Canadian work permit

Canada Extends Temporary Policy Allowing Visitors to Apply for Work Permits

Published on: March 1st, 2023

IRCC has announced an extension to a policy that allows foreign nationals who receive a job offer while in Canada, the ability to apply for a work permit.

The IRCC announced yesterday an extension to a COVID-era temporary public policy extension. This policy allows for foreign nationals visiting the country to apply for a work permit while still in Canada if they have received a valid job offer. A valid job offer is defined as a written offer for one year or more of full-time work. The job offer must also be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or must be an LMIA-exempt offer of employment. This policy was set to expire on February 28, 2023, but has been extended for two more years until February 28, 2025.

To be eligible to apply under this temporary policy, an applicant must:

  • have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply;
  • have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment;
  • submit an application for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025;
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria.

Applicants who have held a valid work permit in the past 12 months and currently have visitor status can also request interim work authorization to start working for their new employer before their work permit application is finalised. This policy change eliminates the need for visitors to leave Canada when applying for a work permit, making it easier for employers to find workers in Canada.

Interim Authorization to Work

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), also known as a visitor visa is an immigration document that allows foreign nationals to travel to and enter Canada. Many foreign nationals will need a visitor visa to enter Canada. This is regardless of whether they are coming as a student, temporary worker, or simply to visit.

TRV holders prior to the pandemic, could not apply for a work permit from within Canada. Instead, applicants needed to submit a work permit application while in Canada to their country of origin’s visa office. Then, if your work permit had been accepted, applicants needed to leave Canada. Only after re-entering would their work permit take effect. 

However, this was adjusted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as travelling became difficult for many. In August 2020 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) started allowing TRV holders to submit work permit applications to IRCC from within Canada.

Although you can apply for a work permit from within Canada, you cannot work until IRCC approves the work permit. According to the IRCC’s current processing times, this can take about 169 days.

The IRCC introduced a policy called the Interim Authorization to Work to address this issue. This allows eligible applicants to begin working while the IRCC processes their work permit application. The goal is to allow those with an employer-specific job offer to start working immediately. It is also intended to address growing labour shortages by addressing IRCC processing times for work permits submitted inside the country. 

A person’s work permit application can be rejected while on an Interim Authorization. However, if the work permit application is approved, Interim Authorization allows TRV holders to start working more quickly than if they had to wait for a firm approval.

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