Visitors can now apply for work permits from within Canada

International visitors who are currently in Canada with a job offer can now apply for a work permit without having to leave the country.

The new policy goes into effect immediately, according to an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) media release. It will benefit temporary residents who are already in Canada with a job offer, but it does not apply to anyone arriving in Canada as a visitor after today, August 24.

Visitors who meet the eligibility criteria are able to apply to the new temporary immigration policy, which includes Super Visa holders, business visitors, and people who came to Canada through a Global Skills Strategy work permit exemption.

Contact a lawyer to help you and your employer with the work permit process.

Before today, people applying for their work permits as temporary residents would usually need to apply for their initial work permits before coming to Canada. If they already had visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would need to leave the country and return in order to activate the permit.

The policy also benefits Canadian employers who are hiring foreign workers, some of whom have faced ongoing labour shortages throughout the pandemic.

“We have heard from employers who continue to face challenges recruiting and hiring the workers they need during the pandemic,” Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, said in the release. “This exemption from the normal temporary work permit requirements is aimed at removing barriers to create a more agile workforce that leverages visitors with the skills and experience to accelerate our economic recovery.”

Canada encouraged temporary residents who stayed in Canada to maintain legal status. Given that air travel has been restricted around the world, some visitors have been unable to leave, and some foreign workers had to change their status to “visitor” because their work permit was expiring and they weren’t able to apply for a new work permit because they didn’t have a job offer.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • valid status in Canada as a visitor on August 24, 2020, with the intention to stay in Canada;
  • a job offer;
  • an application for an employer-specific work permit supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt job offer submitted no later than March 31, 2021; and
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria.

Applicants who meet all these criteria, and who had a valid work permit in the past 12 months, will be able to begin working for their new employer before their work permit has been fully approved.

IRCC says work permit applicants can contact them via their web form to apply for work authorization while waiting on their new permits.

Contact a lawyer to help you and your employer with the work permit process.

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