COVID-19 Immigration Update: Public Policy Change for Certain Out-of-Status Foreign Nationals

On July 14, 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) announced two important public policy changes that will assist Canadian employers and foreign workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The first update surrounds restoration of status. Normally, if a foreign national in Canada remains in Canada beyond the validity of their permit, they may apply for new status and to ‘restore’ their lost status, only if they submit that application within 90 days of losing said status. As of July 14, 2020, IRCC will allow any foreign national who has lost status since January 30, 2020 to apply to restore their status up to December 31, 2020.

The second public policy update will allow for interim work authorization for certain workers who have temporarily lost status. Certain foreign nationals who previously held a work permit and lost status after January 30, 2020 will be eligible to request authorization to work while waiting for their new work permit and restoration of status to be processed. Previously, a foreign worker who lost status was required to wait until the new permit and restoration of status were approved before resuming work. This change is only accessible to foreign nationals who:

  • held a valid work permit in the last 12 months; and
  • are applying for an employer-specific work permit supported by either an LMIA or an Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from an LMIA.

In order to request interim work authorization, the applicant must submit a Web Form to IRCC, asking that the public policy exemption be applied, based on the work permit and restoration of status applications made.

If the request is approved, IRCC will email the TFW to confirm that their request has met the eligibility criteria under the public policy. If the request is denied, an email from IRCC will be sent to the foreign national and they will be advised they do not meet the requirements of the public policy and cannot work until their new work permit and restoration of status is approved.

This change will be a great benefit to employers, who will no longer have to wait months for an employee to return to work should they fall out of status.

We will continue to update our clients with information as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources

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