Sarah Bruce
Public Relations / Member Engagement
Phone: 604-432-7987

Hiring and Retaining Foreign Workers

What to Do if You Plan to Hire or Retain a Foreign Worker During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has created some challenges for Canadian employers who want to hire or retain a foreign worker. The good news is that while there are travel restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals to Canada, the temporary foreign workers can be exempted from these restrictions under certain conditions. For example, foreign nationals who hold a valid Canadian work permit for a specific employer, or foreign nationals who hold a valid open work permit, and whose travel is for a non-discretionary purpose, can travel to Canada despite the current travel restrictions. Also, foreign nationals whose work permit has not yet been issued, but have received a positive decision from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (documented by a letter of introduction as a result of their approved work permit application) are also permitted to travel to Canada.

It is important to keep in mind that temporary foreign workers (and all travellers) who arrive in Canada are required to enter mandatory quarantine for 14 days, unless they qualify for one of the very few exemptions to the quarantine requirement.

In August 2020, a new public policy was issued that introduced some major changes to the immigration law with respect to foreign nationals that are already in Canada (must have been physically in Canada on August 24, 2020, and remained in Canada since) and tocontinue working for a Canadian employer. All foreign nationals that are in Canada on visitor status, including those who have submitted a status extension application and are currently on implied status, can now apply for an employer-specific work permit from within Canada, whereas before the public policy came into effect, the foreign national had to apply for a work permit outside of Canada. This simply allows a foreign national in Canada who is a visitor to get a work permit without leaving Canada or “flagpoling” at the Canada-US border, now closed (this was previously not possible).

Another important change that this policy has brought is that former temporary workers who converted to visitor status and held a valid work permit in the last 12 months may now request interim authorization to work and start working right away while their new work permit application is being processed.

To address your questions, the ARA reached out to our member David Kika, RCIC, an immigration professional who specializes in advising Canadian businesses on employing foreign workers. As a result, ARA members can contact David for a one-time free consultation (30 minutes). David can talk with you one-on-one to do his best to answer all your immigration questions. He can talk to you about all the steps that are involved in hiring a foreign national at these unprecedented times.

Reach out to him as follows:

David Kika, RCIC
tel.: 604-418-1735

He is here to help and so is the ARA. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions, please email We are your association and we are here for you.