The Canadian government will fast-track work permit applications for foreign workers already in the country as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts global supply chains.
The new policy allows migrant workers who lost their jobs in Canada due to COVID-19 to apply for a permit with a different employer and quickly receive authorization to begin a new job. The move, which is temporary, should reduce wait times from at least 10 weeks to less than 10 days, the government said in a news release Tuesday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has relied on immigration, foreign workers and international students as a driver of long-term growth. But with borders closed amid the public-health emergency, it’s having to reassess its intake targets and open-door policies.
The aim of Tuesday’s move is to alleviate the shortage of workers in essential services, such as agriculture, healthcare and food processing. “Temporary foreign workers are an integral part of the Canadian workforce and Canada’s COVID-19 response,” Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said in the release.
Nearly 190,000 work permits were issued in 2019, according to the government.