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How To Invite Your Loved Ones To Canada As Temporary Foreign Worker

Inviting your family members or loved ones to Canada amidst COVID-19 travel restrictions is still very possible. According to Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), coming to Canada for the purpose of family reunification during the COVID-19 pandemic is considered essential travel.

When we talk about “family members” here, we are referring to spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children. These family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are exempt as long as they are coming for more than fifteen (15) days, but this is not the case with the families of temporary residents.

However, coming to Canada for “family reunification” is allowed. When we talk about family members of temporary foreign residents, this does not include temporary visits.

You have to be coming either for an essential purpose in your own right, as a temporary worker for instance, or for the purpose of “establishing residence” with your loved ones who live in Canada as a temporary resident.

There are two requirements that family members of temporary foreign workers must meet if they want to come to Canada, according to IRCC’s program delivery instructions. Family members have to meet both of the following requirements:

  • They must be specifically exempted from travel restrictions in their own right, if they are not exempt they need an FRL, a written authorization letter, to enter Canada.
  • They must also be coming to Canada for a non-discretionary reason. For those planning to come to Canada under the family reunification exemption, their non-discretionary reason will be evaluated by an officer in the IRCC department when they decide whether or not to grant the FRL. This letter should stand as evidence that your travel is non-discretionary when you present it to an immigration official, who has the final say on who gets to come to Canada. If the border immigration officer finds conflicting information presented to them, they may use their discretion, the IRCC webpage says.

Family members coming from the United States do not need the FRL, but they still have to show that they are coming to Canada to establish themselves with the temporary resident.

How IRCC determines who gets an FRL

When IRCC decides who gets an FRL, the first thing they look out for is if the purpose of Canada is non-discretionary.

For family members of temporary foreign residents, that generally means that they want to reunite with their loved ones in Canada, and their length of stay carries some sort of permanency.

For example, if their spouse is working in Canada for one year and they want to live with them during that period. If they are coming to study or work, there are separate provisions covering that. Temporary workers must meet the criteria of a Foreign Workers Program, and have a non-optional travel purpose.

The work permit status does not matter for individuals coming to Canada for the purpose of family reunification.

Instead, IRCC looks at what their relationship is to the temporary resident in Canada and whether their purpose of coming is to establish residence, or just for a visit. A visit to Canada, to see temporary residents is not considered essential travel.

The IRCC department has information on how to request an FRL, depending on your situation. It will change depending on whether you have a valid eTA, or visitor visa if you do not need one.

Airport Checklist

Canada’s immigration department says you should not book a flight to Canada until you receive your written authorization.

If you are traveling from any country outside the United States., in order to board your flight you need:

  • a valid visitor visa or eTA;
  • a valid international passport;
  • to tell the airline that you are exempted from travel restrictions;
  • to show the immigration officer that you are coming for an essential reason, if they find you are traveling for a discretionary or optional reason you will be refused; and
  • to have your health checked by airline officials to confirm that you do not have symptoms of coronavirus, such as a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.

Airline personnel in your home country will also check your eligibility to travel. If they approve your coming to Canada, and the immigration officials find that you were “improperly documented” then they can charge the airline $3,200 CAD in administrative fees.

You will also have to prove to the officials that you have fourteen days (14) -day quarantine plan, and have the ArriveCAN app. Soon, Canada will also make it compulsory for you to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

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