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Which Canadian Work Permit Holders Can Enter & What Occupations Are Prioritized

Which Canadian Work Permit Holders Can Enter & What Occupations Are Prioritized

The government has released newly updated instructions on what type of Canadian work permit holders will be allowed to enter Canada under the current COVID-19 travel restrictions. Included in these instructions is a list of occupations that will receive priority processing for a Canadian work permit. 

Canada is still accepting applications for both temporary and permanent visas with some COVID-19 related exceptions. Since March 18, Canada is only allowing temporary residents to enter the country if the purpose of their travel is considered “essential.” Persons entering Canada for work, study, or to provide essential goods and services can be considered essential in most scenarios.

Individuals wishing to travel to Canada on a vacation are not permitted to enter Canada with the exception of immediate family members of Canadians

Canadian work permit holders exempt from travel restrictions

The following list of exempted workers only applies to workers entering Canada with a job contract/offer that is from a company that is still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Foreign nationals who hold a valid Canadian work permit (including open work permits).
  2. Foreign nationals who received a positive decision from Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a work permit that has not yet been issued. In this scenario, the applicant must provide a letter of introduction and the purpose of travel must not be discretionary or optional. 
  3. International Experience Canada (IEC) work permit applicants may also enter Canada provided they have a letter of introduction and a valid offer of employment.

If you are reentering Canada on a work permit, things are a little different. If your primary residence is in Canada you should be permitted to reenter Canada regardless of whether or not your employer is still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Which Canadian work permit holders may not require the mandatory 14-day quarantine period

  1. Providers of emergency services
  2. Students practicing in a health field, including a medical elective or clinical clerk at a medical teaching institution in Canada, for the primary purpose of acquiring training, if they have written approval from the body that regulates that field
  3. Workers in the marine transportation section who are transporting goods and services
  4. Workers whose purpose for travel is to deliver, repair, or maintain medical equipment and devices 
  5. Persons entering Canada for the purpose of delivering medical supplies that are required for patient care 

With the exception of the cases listed above, all visitors must adhere to the mandatory 14-day quarantine isolation upon entering Canada. The purpose of this isolation period is to ensure visitors do not develop symptoms associated with COVID-19. Applicants should ensure that they have documents that support their quarantine plan. 

Prioritized Occupations for Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) for Canadian work permits

In an effort to speed up the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, Canada will make it easier for employers to hire foreign workers and obtain a Canadian work permit for those operating in essential industries. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will prioritize the processing of LMIAs for Canadian work permits for the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes whenever operationally possible. 

NOCJob Title
3011Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
3012Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
3111Specialist physicians
3112General practitioners and family physicians
3124Allied primary health practitioners
3125Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
3211Medical laboratory technologists
3212Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants
3214Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
3215 Medical radiation technologists
3217Cardiology technologists and electrophysiological diagnostic technologists, n.e.c.
3233Licensed practical nurses
3234Paramedical occupations
3413Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
4411Home child care providers (LMIA-required in-Canada applicants)
4412Home support workers, excluding housekeepers (LMIA-required in-Canada applicants)
6331Butchers, meat cutters and fishmongers – retail and wholesale
7511Transport truck drivers
8252Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
8431General farm workers
8432Nursery and greenhouse workers
8611Harvesting labourers
9463Fish and seafood plant workers
9617Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing
9618Labourers in fish and seafood processing
9462Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers

Provided your employer is still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are still welcome to apply for a Canadian work permit, regardless of whether your occupation is on the list. 


Adam Pinsky

Adam Pinsky has a keen interest in all things immigration and has been working in the industry for 11 years.

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