have been identified as essential and critical for Canada.

A daily report is being pulled by the Operations Planning and Performance Branch (OPPB) and distributed to the International and Centralized Networks to ensure the following NOC codes related to work permit applications are prioritized:

OPPB will also pull a list of the following NOC codes for health-related work permit applications to ensure they are prioritized:

Note: While applications in certain sectors are being prioritized based on NOC codes, this does not preclude an officer from prioritizing a case (should all processing requirements be met and operational capacity allow) where there is a demonstrated urgent need for the worker in Canada.

Prioritizing work permit processing for certain foreign nationals in the film and television industry

Fully vaccinated, temporary resident visa (TRV)-exempt essential film and television workers who are LMIA-exempt under administrative code C14, may submit their application at the port of entry.

Unvaccinated essential workers in the film and television industry entering Canada from outside the United States and requiring a TRV are eligible for priority processing. Where operationally feasible, offices are encouraged to process eligible applicants within the 14-day priority service standard that has been established.

To be eligible for priority processing, foreign nationals must

The following foreign nationals in the film and television industry are not eligible for priority processing under this facilitation measure:

Foreign nationals are instructed to write the following (along with any other pertinent information) in the “Your enquiry” section of their web form request in order for the Client Experience Branch to identify requests and distribute them to the appropriate office for priority processing:

FILMTV2020: Requesting priority processing for Film & TV Industry workers due to COVID-19.”

Expedited processing timelines will only begin once the applicant has received confirmation that their application has been identified for priority processing. Officers should send eligibility confirmation to applicants using the Film & TV Priority Processing Eligibility Letter. Officers should inform clients if they are not eligible for priority processing using the Film & TV Priority Processing Non-Eligibility Letter. If biometrics are not submitted, the application is not eligible for priority processing and should be returned to the regular processing queue.

LMIA validity and offers of employment

Given the current exceptional circumstances, there may be an increase in the suspension of LMIAs and the withdrawal of offers of employment in the employer portal. Officers are reminded to verify that the offer has not been withdrawn and that the LMIA has not been suspended before finalizing the work permit application. For more details, consult:

For LMIA-required work permit applications, officers are reminded to review the ESDC Comments field in the LMIA under the “Employment Details” tab to make sure that there has been no change to the name of the foreign national in the LMIA for which the officer is assessing the application.

ESDC will issue LMIAs with a 9-month validity as opposed to 6 months to provide more flexibility for submission of work permit applications.

Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and the Agricultural Stream (non-SAWP)

Specific instructions have been developed for agricultural workers given their importance to food security in Canada. The following guidance has been drafted to facilitate the processing of agriculture-related work permit applications as well as the workers’ arrival in Canada.

Existing and new applications

Given that some migration offices abroad may be affected by closures during the pandemic, the Rapid Response Operations Centre (RROC) will provide support for the processing of online applications. All new applications will be processed in cooperation with the responsible migration office. Standard operating procedures have been established between each migration office and the RROC, taking into consideration office- and caseload-specific factors.

CBSA notification

In order to accommodate these clients, the CBSA will need to receive notice of impending arrivals as far in advance as possible so that staffing and equipment preparations can be made. Officers can follow the instructions under Temporary resident visa-required applicants to provide that information to the 4 specified CBSA contacts. Upon receiving the flight schedules, the Traveller Operations Division will ensure that the appropriate port of entry is notified.

In addition, the CBSA requests a list of passengers as far in advance as possible, preferably no less than 24 hours, so they can print any pre-approved work permit documents prior to arrival. Individuals who are not biometrically enrolled must be identified on that list. This will greatly assist border services officers in speeding up POE processing and minimizing contact.

Refer to the section on Biometrics for instructions.

Fully vaccinated agricultural workers will not be required to quarantine after arrival in Canada.

Unvaccinated agricultural workers will still be required to quarantine for 14 days before they start working. For more details, see Guidance for employers of temporary foreign workers regarding COVID-19.

Immigration medical examinations for Agricultural workers

Follow regular guidance on who must submit to an immigration medical exam.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: