Temporary public policy exempting essential workers from giving biometrics overseas

Ottawa, June 5, 2020 – Temporary foreign workers are playing a key role in helping to safeguard the continuity of Canada’s food supply and health security as well as trade and commerce. Due to the ongoing service disruptions related to COVID-19, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has put in place a public policy to temporarily exempt foreign workers in certain sectors, namely the agriculture, agri-food and health-care sectors, from having to give their biometrics before coming to Canada if the biometrics collection site closest to them is closed.

Most of the workers in essential occupations who are coming to Canada have already given their biometrics, as they have previously worked in Canada. Some exempt workers, such as seasonal agricultural workers, will now be giving their biometrics on arrival at Canadian ports of entry (POEs).

We continue to perform security checks to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.

Who is covered under the public policy

You are covered under this public policy if you are a worker whose National Occupational Classification (NOC) falls under one of the following:

What to do before you travel to Canada

Before you travel to Canada, you must have a plan to quarantine. Your plan must include a place to stay where you will not have contact with vulnerable individuals for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. This is mandatory, and there will be serious consequences for anyone who doesn’t follow their quarantine plan. Employers who are responsible for housing their workers, for example, some agricultural employers, are required to provide adequate accommodations that allow workers to quarantine.

Find out what happens if you are travelling to Canada by air.

What happens when you arrive in Canada

You may be asked to give your biometrics at a POE in Canada.

You will also be assessed to ensure that you are coming for an essential purpose—for example, you have a letter of introduction for a work permit, and you have a valid job offer and can work once you enter Canada and complete your 14 day quarantine period.

Your health and quarantine plan will be assessed before you leave the POE.

New extension if you are not covered under the public policy, your application is in progress and you still can’t give your biometrics

If the visa application centres (VACs) or other biometrics collection sites in your country or region are still closed, and your extension to give biometrics is ending, you won’t have to give your biometrics until the biometrics collection sites reopen. This applies to you, even if your biometric instruction letter (BIL) says that your deadline is 30 or 90 days.

No application in progress will be closed or refused because of documents that are missing due to COVID-19. Make sure to keep checking online to see when the VACs and other biometrics collection sites start to reopen. Once you are able, complete the steps, including making an appointment to give your biometrics, as soon as possible to avoid delays.

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