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.
Foreign nationals outside Canada must submit work permit applications electronically. For information, please see
- Ministerial Instructions with respect to the processing of certain new and existing applications for temporary residence
- Temporary residence: COVID-19 program delivery
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:
- They are exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa as per section R190
- They are eligible to enter Canada while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place
- They meet all other work permit eligibility requirements depending on the work permit category they have applied under (see Steps to determine work and assessment of work permit applications)
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
- Prioritizing work permit processing for essential occupations
- Prioritizing work permit processing for certain foreign nationals in the film and television industry
- LMIA validity and offers of employment
- Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and the Agricultural Stream (non-SAWP)
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:
- NOC 6331 – Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale
- NOC 7511 – Transport truck drivers
- NOC 8252 – Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
- NOC 8431 – General farm workers
- NOC 8432 – Nursery and greenhouse workers
- NOC 8611 – Harvesting labourers
- NOC 9463 – Fish and seafood plant workers
- NOC 9617 – Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing
- NOC 9618 – Labourers in fish and seafood processing
- NOC 9462 – Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
OPPB will also pull a list of the following NOC codes for health-related work permit applications to ensure they are prioritized:
- NOC 3011 – Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
- NOC 3012 – Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
- NOC 3111 – Specialist physicians
- NOC 3112 – General practitioners and family physicians
- NOC 3124 – Allied primary health practitioners
- NOC 3125 – Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
- NOC 3131 – Pharmacists
- NOC 3211 – Medical laboratory technologists
- NOC 3212 – Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants
- NOC 3214 – Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
- NOC 3215 – Medical radiation technologists
- NOC 3217 – Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c.
- NOC 3233 – Licensed practical nurses
- NOC 3234 – Paramedical occupations
- NOC 3413 – Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
- NOC 4411 – Home child care providers (LMIA-required in-Canada applicants)
- NOC 4412 – Home support workers, excluding housekeepers (LMIA-required in-Canada applicants)
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
- submit a complete initial work permit application online to work within the film and television industry (LMIA exemption code C14),
- apply from outside Canada and the United States, or apply from the United States and require a TRV, and
- self-identify as an essential film and television industry worker after submitting their work permit application by sending a request via the IRCC Web form.
The following foreign nationals in the film and television industry are not eligible for priority processing under this facilitation measure:
- foreign nationals who are work permit exempt under section R186;
- TRV-exempt foreign nationals who apply from the United States. These applicants are able to apply for a work permit at the port of entry as per section R198 and do not require further facilitation.
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:
- Employer-specific work permits with LMIA exemptions
- LMIA validity and suspension, and duration of employment
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.
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.
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