New Brunswick slaps temporary restrictions on immigration to provide jobs for residents in post-Covid-19 economic recovery

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New Brunswick is putting the brakes on many applications for work permits by foreign nationals who are not already living and working in that province because of the economic downturn triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Covid-19 continues to impact New Brunswick’s economy in an unprecedented way. Businesses have reduced services, laid off staff, and in some cases have closed,” states an update from the provincial government. “Some sectors have been affected more significantly than others. Certain occupations in these sectors have been particularly vulnerable to changes in employment status.”

Spared from any new restrictions by the province are the healthcare and information technology fields. New Brunswick is continuing to accept and process applications under all immigration streams within the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) program for both those sectors from applicants no matter where they currently live.

Also exempt from any new restrictions are international student grads and temporary foreign workers currently living and working in New Brunswick. Their applications will still be processed for all immigration streams within both the PNP and AIP programs.

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It was less than three months ago that New Brunswick closed its borders to all but the most essential inter-provincial travel to curb the spread of the disease.

Premier Blaine Higgs announced the strict measures, which included the use of peace officers to turn away would-be visitors from Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia in the third week of March. 

 “We must do all we can to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in New Brunswick,” said Higgs at that time.

With businesses now re-opening and New Brunswick trying to rebuild its economy and provide jobs for its residents, the provincial government has decided to nix applications from foreign nationals not already in the province for the following sectors:

  • Leisure and hospitality; 
  • Travel and tourism; 
  • Food and accommodation; 
  • Retail trade; 
  • Business Service Centres, including contact centres
  • Wholesale trade; 
  • Finance and insurance; 
  • Real estate, rental and leasing; 
  • Administrative occupations; 
  • Beauty industry, including salons and spas, and;
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation. 

Employers who have participated in an international recruitment mission with the province and

have questions about filling their current labour needs are being advised to contact their assigned immigration program officer to discuss their options.

Those seeking jobs as truck drivers or pursuing positions in the manufacturing sector can no longer apply under the AIP program unless they are going to be working for employers who participated in a New Brunswick-led recruitment mission within the past year and a half.

Foreign nationals who want to come to New Brunswick to work as truck drivers or in the manufacturing sectors and whose prospective employers were not part of one of those provincial recruitment missions within the last 18 months can still apply to work in the province but must now do so under the PNP worker stream. That program is open to workers no matter where they live provided they meet the minimum eligibility requirements.

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