Coronavirus: These Essential Temporary Workers No Longer Need To Submit Biometrics


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Canada has exempted certain temporary foreign workers crucial to the battle against coronavirus from having to give biometrics before arrival.

The exemption applies to occupations in the following fields:

  • Agricultural and agri-food
  • Health-care
  • Truck drivers

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a Temporary Public Policy to implement the change on June 5, 2020.

“Temporary foreign workers are playing a key role in helping to safeguard the continuity of Canada’s food supply and health security as well as trade and commerce,” IRCC said.

“Due to the ongoing service disruptions related to COVID-19, IRCC has put in place a public policy to temporarily exempt foreign workers in certain sectors … from having to give their biometrics before coming to Canada if the biometrics collection site closest to them is closed.”

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The number of candidates affected by the change will be limited, as the majority of temporary workers in essential occupations have already given biometrics because they have previously worked in Canada.

Candidates may be asked to provide biometrics when they arrive at their Port of Entry, IRCC says.

Before travelling to Canada, all candidates must have a 14-day quarantine plan, including a place to stay away from vulnerable individuals.

“This is mandatory, and there will be serious consequences for anyone who doesn’t follow their quarantine plan,” IRCC says. 

Employers are required to provide accommodation that allows workers to quarantine.

On arrival, temporary workers will be assessed to ensure their purpose is essential, including requiring a letter of introduction for a work permit and a valid job offer.

Meanwhile, a new extension has been implemented for those not covered by the new Temporary Public Policy who still cannot give biometrics.

These candidates will not have to give biometrics until the collection sites reopen, IRCC says. The extension applies even if a candidate’s biometrics instruction letter gives a 30 or 90-day deadline.

“No application in progress will be closed or refused because of documents that are missing due to COVID-19,” IRCC says.

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