Video Content Transcript How do you recruit internationally despite mandatory Covid testing?
This video from Phoenix GMI explains what the pre-covid tests before arriving in Canada or in Quebec have changed for the candidates. Candidates are future temporary foreign workers who have been recruited by a Quebec company as part of an international recruitment process and are waiting to arrive on Canadian soil to validate their work permit.
New travel health measures have been added to the old ones, such as containment. These are the Pre-Covid tests before departure. They will soon be joined by other measures. But in the meantime, this has already complicated the immigration procedures of the candidates, with an impact on the employers, but also on the immigration agencies, which like us, ensure (among other things) the travel procedures.
Before the arrival of health restrictions on travel, we had a fairly simple process. As a reminder, we prepared all the documents the applicant needed in advance. We would email them to him. He would bring them with him on the flight to present them to the customs officer at his point of entry into Canada for validation of his work permit.
Once the candidate had received his work permit from the customs officer, his employer or our team would accompany him to his home and he could quickly reach his workplace and start working for our client employer who had recruited him.
The documents contained in the departure instructions, which we entrust to the candidate for the customs officer, depended on the candidate’s profile, but it could contain for example the EIMT, a CAQ, an employment contract, the CV or any other document necessary to reassure the customs officer at the point of entry on Canadian soil.
However, when in March 2020, the Canadian immigration authorities started to phase in travel restrictions, we adapted our instructions. From now on, the instruction kit that we give to every applicant is divided into two parts. The first part is for departure and boarding. The second part is intended for obtaining the work permit, and contains information on quarantine and its conditions.
The measurement of the pre-covid tests creates additional logistics for our organization and for the worker. For the applicant, it is an added step to an intense situation. They are about to leave everything behind and move thousands of miles away, they have to organize themselves emotionally.
For our organization, it’s also logistics on the ground. For example, we have identified a list of the most reliable and accessible laboratories for each country from which the candidates are leaving.
The candidate must go there, return home and receive the results of the tests, which must be negative, in order to be able to take the plane to Canada. All this within 72 hours of departure. And you have to take into account that they don’t all live in cities and are sometimes 15 to 20 hours away from their country’s international airport.
The time is therefore “timed” and the system had to be completely reorganized accordingly.
At Phoenix GMI, we commend the outstanding work of our teams. They managed to manage, as soon as this new measure was applied, and in record time, all the logistics to ensure the departures that had already been scheduled, and when we could not shift the flight dates. It is definitely certain that the instructions and the follow-ups of preparation require more efforts than the other files that we assemble.
Not to mention that it is an additional financial burden for employers, who have to pay for the medical lab fees, and wait for their temporary foreign worker to be quarantined before coming to their company.
Now, we fully understand the legitimacy of this approach. It was done to limit, if not stop, non-essential travel. And it is there to avoid the health consequences that these trips can cause. On the other hand, it has been imposed in a drastic way, without considering the particular situation of the candidates, who come exclusively for economic reasons.
The state could put in place additional measures for temporary foreign workers after their arrival in Canada.
It has implemented mandatory testing upon arrival in Canada. If the test is negative, workers may be excused from completing their quarantine in containment to go to their workplace immediately.
They arrive on Canadian soil to participate in essential services. Making them wait several days when it is avoidable is not necessarily consistent. While some jobs can be done from the comfort of their own homes, in many sectors, attendance at the workplace is mandatory. Meanwhile, candidates are not helping to revive or sustain our economy.
As long as the pre-departure testing measure is maintained, we believe that Canadian Immigration authorities should work with the Ministry of Transportation. It is really important that with the other ministries, they can establish a complementary measure, which can bring a little more flexibility to these workers who are really not people who “abuse” travel.
Finally, let’s add that since February 22, 2021, travel restrictions have tightened. From now on, anyone arriving in Canada by air must undergo additional tests before and after arrival. They will also have to spend three days at their own expense in a hotel designated by the Canadian government, before completing their 14 days of quarantine at home.
Fortunately, there are exceptions to this new requirement and at Phoenix GMI we guide our clients according to the particularities of their context.
So we are happy to be able to adapt to all these situations with agility to continue to ensure efficient logistics.
But what we have learned from this experience is that, as always, the most important thing in immigration is to :
- to be organized, while remaining alert and vigilant
- to have a multidisciplinary team and to be well established in the different employment areas,
- and to be very forward thinking!
So thank you to the employers and candidates who trust us!