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Travel Exemptions to Canada under COVID-19

Posted on 18/09/2020

Do you want to work in Canada and have a job offer, but are uncertain who the current travel restrictions apply to? Let’s go through the exemptions to travel restrictions to Canada under current COVID-19 regulations.

You can travel to Canada on a work permit if:

  • You’re a foreign national with an employer-specific and valid work permit who is currently outside Canada and You are travelling to Canada for what is called non-discretionary purposes. This means:
    • Your employer in Canada remains open and has not been required to shut down by the authorities as a non-essential business.
    • You will be able to start working at the employer as soon as your 14-day quarantine is over.
    • You have planned out your 14-day quarantine: where you will stay, how you will be provided with groceries, medication etc.
    • Present IMM 1442 (valid work permit) to airline officials in order to be allowed to board (along with other required documentation)
  • You’re a foreign national with an open work permit currently outside Canada and a valid job offer in Canada and you meet the non-discretionary purposes outlined above (employer remains open; you can start working after your quarantine; your quarantine has been planned ahead of time).
  • You’re a foreign national with a valid work permit whose primary residence is already in Canada and you are returning to Canada.
    • Whether your employer remains open for business is not a deciding factor in this case. Rather, the fact that you live in Canada (primary residence is in Canada) means your travel is classified as non-optional and you are exempt from travel restrictions.
  • You’re a foreign national who has been approved for a work permit, but the permit has not yet been issued and you are using your Letter of Introduction and you are travelling to Canada for non-discretionary and/or non-optional reasons.
    • Please note that you must have a job offer in Canada, as in the above examples (aside from the case where your primary residence is already in Canada) or you will not be allowed into Canada. You cannot arrive in Canada to look for work even with a valid open work permit. You need a valid job offer from an employer who remains open for business.
    • Present a paper copy or e-version of your Letter of Introduction to the airline to be able to board your flight along with other required documentation.
  • You’re an immediate family member (spouse or common-law partner, dependent child, dependent child of a dependent child, parent or step-parent, and guardian or tutor) of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Please remember you will have to comply with all the standard requirements for admissibility to Canada.
    • Immediate family members of temporary workers in Canada must obtain authorization from IRCC to come to Canada. Your reasons for coming to Canada must be deemed non-optional/non-discretionary.
  • You’re an International Experience Canada work permit holder who has a letter of introduction and whose employer is still in business during the COVID-19 outbreak. You must still meet all the standard requirements (age, education, and work experience requirements, for example) under one of the 3 IEC programs:
    • Working Holiday
    • Young Professionals
    • International Co-op

You can travel to Canada on a Temporary Resident Visa or eTA and are exempt from having to have a work permit (although you are still required to quarantine for 14 days) if:

  • You are a provider of emergency services to preserve life or property (firefighters, medical service providers) and are a foreign national who would normally qualify for an LMIA-exempt work permit under exemption code C-13.
  • You are a foreign student in healthcare who will work in Canada as part of a temporary training program in accordance with IRPR paragraph 186(p). You must provide written approval from the Canadian regulatory body of your specific field in healthcare.
  • You are foreign worker in the marine transportation sector, and you are considered essential for the movement of goods by vessel in accordance with IRPR paragraph 186(s).
  • You are a foreign national who is entering Canada to deliver, maintain, or repair medically necessary equipment under IRPR paragraph 186(a).
  • You are a foreign national who is entering Canada to deliver the following medical products:
    • Cells, Blood, Blood products, Tissue, Organs, or Other Body Parts required for patient care in Canada under IRPR 186(t).

You can travel to Canada on a Temporary Resident Visa or eTA and are exempt from having a work permit and if asymptomatic are also exempt from the mandatory quarantine if:

  • You are foreign national who is a technician or specialist required to inspect, maintain, or repair equipment needed to support critical infrastructure (Energy & Utilities, Information & Communications Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government, Manufacturing).
    • If you will be working under an existing sales or warranty agreement you can be classified as a business visitor who does not require a letter from the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) nor a National Interest Exemption Letter.
    • If you will be working outside of any warranty arrangement, then you need a work permit.
  • You are a foreign national who will be supporting open-water aquaculture-related activities, whether commercial or research based. This includes:
    • Captains, deckhands, observers, inspectors, scientists, veterinarians and any others involved in these types of activities.
    • And who proceed directly to an open-water facility or vessel upon entering Canada
    • If you are will be working on a foreign-owned vessel you can qualify as crew under IRPR 186(s) and you will not require a letter from the CPHO or a National Interest Exemption Letter.
    • If you will not be working on a foreign-owned vessel then you must obtain a work permit.

Please note that everyone listed above must undergo an Immigration Medical Examination if required to do so, including those who are work-permit exempt.

The following is documentary evidence you should present to Air Carriers to be able to board your flight:

  • Emergency Service Providers: Letter of Invitation from relevant organization in Canada
  • Healthcare Students: Letter of Invitation from teaching institution in Canada
  • Persons joining vessels: Letter from Shipping Agents
  • Persons providing essential service: evidence you are one of the type of workers identified above in the final section.

Posted in News Tips and tagged COVID-19, Work Permit

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