The ravaging COVID-19 pandemic has brought most of the economic activities globally to a standstill. In Canada, the earliest shutdown of essential services to control the virus’s spread led to the loss of two million jobs. As a result, Canada has extended a 2020 measure to enable temporary residents who have job offers to apply for work permits without vacating the country.

This 2020 extended measure was originally introduced between August 24, 2020, and March 31, 2021, by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). According to an IRCC media release, the temporary policy will benefit foreign Canadian nationals in the country on visitor status until August 31, 2021.

Regardless of the date of arrival in Canada, a visitor with a valid job offer now has the opportunity to apply for an employer-specific work permit under the modified eligibility criteria. Previously, a visitor had to first apply for a work permit before coming to Canada. If the work permit was approved when they were already in the country on visitor status, they would first have to leave the country then return to activate it.

From Thursday, April 1, an applicant hoping to benefit from this extended measure policy is required to:

  • Have evidence of a valid visitor status in Canada when applying
  • Have a valid job offer
  • Not later than August 31, 2021, a foreign Canadian visitor should avail an in-Canada application for an employer-specific work permit supported by an LMIA exempt offer of employment or a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • The submitted application should meet all standard criteria for admissibility, such as criminal and medical checks, among others.

The temporary policy also has a provision for applicants who have a valid work permit in the past year. The policy allows these applicants to start working even though their work permit application may not yet be fully approved. For these applicants to start working before receiving complete approval, they need to carefully follow the stipulated steps on acquiring authorization to work as they wait. Contacting the IRCC visa the webform is the first step after completing their application. The government website offers more helpful instructions on the subject.

Canadian borders have been closed to visitors since March 2020 unless they were exempt for reasons such as reuniting with their family. The new extension measure will benefit these visitors who came to the country amid the virus’ travel restrictions. Since the policy was launched last summer, over 1000 people on visitor status have successfully applied for a work permit.

Over this extension, it is crucial to exercise patience and compassion for yourself and others. As Canada works towards economic recovery, the nation relies on your flexibility, resilience and agility to lean on its internal policies and resources to find a place in the job market.