Today IRCC announced that the COVID-19 public policy allowing visitors in Canada with a valid visitor visa to apply for a work permit without having to leave Canada has been extended for two years, until February 2025. This is welcome news given the severe labour shortages the country is experiencing.

Below is IRCC’s news release:

“Foreign nationals who are in Canada as visitors and who receive a valid job offer will continue to be able to apply for and receive a work permit without having to leave the country. Visitors applying under this public policy who held a work permit within the last 12 months will also continue to be able to request interim work authorization to begin working for their new employer more quickly. Set to expire on February 28, 2023, this COVID-era temporary public policy has been extended by 2 years, until February 28, 2025. Leaving this temporary policy in place makes visitors an option for employers in Canada, as many are facing significant labour shortages during this period of economic expansion.

Prior to this temporary policy change, those applying to work in Canada would typically need to apply for their initial work permit before they came to Canada. If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would need to leave Canada to be issued their work permit. With this policy in place, leaving Canada isn’t necessary.

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

  • 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
  • submit an application for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria

Applicants who currently have visitor status but who have 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.”

If you require advice on how to convert your visitor visa into a work permit, please book a consultation with one of our lawyers.


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