Canada work permit levels remain steady since March

Shelby Thevenot
Published: July 11, 2020

The number of work permit holders in Canada appears to have been affected by coronavirus closures.

The year started off strong with a total of 32,995 work permits issued in January 2020. After the novel coronavirus was deemed a pandemic in March work permit totals went down to 19,650, about a 28 per cent decrease from March 2019.

Numbers rose in April to 29,900 work permits, still about 22 per cent less than 2019. A total of 25,125 work permits were issued in May, which is a 45 per cent decrease from last year, and about a 30 per cent decrease from the month before. The drop in May work permits is typically in part due to less Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) permits.

Need assistance with the Temporary Work Permit application process? Contact

This data includes new work permits issued to people who were eligible to work in Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP).

The TFWP typically admits less foreign workers to Canada than the IMP, and was created so that Canadian employers could hire foreign talent when no Canadian worker could fill the job vacancy. It is mainly used to admit seasonal agricultural workers to Canada, but also covers other sectors.

The IMP is more focused on meeting Canada’s broad economic and social needs. The majority of work permits are issued under the IMP, which includes the Global Talent Stream (GTS), and the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

The GTS is for tech workers who either work for designated companies or are being hired in highly-skilled occupations. The advantage of the GTS is that it has a two-week processing standard. Companies can hire foreign talent abroad and have them come to work in Canada in the same month.

International students can use the PGWP to gain up to three years of Canadian work experience, which is highly valued in an application for permanent residence through Canada’s Express Entry immigration system.

This fall semester, international students who study online will still be eligible for a PGWP. Normally online study is ineligible for a PGWP, but Canada’s immigration department is making an exception this year due to the unprecedented school closures brought on by the pandemic.

Need assistance with the Temporary Work Permit application process? Contact

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