Policy on extending Canadian work permit

Dear Mr Brown,

I am wondering if it is still possible to apply for a work permit or extend a work permit from within Canada. I was granted a work permit last year and my permit is about to expire.

— TJ

Dear TJ:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a COVID-era public policy that has been extended until February 28, 2025, which will allow foreign nationals who are physically in Canada as visitors and who receive a valid job offer to continue to be able to apply for and receive a work permit without having to leave the country.

The policy is meant to address the current labour shortages in Canada, and as such, Canadian employers are able to hire foreign workers more easily. The measure was initially introduced to help employers in Canada fill urgent labour shortages when COVID-related travel restrictions were in place. However, Canada continues to address filling job vacancies and reducing the labour shortage.

Ordinarily, those applying to work in Canada would typically need to:

• Apply for their initial work permit before they come to Canada

• Leave Canada to be issued their work permit if they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit.

To be eligible to apply, an applicant would need to satisfy the following criteria:

• Have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply

• Have a job offer that is supported by a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment. 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

• Apply for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025

• Meet all other standard admissibility criteria.

Visitors applying under this public policy who held a work permit within the last 12 months will continue to be able to request interim work authorisation to begin working for their new employer more quickly.

Applicants who currently have visitor status but who have held a valid work permit in the past 12 months can follow special instruction to get interim work authorisation to start working for their new employer before their work permit application is finalised.

Please visit JAMAICA2CANADA.COM for additional information on Canadian Permanent Residence programs, including Express Entry, The Study & Work program, Visas or Appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM—a Canadian immigration & education firm in Kingston, and AfriCanadaServices.com in Abuja, Nigeria. Send questions/comments to documents.jamaica2canada@gmail.com

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