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The policy was announced Monday by Hon. Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC). This temporary public policy will allow visitors in Canada with a valid job offer to apply for a work permit without having to leave the country. The policy change is intended to benefit employers who are still facing difficulties finding workers. It also benefits temporary foreign workers whose work permits expired, and who changed their legal status to visitor in order to stay in the country while they waited for Canadian immigration to restart the processing of visa applications. It will grant visitors currently in Canada who have a valid job offer an employer-specific work permit, meaning the visa is granted on the basis the worker maintains employment with one company. If approved, the individual will be able to receive the permit without having to leave Canada. “During the pandemic, temporary residents who remained in Canada were encouraged to maintain valid legal status,” reads the IRCC press release.

“With air travel limited around the world, some visitors to Canada have been unable to leave, while some foreign workers had to change their status to visitor because their work permit was expiring and they didn’t have a job offer to be able to apply for a new work permit. Some employers in Canada have also faced ongoing labour and skills shortages throughout this period, including those who provide important goods and services that Canadians rely on.” The temporary policy change takes effect immediately, and also provides the opportunity for applicants who meet the criteria and had a valid work permit in the past 12 months to start work for their new employer before their application is fully approved.

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

  • have valid status in Canada as a visitor on August 24, 2020 and remain in Canada
  • have a job offer
  • submit an 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 March 31, 2021
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria