Canada expedites process for temporary workers to start new jobs

Shelby Thevenot
Published: May 12, 2020

A new government policy is allowing temporary foreign workers, who already have a job offer in Canada, to start working while their application is being processed.

The government says this will drastically reduce the time it takes for a temporary worker to start a new job from 10 weeks to 10 business days.

The temporary change is part of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) response to Canada’s labour market needs during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a media release. Many temporary foreign workers with employer-specific work permits lost their jobs this spring and are unable to leave Canada due to reduced flights or travel restrictions. At the same time, many employers in sectors such as agriculture, agri-food, and healthcare are facing labour shortages.

Find out how to stay in Canada

Under the existing rules, temporary foreign workers with employer-specific work permits need to apply for a new permit with the name of the new employer in order to work legally in Canada. They need to wait for the work permit to be issued before they can start working at their new job.

Now temporary workers who have a job offer lined up can submit a request to IRCC to have authorization to work. The request will be reviewed in 10 days, and if approved the worker will be notified by email. They can then start working at their new job.

There are three main eligibility criteria:

  • workers must be in Canada with valid status;
  • they must have an employer-specific work permit or have been working under a work permit exemption; and
  • they must have submitted an application for a new work permit with a valid job offer under either the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, or the International Mobility Program.

There is no change to the role of the employer in the process for hiring foreign workers. Employers need to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). They must name the worker in a position on the LMIA and notify Service Canada.

For employer-specific LMIA-exempt situations, employers need to submit an offer of employment through the International Mobility Program Employer Portal.

Steps to change employers

Temporary foreign workers must first apply for a new work permit from inside Canada. Most people must apply online, however if they can’t due to a disability or because there is a problem with the online application, it is possible to apply on paper.

After applying IRCC asks applicants to fill out the web form, which facilitates communication between applicants and the Canadian immigration department. More detailed information can be found on the government’s webpage. The process will be different depending on whether the worker is work permit-exempt or not.

Once this is done, IRCC will send an email confirming the applicant can start working for their new employer while they process the complete application.

The email will be sent in about 10 business days. It may take longer if the application was done on paper.

Find out how to stay in Canada

Need assistance with the Temporary Work Permit application process? Contact

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
From work to study: How Americans can begin their Canadian journey
An American and Canadian flag blowing in the wind against one another.
New data suggests growing demand for temporary foreign workers in several Canadian industries
This illustrates the continuation of an upward trend – save for 2020, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic – that has persisted since at least 2016.
IRCC’s update on its plan to attract global talent
Sunlight on an airplane wing
IRCC invites 1,800 candidates in third Express Entry draw this week
More Express Entry candidates have received ITA's from IRCC in the department's latest round of invitations.
Top Stories
From work to study: How Americans can begin their Canadian journey
8 Tips for the Listening Component of your CELPIP Test
IRCC proposes amendments that require students to re-apply for a study permit if they change schools in Canada
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Study
IRCC proposes amendments that require students to re-apply for a study permit if they change schools in Canada
A group of students listening intently in a classroom.
Montreal ranks among top ten best cities for international students
Montreal skyline
Permanent Residence in Canada is not guaranteed for international students
A group of students sitting outside with the college building in the background.
Five free settlement resources for international students in Canada 
Two students walking off the bus while using their phones and smiling.
Link copied to clipboard