Immigration Update: Covid-19 Impacts (April 7, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. EDT)

During this unusual time, CILF – Caruso Guberman Appleby, is here to continue to support you with respect to all of your immigration needs. We are here to answer your questions and keep you informed. We will provide updates as soon as they are available. Our firm is well positioned to continue to focus on your immigration needs.

There have not been many immigration-related announcements in the last week. The travel restrictions remain in effect (click HERE for our bulletin on these restrictions).
Part of the government’s response to the crisis is to relax requirements for certain government programs and leverage technology wherever possible:
  1. ESDC is now accepting LMIA applications by email. Previously applications had to be mailed, faxed or submitted through an online portal. There are different email addresses depending on the location of employment and type of position. Applications will continue to be accepted by fax and mail.
  2. ESDC is waiving advertising requirements for certain agriculture, food processing and trucking occupations until October 31, 2020. These applications will also be given priority processing and be eligible for a two-year duration (many of these occupations were formerly only eligible for a one-year LMIA). The occupations are:

6331 – Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers-retail and wholesale

7511 – Transport Truck Drivers

8252 – Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers

8431 – General Farm Workers

8432 – Nursery and Greenhouse Workers

8611 – Harvesting labourers

9463 – Fish and seafood plant workers

9617 – Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing

9618 – Labourers in fish and seafood processing

9462 – Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

If you have any plans to hire workers in any of these occupations we recommend getting in touch with us so we can discuss how your company can take full advantage of these rare concessions. One issue that remains to be clarified is how workers with valid LMIAs can apply for a work permit, whether through a visa office or at a port of entry (if visa-exempt). Currently airline personnel are requiring that workers (even essential workers) show a work permit approval letter before they are allowed to board. However, in order to obtain this approval letter an application must be made through a visa office. As part of the process most foreign nationals must provide biometrics. Many biometrics collection points are closed, and it is unclear if biometrics exemptions are being issued due to Covid-19 or if applicants must wait until the collection points reopen.
  1. There is now an online application for Social Insurance Numbers. Previously applicants had to apply by mail or in-person at a Service Canada location. The government website states that only individuals who urgently require a SIN should apply for one at this time, without specifying the definition of urgent. As the SIN is required for employment we believe this includes all foreign workers without a SIN.
The pandemic has forced all organizations to rethink how they can leverage technology to improve operations. The government is no exception. It was formerly not possible to submit LMIA applications by email, and applications for SINs had to be made by mail or in person. We hope these options will remain in place after the pandemic is over as we believe they make the application process for employers and foreign workers much simpler.

We continue to strongly recommend that anyone (including Canadian citizens and permanent residents) seeking to enter or exit Canada speak with an immigration lawyer before doing so. Our lawyers can be reached by phone (416 368 1111) or via email:;;;;;;;

Please contact your lawyer at CILF – Caruso Guberman Appleby for additional details or specific questions.