Since August 24, 2020, temporary residents who are in Canada with valid visitor status have been able to apply for an employer-specific work permit from within Canada. This is a temporary regulatory change as normally foreign workers who are in Canada on a visitor’s visa cannot change status without leaving the country. Canada earlier extended this policy until February 28, 2022 but has now extended it again by 2 years, until February 28, 2025. Leaving this temporary policy in place makes visitors an option for employers in Canada, as many are facing significant labour shortages during this period of economic expansion. This measure allows visitors to obtain work permits.
Why This Policy Was Introduced?
Canada introduced this measure to help employers who were having difficulty finding workers. In addition, it allows visitors facing visa status challenges due to the pandemic to be able to work in Canada. Initially, the policy allowed all visitors who arrived in Canada before August 24 and were still in Canada with valid temporary resident status to apply for a work permit. Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has since expanded this to include all visitors, regardless of when they arrived in Canada.
While Canada is in a better position than many countries, it continues to face significant economic and social impacts from the pandemic. So, the country is redoubling its efforts to strengthen its workforce by enabling people already in the country to help drive economic recovery and strengthen the Canadian labour market.
To be eligible for an employer-specific work permit, anyone with visitor status must meet the criteria below:
- be in Canada with valid temporary resident status as a visitor. This includes maintained status, at the time of they submit the work permit application;
- have submitted an employer-specific work permit application;
- remain in Canada with a valid status;
- submit the application no later than February 28, 2025.
The policy also allows foreign nationals who meet the above criteria and who have held a valid Canadian work permit in the previous 12 months to apply for interim work authorization for their new employer while their application is pending.
In order to apply for interim work authorization, applicants must meet the criteria below:
- have valid temporary status when they submit their application and remain in Canada with status;
- intend to work for their employer and in the occupation specified on their work permit application;
- complete an IRCC Web form.
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