How can employers step up worker migration in Canada

How to improve essential foreign worker migration in Canada

Canada is hailed for the feats of resilience that it has displayed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada immigration, even with restrictions, still promises opportunities for aspirants willing to live, study, and work in Canada. But there’s more to be done to increase the influx of skilled immigrants who are so dearly needed by employers in the country’s provinces.

Currently, only travelers on essential travel are allowed entry in Canada. Also, only immigrants who are required for doing essential jobs,like in healthcare, are allowed to arrive and work in Canada. For the greater economic good, Canada had better expedite the arrival of foreign essential workers with Canadian employers being knowledgeable about the ways of doing so.

Here are a few suggestions for Canadian employers:

Learn the new rules and norms

Basically, Canada has a set of norms applicable to Canadian employers who want to recruit a skilled foreigner as a TFW. To know how the rules that govern this process have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is necessary.

As per the new rules, the immigration process is guided by the Canadian government’s executive orders that apply to mainly 2 categories of migration:

  • Travel from the US
  • Travel from countries other than the US

Recently, travelers from any foreign country (including the US) are required to meet 2 criteria:

  • The purpose of travel must be essential or non-discretionary
  • If the traveler is from any other country other than the US, he/she must meet at least one of the exceptions granted broadly for travel to Canada. This will include an exemption to essential service providers as per the Immigration & Refugee Protection Regulations.

Using the advantage of the neighborhood: the US

Canada’s association with the US has been a cooperative venture for decades now. Considering the advantages of having a strong friend next door, Canada has given special consideration to the US when compared to other countries.

  • Travelers from the US needn’t be arriving in Canada as essential foreign workers though the purpose of travel has to be of an essential, non-discretionary nature.
  • Foreign workers from the US are allowed to make an application for a visa at the Canadian POE to work in Canada. This is again subject to the essential nature of the travel.
  • Besides US citizens, foreign nationals residing in the US with avail the status in the US like a US work visa or US dual citizenship, are granted the exemptions cited above.
  • The US citizens don’t require biometrics verification to get a Canada work visa.

Understanding the “essential”

Canadian employers must stick to the government’s meaning of what “essential” is to keep getting skilled foreign workers to fill their vacancies. The definition of “essential foreign worker” requires the candidate to:

  • Work in any of the 10 infrastructure sectors considered critical
  • Perform a function that’s deemed essential within that sector

The 10 sectors are:

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Manufacturing
  • Health
  • Government
  • Finance
  • Transportation
  • Safety
  • Food
  • Information & Communication Technologies
  • Water

Know the temporary rules

It’s necessary for Canadian employers to be well aware of the temporary rules implemented in view of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • The LMIA is a major factor for a Canadian employer to recruit a TFW. Among the specific requirements that employers have to meet are the minimum advertising requirements. The employer must prove that he/she is unable to recruit a Canadian and hence attempting to recruit a TFW. Since March 2020, ESDC has waived the LMIA minimum requirement for advertising for certain NOCs.
  • IRCC has temporarily exempted TFWs of certain categories involved in certain essential occupations from giving their biometrics before arriving in Canada. This is in view of the large number of biometrics collection centers across the world due to COVID-19. The TFWs concerned here include workers in:
    • The healthcare sectors
    • The agricultural and agri-foods sectors
    • Truck drivers

Lay emphasis on the “essential”

At each step of the immigration process, the Canadian employer must affirm the fact that the TFW will be providing services of an essential nature. This includes the stages of:

  • Submitting an application for LMIA
  • Applying for a work permit for the TFW
  • Completing the medicals stage for a work permit


As of now, ESDC is asking for the recruitment of all pending LMIAs to be done under the conditions currently prevailing in the labor market. ESDC will contact employers who posted advertisements for job offers before March 15, 2020, and ask them to re-post those advertisements. By re-posting the advertisements, the employers will meet the current requirements for recruitment and help ESDC review their applications.

Follow up

The employers are advised to monitor the status of their LMIA applications so that they can go ahead with different steps with ease. So, if ESDC is taking longer than the standard processing time, like 10 days for jobs/positions in the top 10% wage earners, the employer had better follow up.

Also, calling up a local MP and explaining the situation, and seeking support can help avoid delays or speed up application processes.

Complete police clearances

Ensure that the necessary police clearance is obtained in which the applicant must appear in person and give their fingerprints. As COVID-19 has made it impossible for many to appear in person, they are advised to get the clearances necessary as soon as they can when the facilities are open or accessible.

Have a quarantine plan

Any foreign worker entering Canada must undergo a 14-day quarantine. For this, the candidate must have a quarantine plan. The information about the self-isolation/quarantine plan that has to be presented to the CBSA at the border will include:

  • The place at which the worker is staying during the quarantine
  • The worker’s plan for traveling to his/her accommodation
  • The source and method of procuring food, medications, essentials, and others while they self-isolate
  • The confirmation that the worker will not be in contact with any vulnerable persons while in self-isolation

Certain provinces have minor differences in the self-isolation requirements and the exemptions granted. But they won’t change the broader requirements.

Migration of family

The employers must anticipate and be prepared to receive the foreign essential workers in Canada along with their family members. If the spouse of the foreign essential worker applies for a work permit in Canada along with the principal applicant, it will be possible for the spouse to enter Canada. This is possible if the principal applicant gets a work permit approval.

Though the essential foreign workers are currently temporarily exempted from giving their biometric information, their family members aren’t. Such family members will include spouses and dependents aged above 14 years. Also, even after procuring a work permit, the family members will have to prove that their trip to Canada is for essential non-discretionary purposes.

Those spouses who are trying to arrive in Canada on a visit to reunite with a family member with a valid status in Canada could get a written authorization from IRCC. However, this family member must be relocating to Canada for the long-term.

If you found this blog engaging, you may also like…

Why Canada? A quick guide to ponder and decide on migration


TFW – Temporary Foreign Worker

POE –Port of Entry

LMIA – Labour Market Impact Assessment

ESDC – Employment and Social Development Canada

NOC – National Occupation Code

MP – Member of Parliament

CBSA – Canada Border Services Agency

About author View all posts

Anshul Singhal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × two =