COVID-19 Pandemic: Update on Canadian Immigration

COVID-19 Pandemic: Update on Canadian Immigration

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization assessed COVID-19 as a pandemic. The Canadian government has unveiled aggressive new measures to contain the coronavirus and this has direct impact on Canadian immigration. This bulletin will provide a summary of the key immigration updates for the period between May 23, 2020 and June 22, 2020.

Travel Ban

On March 20, 2020, the Governor General issued two Orders in Council pursuant to section 58 of the Quarantine Act. The effect of these is the creation of a temporary travel ban on foreign nationals travelling to Canada from overseas (valid until June 30, 2020) and from the United States, unless the foreign nationals meet one of the exemptions to the travel ban. The travel ban applies to travel by land, air and water, and prevents foreign nationals from travelling to Canada for optional or discretionary purposes, such as tourism or recreation. On June 21, 2020, the Government of Canada extended the US travel ban for 30 days until July 21, 2020.

Visa Application Centers

On June 11, 2020, some Visa Application Centres have begun resuming limited services, including biometrics. Below is a list of the Visa Application Centres that are currently open:

  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Erbil, Iraq
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Osaka, Japan
  • The Hague Netherlands
  • Rome, Italy

Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”)

On June 10, 2020, ESDC announced new recruitment requirements for LMIA applications due to the economic impacts caused by COVID-19. This update applies to pending LMIA applications received by ESDC before June 15, 2020. This means for all LMIA applications received by ESDC before June 15, 2020, the advertisement needs to be extended for an additional two consecutive weeks.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”)

On June 9, 2020, Immigration Canada confirmed that Canada will continue to issue work permits to citizens of the United Kingdom under CETA, until December 31, 2020, despite the United Kingdom has left the European Union.

Travel Restrictions

On June 8, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that foreign nationals who are immediate family member of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and who do not have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs of symptoms of COVID-19, will be exempt from the prohibition on entry to Canada if they are entering to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days. The mandatory self-isolation requirement for 14 days still applies to the foreign nationals.


On June 5, 2020, Immigration Canada introduced a temporary public policy exempting some essential workers from giving biometrics before coming to Canada (the “Public Policy’). The Public Policy covers essential workers whose National Occupational Classification falls under the agricultural and agri-food sector, health care sector, and truck driving sector. These essential workers will be required to complete the biometrics at the port-of-entry.

BC PNP Tech Pilot Program

On June 4, 2020, the BC PNP Tech Pilot has been extended for another year, until June 2021. The program criteria are the same. The BC PNP Tech Pilot program offers a pathway to permanent residence for foreign workers who have job offers in one of 29 eligible tech occupations in British Columbia.


Guidelines for Canadian immigration and travel are evolving quickly and are subject to frequent change with little to no prior notice. If you have any questions regarding how the current immigration policies may apply to your current situation, please contact Daniel Lee at or 604 484 1789.


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