April 19, 2021 by Carly Perryman, Marvin Geekie
This is the time of year when employers begin to bring temporary foreign workers into the Okanagan for various jobs. This year however due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic most employers are confused with several misleading facts regarding the border closures.
Welcoming foreign workers is very critical in supporting the infrastructure for our Canadian economy and future economic growth. Marvin Geekie & Carly Perryman from the FH&P Lawyers Immigration team discuss how to navigate through the immigration system.
Marvin Geekie: I’m Marvin Geekie and I’m an Associate here at FH&P Lawyers and we are talking immigration law today with Carly Perryman a member of our immigration team. Carly, spring is very important time for the Canadian economy as we welcome a lot of foreign workers who are really critical in supporting the infrastructure for our Canadian economy and future economic growth but it’s a confusing time I think for a lot of employers and workers about how to navigate through the immigration system isn't it?
Carly Perryman: It has been very challenging. There is not a lot of good information out there as far as what's the border requirements are. I've heard a lot of chatter about the fact that you have to pay $2,000 and go to a government-mandated hotel, but there are other things that I think it's important for people to know if they are going to be coming across the border right now.
Marvin Geekie: Yes certainly and why don’t we go over some of the key points to help people get through that process?
Carly Perryman: Sounds good Marvin, why don’t you start?
Marvin Geekie: Sure. We know there are significant delays in the processing of work permits for temporary workers and so in some sectors that are critical to the Canadian economy or infrastructure like health, energy and food, these temporary workers may be able to cross the border and start working with as little as an electronic travel authorization for a temporary resident Visa.
Carly Perryman: Also certain workers, especially those in agriculture they are exempt from completing the three-day mandated hotel quarantine and paying the $2,000. They are able to travel directly to their destination as long as they and their employer have a quarantine plan. This has been a huge help to Canadian employers both in expense and also making sure that they are in control of their workers and that they will be ready to start work with a negative COVID test once their quarantine period is completed.
Marvin Geekie: What would you say to those folks who are worried about the spread of the disease through international travel and crossing borders?
Carly Perryman: So far Canada has done a very good job of limiting the spread of COVID-19 through the borders. Now each person has to have a negative COVID-19 test and in some cases they are providing that 48 hours before they cross. In other cases they are taking that test on the day that they crossed the border and then there's also a follow-up test involved. So with those measures in place and those are going to stay in place for a while, it looks like we are limiting the spread.
Marvin Geekie: Let’s talk about family reunification because we all see in the media these tragic stories about families not allowed to get together or being ripped apart.
Carly Perryman: We have definitely seen that worry in our community. The immigration system has allowed for a system to reunite families so in some cases you have to apply ahead for authorization to travel if you are a closely related family member. We know that one of the goals of immigration in Canada is to reunite families so they've definitely made that a priority.
Marvin Geekie: Many people are facing a lot of challenges with today's border closures but everybody's immigration needs are different so call us today and we'll set up a video consultation to help you navigate through your immigration issues.