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COVID-19: Essential Temporary Foreign Workers exempted from giving Biometrics

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June 15, 2020

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COVID-19: Essential Temporary Foreign Workers exempted from giving Biometrics

On June 5, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that the temporary foreign workers who are currently playing their major roles, supporting the essential industries are exempted from giving biometrics as a temporary measure. Foreign Workers are combatting the fight against COVID-19, by securing Canada’s food supply, health security and various other aspects of trade and commerce.

As we are aware, there are ongoing service disruptions related to COVID-19, due to which, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has come up with a temporary public policy that exempts foreign workers belonging to specific sectors – agriculture, agri-food and health care from having to give their biometric before arriving to Canada, in cases where the biometric collection sites closest to them are closed.

IRCC mentions that most of the workers coming to Canada have already given their biometrics since they have worked in Canada previously, however, some of the temporary workers as seasonal agricultural workers, will be able to give biometrics at the ports of entry (POEs) to Canada. With that note, the security checks will be continued to perform for ensuring safety of all Canadians.

Foreign Workers who are covered under the policy

If you are a temporary foreign worker whose occupation belongs to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) under the following categories, you are covered from this public policy.

  • agricultural and agri-food sectors
  • health-care sector
  • truck drivers

Things to do before you travel to Canada

  • You must be aware that there is a mandatory self-isolation in place, you must have a plan to quarantine, include a place where you will not be in contact with individuals for 14 days once you arrive in Canada.
  • Disobeying will lead to serious consequences for not being intact with the quarantine plan
  • Employers responsible for housing should provide accommodation, allowing workers to quarantine

Once you arrive in Canada

  • As you arrive in Canada, you might be asked to provide biometrics at the Port of Entry in Canada
  • You will be assessed thoroughly to make sure you are in Canada for essential purpose. You should have valid documents with you, a letter of introduction for a work permit, and a valid job offer.
  • You can start working in Canada after completing the 14-days quarantine period.
  • Your health, including quarantine plan will be assessed before you leave the port of entry.

If you are not covered by the policy

  • In case you are not covered by the public policy because your application is still in progress, and your biometric application deadline is near, but, you are not able to give biometrics because the Visa Application Centres (VACs) or other biometrics collection sites are closed, then you do not have to provide biometrics until these sites resumes their service.
  • This is applicable even if the biometric instruction letter (BIL) states that the deadline is 30 days or 90 days.
  • Applications that are in progress will not be closed or refused if there are any missing documents due to COVID-19. You will have to keep checking for updates when biometrics collection centres would be open and complete the steps as soon as possible for avoiding any delays.

In the past months, IRCC has already introduced several special measures providing flexibility due to possible disruptions caused by COVID-19. This public policy is another example of such temporary measure to accommodate many foreign nationals facing problems during the pandemic.

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