IRCC extends policy that allows visitors to obtain work permits if they have valid job offers

Edana Robitaille
Published: February 28, 2023

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that any foreign national who receives a job offer while in Canada will be able to apply for, and receive, a work permit.

This is an extension of the COVID-19-era temporary public policy that was set to expire today.

To be eligible to apply, an applicant looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must:

Learn more about Canadian immigration

A valid job offer is defined as a written offer of a full-time, non-seasonal job for one year or more if you are accepted as a permanent resident and must have a positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment  from Employment and Social Development Canada (or the job is LMIA-exempt).

A LMIA is an application that an employer makes to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to evaluate if hiring foreign workers will have a positive, neutral or negative impact on the Canadian economy. If ESDC deems the impact is negative, the employer will not be eligible to hire foreign nationals.

Anyone in Canada who currently has visitor status but has held a valid work permit in the past 12 months can follow special instructions to get interim work authorization to start working for their new employer before their work permit application is finalized.

Before the initial policy change, anyone applying to work in Canada would generally need to apply for their work permit before arriving. To get a work permit after arriving in Canada, a foreign national with visitor status would need to leave the country to be issued their permit. This policy makes this step unnecessary.

Canada’s high number of job vacancies

The measure was initially introduced to help employers in Canada fill urgent labour shortages when COVID related travel restrictions were in place, making it difficult for newcomers to arrive from abroad.

Canada is working towards filling job vacancies and reducing the labour shortage. As of January, Canada’s rate of unemployment stands at 5%, which is low by historic standards.

Additionally, Statistics Canada data from December 2022, shows there was an overall decrease in the number of vacancies to 848,000 from over one million earlier in the year. Still, several key sectors need more employees to fill in-demand positions. For example, there were 149,800 vacancies in the healthcare and social assistance sectors, as well as 108,000 in accommodation and food services and 100.200 in retail trade.

Learn more about Canadian immigration

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