New policy making it easier for foreign nationals to work in Canada


Published August 25, 2020 at 1:08 am


A new policy is making it easier for visitors to Canada to obtain a work permit without having to leave the country.

The policy, announced by Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, allows those with a valid job offer to apply for an employer-specific work permit and, if approved, receive the permit without having to leave the country.  

The new policy is temporary, and is intended to assist employers who have been struggling to find workers, as well as temporary residents who would like to contribute their labour and skills to Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With international air travel limited during the pandemic, 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.

Additionally, some Canadian employers have also faced ongoing labour and skills shortages over the last several months, including those who provide important goods and services on which Canadians rely.

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,
  • and meet all other standard admissibility criteria.

Foreign nationals who arrive in Canada as visitors after August 24 will not be eligible under this policy.

“We have heard from employers who continue to face challenges recruiting and hiring the workers they need during the pandemic. At the same time, some visitors in Canada may be able to contribute their skills where there are labour shortages,” Mendicino said in a news release.

“The measures introduced today will now allow visitors to apply for work permits without having to leave the country first. This exemption from the normal temporary work permit requirements is aimed at removing barriers to create a more agile workforce that leverages visitors with the skills and experience to accelerate our economic recovery,” he continued.

Cover photo courtesy of Marco Mendicino via Instagram

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