Visitors have more time to apply for work permits within Canada

Shelby Thevenot
Published: March 29, 2021

Canada is extending a 2020 coronavirus-related measure to allow temporary residents with job offers to apply for their work permits without leaving the country.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) originally introduced the measure between August 24, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Foreign nationals in Canada on visitor status will now be able to benefit from the temporary policy until August 31, 2021, according to an IRCC media release.

The eligibility criteria have been modified to allow any visitor who has a valid job offer to apply for an employer-specific work permit, regardless of the date they arrived in Canada.

Before, visitors would usually need to apply for their initial work permits before coming to Canada. If they were already in the country on visitor status when they were approved for the work permit, they would need to leave Canada and return in order to activate it.

Get help with your Canadian work permit application

Effective Thursday, April 1, an applicant looking to benefit from this measure must:

  • have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply;
  • have remained in Canada with valid status;
  • have a valid job offer;
  • submit an in-Canada application for an employer-specific work permit that is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment, no later than August 31, 2021; and
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria, such as medical and criminal checks, among others.

The temporary policy also allows applicants, who had a valid work permit in the past 12 months, to begin working for their new employer before their work permit application has been fully approved. In order to start working before getting approval, applicants need to follow the steps on how to get authorization to work while they wait. The first step after applying is to contact IRCC visa the webform. More instructions are available on the government website.

The extension will benefit visitors who were able to come to Canada amid coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Since March 2020, Canada's borders have been closed to visitors, unless they are exempt for a reason like reuniting with family.

More than 1,000 people with visitor status have applied for a work permit through this public policy since it was originally launched last summer.

Get help with your Canadian work permit application

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit to discover your Canadian immigration options.

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