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Executive Summaries Mar 23, 2020

COVID-19: Update on Travel Restrictions to Canada by Air and Land

On March 20, 2020, the Canadian government provided an update on the current travel restrictions.

The following exemptions will apply to foreign nationals “who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home”. These exemptions will apply when travelling by air, and when travelling by land border, travel by these individuals will be considered essential travel.

What this means in simple terms, is that these individuals will be allowed to enter Canada:

  • seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers;
  • international students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020;
  • permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.

The government also announced modifications on a temporary basis to the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process for agriculture and food processing employers. The required two-week recruitment period will be waived for the next six months and, the maximum allowable employment duration for workers in the low-wage stream, will be increased from one to two years.

These individuals will be subject to health screening protocols before travel and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

The Canadian government will make further announcements on these exemptions and has advised that individuals should not try to travel to Canada until more details are provided on these exemptions.

These travel exemptions are in addition to other travel exemptions announced earlier this week by the Canadian government which allowed for travel to Canada by:

  • close family members of Canadian citizens;
  • close family members of Canadian permanent residents;
  • a person who is authorized, in writing, by a consular officer of the Government of Canada to enter Canada for the purpose of reuniting immediate family members;
  • a person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act;
  • accredited diplomats and family members (including NATO, those under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, other organizations);
  • aircrews;
  • any foreign national, or group of foreign nationals, whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Minister of Public Safety;
  • members of the Canadian military, visiting forces and their family members;
  • transiting passengers.

BCF is continuing to monitor official announcements from the Canadian government. Please contact our immigration professionals if you have any questions.

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