Foreign TV and film workers eligible for priority processing

Shelby Thevenot
Published: September 29, 2020

Canada is now offering a 14-day processing standard for eligible foreign television and film workers.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officers will now prioritize work permit processing for foreign TV and film workers who need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). Anyone who does not have citizenship from a visa-exempt country needs a TRV to enter Canada. This includes foreign nationals in the U.S. who are citizens of non-visa-exempt countries.

The new policy, announced September 28 on the IRCC website, means that TV and film workers who need TRVs can get their work permits processed in two weeks. Film crews will still be expected to quarantine after being granted entry to Canada, and will still need to quarantine for 14 days.

Foreign nationals travelling by air to Canada from any country other than the U.S. will need their Canadian work permit in order to board the plane. U.S. travellers may be able to apply for their work permit at a Port of Entry as long as they are not sick, have an essential reason to come to Canada, and they can prove that they are able to quarantine for two weeks.

Provinces and territories may have additional travel restrictions. IRCC says work permit applicants must check the provincial or territorial regulations with their employer or regional authority before travelling.

Get a Free Consultation with an Immigration Lawyer for your TV and Film Production

How to get priority processing as foreign nationals working in TV and film

IRCC says foreign nationals coming to Canada to work in TV and film must meet the following criteria to be eligible for priority processing:

  • submit an initial work permit application online to work within the TV and film industry;
  • apply from outside Canada and the U.S., or be in the U.S. but require a TRV; and
  • self-identify as a television and film industry worker after submitting the work permit application by sending a request via the IRCC Web form.

Applicants have special instructions from IRCC to write the following word-for-word in the “Your enquiry” section of their Web form:

“COVID-19 FILM & TV INDUSTRY – Requesting priority processing for Film & TV Industry workers due to COVID-19”

This will help Client Experience Branch to identify requests and distribute them to the appropriate office for priority processing, IRCC says.

The immigration department may require an additional five days to identifying requests that are eligible for priority processing. The two-week processing standard only begins once the work permit applicant has received confirmation that their application is eligible for priority processing.

Get a Free Consultation with an Immigration Lawyer for your TV and Film Production

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