On April 28, 2020, the provincial government of New Brunswick (NB) updated its mandatory order under the state of emergency to restrict temporary foreign workers from entering the province in order to protect the health and safety of those living, working and studying in NB as there is a serious, imminent risk to everyone, due to the increased presence of COVID-19.

The Premier of NB, Blaine Higgs indicated that with so many serious outbreaks of COVID-19 in surrounding jurisdictions, the province’s borders must remain closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He commented that “under normal circumstances, we welcome foreign temporary workers as they play an important role in New Brunswick’s continued economic growth”. “But right now, the risk of allowing more people to enter the province is simply too great.” The province has implemented this ban according to the provincial emergency legislation.

Anyone temporary foreign worker intending to travel to NB should be cautioned against travelling as they will be refused entry. As far as temporary foreign workers lawfully present in NB as of the date of this update, this will not affect them. It also does not affect anyone who has a work permit issued in relation to a nomination of permanent residence through the NB Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) or the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program (AIPP).

NB has an EE aligned PNP Stream for Foreign Nationals who currently are currently living and working in the Province and have the minimum eligibility based on six selection factors, including necessary education, age, work experience, arranged employment, adaptability and language scores, similar to the Federal Skilled Worker eligibility criteria. In addition, you must have a connection to the Province, such as a job offer. In addition, the Province may also invite candidates directly from the EE pool in response to provincial labour needs. Candidates who are selected via EE will receive a Notification or Letter of Interest (LOI) from the Province via their Federal EE account. Candidates who receive a LOI must then submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the NB.

The good news is as of May 3, 2020, Public Health Officials in NB reported the 15 consecutive days of no new COVID-19 cases. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick remains at 118 but all affected individuals have recovered. Those who are living and working in NB currently, still have the option to file for Permanent Residency. This is simply a ban for Foreign Nationals outside of Canada entering NB on a Temporary Work Permit. Even if the number of cases decrease, Premier Blaine Higgs says the Province must “stay on guard and take precautions until a vaccine is found”. The reasoning is that all across Canada and in neighboring jurisdictions, COVID-19 is not under control and it continues to spread and there are daily deaths.

If you are currently working in NB and would like help in evaluating your current situation, or if you are a foreign national with a work permit for a New Brunswick employer and need to help for next steps, please contact us so we can provide you with the best options in these unprecedented times.