How to get maintained status in Canada

Edana Robitaille
Published: August 28, 2022

Under Canadian immigration law, all temporary residents have an automatically imposed condition that they are required to leave Canada after their work permit expires.

There is, however, section 181 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) which states that temporary residents can apply to extend their authorized period of stay as long as they do so before it ends. Those who take advantage of section 181 can stay in Canada until Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) decides on their application. You will maintain your legal status as a temporary resident while you wait.

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Follow the guidelines set by IRCC

First, and most important, is to be aware of when temporary status is set to expire. If you let your temporary status expire, you will not be eligible for maintained status and will not be able to work until you can restore your status.

To stay on top of status you need to submit your extension application before your existing status expires. IRCC strongly recommends submitting the application with more than enough time to spare to avoid complications.

Do your research

It is also particularly important to know how an extension can impact the conditions of staying in Canada. If you apply to renew an existing permit before your current permit expires, you can continue to work or study in Canada under their existing conditions while waiting for IRCC’s decision on your extension.

If you wish to apply for a different type of permit, for example from a work permit to a study permit, you will need to stop working on the day your current work permit expires.

Understand the conditions

If you are waiting for IRCC’s decision and you leave Canada, there may be an impact on your temporary residence status. Maintained status only applies for as long as someone remains in Canada

If you are on maintained status and leave the country, you may be allowed to re-enter Canada as a temporary resident if you have a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or are exempt from the requirement to have a TRV.

However, this does not mean you can resume working or studying in Canada until a decision is made on your application. In addition, when you try to re-enter Canada, you may need to provide the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer with evidence that you have enough financial support to sustain yourself while awaiting a decision on your extension application. In summary, it is best not to leave Canada at all while you wait for IRCC’s decision on your extension application.

IRCC’s decision

If your application to extend your work permit is approved by IRCC, you will be given a new date for your authorized stay in Canada and continue living and working under the conditions of your new or extended permit.

If your application is refused, you are considered in status until the day IRCC made the decision on your application. If you are refused the extension, you have lost your status in Canada and you are no longer able to work or study.

You have 90 days from this point to apply to IRCC to restore your status. While you wait for the decision, you are not allowed to work or study but you can remain in Canada.

Proving status

Proving maintained status can be as simple as showing that you applied for an extension to your permit. It is enough to show that IRCC received payment for your extension application. You may need this proof for your employer or school. It can also help you regain entry into Canada in the event that you must leave the country.

Take away

The most crucial step in getting maintained status is to be aware of when your temporary work permit is set to expire and apply for your extension or new permit early. IRCC’s processing time tool says it can take up to six months to process a temporary work permit extension from inside Canada.

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