Due to COVID-19, many temporary foreign workers in Canada have lost their employment. Unfortunately, switching employers can take several months, making it difficult for employers in need to take advantage of this pool of existing labour. On May 12th, the Government of Canada announced a new, temporary policy that will substantially reduce the time it takes for temporary foreign workers with an employer-specific work permit to start a new job with a different employer. Effective immediately, temporary foreign workers with employer-specific work permits can get preliminary approval to start working in a new job with a different employer even though their work permit application is still being processed. Previous rules required temporary foreign workers to obtain a new work permit naming the new employer prior to starting work at a new job, a process which often takes several months. The new preliminary approval process will take 10 days or less.

To be eligible, foreign workers must:

  • be in Canada with valid status;
  • have an employer-specific work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or International Mobility Program; and
  • have submitted an application for a new work permit with a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or a valid Online LMIA Exempt Offer of Employment under International Mobility Program.

A work permit applicant who satisfies the above conditions can submit a request to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) for authorization to start working at their new job before the work permit is processed. Their request will be reviewed within 10 days and if approved, authorization will be sent to the worker by email. IRCC has not yet released details on the application process. The LMIA requirements for employers remain the same.

The new policy will definitely help both employers and employees during these difficult times.

Please contact our lawyers at Borders Law firm, if you have any questions.

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