Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Foreign workers

COVID-19 has changed how you’ll apply for a work permit and how we’ll process your application.

If you haven’t applied for a work permit yet

Due to COVID-19, we can’t process applications normally.

To keep processing applications from people who are exempt from the travel restrictions, we’re temporarily changing how you can apply to visit, work or study in Canada.

You must apply online when you apply for a work permit from outside Canada.

Processing times outside Canada

Due to COVID-19, we can’t provide accurate processing times.

Check your application status to get updates on

Priority processing for work permit applicants

If your occupation is not on the lists below, we’ll still process your application. However, it may take longer than it normally would.

People who perform or support essential services

We’re prioritizing applications for people who perform or support essential services.

When you fill out the work permit application form

To get priority processing, follow these steps:

  1. Get the 4-digit National Occupation Classification (NOC) number your employer entered on the
    • offer of employment or
    • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  2. Enter that number as your Job title:
    • This is box 4 in the Details of intended work in Canada section.
    • You must only enter the number.
Eligible occupations that perform or support essential services
Agriculture and agri-food occupations
  • Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers—retail and wholesale (NOC 6331)
  • Transport truck drivers (NOC 7511)
  • Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers (NOC 8252)
  • General farm workers (NOC 8431)
  • Nursery and greenhouse workers (NOC 8432)
  • Harvesting labourers (NOC 8611)
  • Fish and seafood plant workers (NOC 9463)
  • Labourers in food and beverage processing (NOC 9617)
  • Labourers in fish and seafood processing (NOC 9618)
  • Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers (NOC 9462)
Health-care occupations
  • Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors (NOC 3011)
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012)
  • Specialist physicians (NOC 3111)
  • General practitioners and family physicians (NOC 3112)
  • Allied primary health practitioners (NOC 3124)
  • Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating (NOC 3125)
  • Pharmacists (NOC 3131)
  • Medical laboratory technologists (NOC 3211)
  • Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants (NOC 3212)
  • Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists (NOC 3214)
  • Medical radiation technologists (NOC 3215)
  • Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c. (NOC 3217)
  • Licensed practical nurses (NOC 3233)
  • Paramedical occupations (NOC 3234)
  • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates (NOC 3413)
  • Home child care providers (LMIA-required in-Canada applicants) (NOC 4411)
  • Home support workers, excluding housekeepers (LMIA-required in-Canada applicants) (NOC 4412)
Film and television workers

You’re eligible for priority processing if you apply online for your work permit and you’re either

How to get priority processing

After you apply for your work permit, you must use the web form to tell us that you’re a film and TV worker. When you complete the form, copy and paste the message below into the Your enquiry field:

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

Where possible, you’ll get a decision on your application within 3 weeks (5 days to identify your application for priority processing and 14 days to process it).

If you don’t include the code FILMTV2020, it may take longer to identify your application.

Overnight/residential camp counsellors

You’re eligible for priority processing if you meet all of the following:

  • you applied online for a work permit
    • you’re eligible for an exemption from a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) as an overnight/residential camp counsellor (make sure your employer used LMIA exemption code C20 in their offer of employment)
  • your work permit application was complete (not missing anything)
  • you’re physically outside Canada

Day camp counsellors are not eligible for priority processing.

Deadline to request priority processing

You must apply for your work permit and make your request for priority processing before September 21, 2021.

Who needs to request priority processing

If you applied for your work permit on or after May 31, 2021, you need to follow the instructions below to get priority processing. If you applied before that date, you don’t need to do anything for your application to be prioritized.

How to get priority processing

After you apply for your work permit, you must use the web form to tell us that you’re an overnight/residential camp counsellor.

When you’re completing the form you must

residentialcamp2021: Requesting priority processing for camp counsellors due to COVID-19.”

Where possible, you’ll get a decision on your application within 3 weeks (5 days to identify your application for priority processing and 14 days to process it).

If you don’t follow the instructions above, it may take longer to identify your application.

COVID-19 restrictions: Who can apply at the port of entry

There are restrictions on who can apply for a work permit or give their biometrics at a Canadian port of entry right now due to travel restrictions.

You should only apply at the port of entry if you’re eligible.

Before you travel to Canada

All travellers entering Canada must follow testing and quarantine requirements to keep everyone safe. Under certain conditions, you may be exempt from some of these requirements.

Find out if you’re exempt from any testing and quarantine requirements.

Completing your application

Office closures or service changes due to COVID-19 may affect how you complete some steps in the application process. Find out how COVID-19 has affected

If we ask you to submit documents for an application in progress

Because many applicants can now provide the supporting documents needed for us to process applications, we’ll no longer be automatically giving you more time to submit information.

Find out what to do if you still have documents to provide for your application.

If you’ve been approved for a work permit

Due to COVID-19, there are additional requirements for workers travelling to Canada.

Make sure you’re prepared to arrive in Canada.

If you’re already in Canada

If you’re already in Canada, in most cases, you must apply online to extend your work permit or get a new work permit.

If you can’t apply online because of a disability or because there is a problem with the online application, you can apply on paper.

The deadline for restoring your status has changed

As of September 1, 2021, you can no longer restore your status if it expired more than 90 days ago.

Check your application status

Due to COVID-19, we can’t provide accurate processing times.

Check your application status to get updates on

  • your application
  • where we’re at with processing during the pandemic

COVID-19: Changes to biometrics requirement for in-Canada temporary residence applicants

As a temporary measure, if you’re in Canada and applying to work, study or stay temporarily in Canada, you do not need to give your biometrics. Learn more about the exemption.

If we ask you to submit documents for an application in progress

Because many applicants can now provide the supporting documents needed for us to process applications, we’ll no longer be automatically giving you more time to submit information.

Find out what to do if you still have documents to provide for your application.

If you have a valid work permit

Change your status to visitor

Extend your stay in Canada as a visitor if you’re no longer working

Change jobs or employers

Get permission to work while we process your employer-specific work permit

If you don’t have a valid work permit

Visitors who need work permits

Temporary process for visitors to apply online for a work permit (includes former workers who changed status in the last 12 months)

Workers whose status as a worker has expired

Restore your status and get a new work permit

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