Foreign nationals who lost their jobs due to coronavirus have the added burden of wondering whether they will also lose their status in Canada, and how the loss of employment will affect their Canadian immigration applications.
There are options for staying in Canada even after losing your job. If you are in Canada on a work permit, there may be the option to extend your permit, apply for a new one, or change your status to student or visitor— provided you act before your current status expires. Even if your permit has already expired, there may be options to apply to have your status restored.
While it is true that Canadian work experience is highly valued for economic-class immigration, temporary residents who now find themselves unemployed may be able to benefit from implied status.
Most temporary residents in Canada, including study and work permit holders, who have applied to renew their status are allowed to stay in Canada under the conditions of their original permit until a decision is made on their application.
Implied status lasts until a decision is made on the new application. If the application is approved, then the applicant can continue working or studying as per the conditions of their new permit. If not, foreigners have the option of leaving Canada or applying for restoration of status if it has been less than 90 days since their original permit expired. It is worth noting that foreign nationals cannot continue to work or study while waiting on a decision for restoration status, which is different from implied status.
What if my work permit was dependent on my job?
Foreign nationals with employer-specific work permits, also called “closed work permits,” who lose their job can stay in Canada legally until their work permit status expires. However, they are not permitted to work for anyone else in Canada.
If this applies to you, and you want to start a new job, you will need to qualify for a new closed work permit or transition to an open work permit.
You may also apply to remain in Canada as a visitor or student as long as you meet the relevant application requirements, and as long as you apply before your current work permit expires. However, in most cases, you will have to stop working when your work permit expires.
What if I have an open work permit and I lost my job?
The advantage open work permit holders have is the ability to work anywhere in Canada, for almost any employer. However, some of these permit holders may still want to extend their stay in Canada in order to apply for permanent residence.
Not all open work permit holders are eligible for renewal. It is important to verify whether you are eligible for an extension under the spousal or common-law Open Work Permit Pilot, the Bridging Open Work Permit, or the Working Holiday Visa class if they meet the necessary requirements.
Some people will fall through the cracks and be unable to renew their open work permits unless the government implements special measures in light of these extraordinary circumstances.
Despite the fact that many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus, Canada still needs immigrants to help address long-term economic challenges, such as an aging workforce, and shortages in the labour market. The government recognizes this and as such continues to accept and process applications for Canadian immigration.
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