Canada has officially confirmed that a coronavirus-related measure allowing visitors to obtain work permits will be extended until February 28, 2022. Temporary residents in Canada with credible visitor status have been able to apply for an employer-specific work permit from within Canada since August 24, 2020. Ordinarily, foreign workers in Canada on a visitor’s visa cannot modify their status without fleeing the country, so this is a transitory regulatory change.
When it was first implemented, the measure was aimed to aid employers who were having trouble locating workers, as well as to enable visitors who were experiencing visa issues due to the pandemic to enter the labor market. A few visitors were unable to leave the country due to limited air travel, and some immigrant workers were forced to change their status to “visitor” because their work permits had lapsed, and they were unable to apply for new ones due to a lack of employment.
Previously, the policy enabled all visitors to apply for a work permit if they arrived in Canada before August 24 and had valid temporary resident status. Since then, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have broadened the eligibility requirements to include all visitors, regardless of when they arrived in Canada.
Those with visitor status must be in Canada with valid temporary resident status as a visitor, including maintained status, at the time they submit the work permit application, have submitted an employer-specific work permit application, remain in Canada with a valid status, and submit the application no later than February 28, 2022, to be eligible for an employer-specific work permit.
Foreign citizens who meet the above criteria and have held a valid Canadian work permit for the previous 12 months are also eligible to apply for interim work authorization for their new employer while their application is being processed. To apply for provisional work permit authorization, candidates must have legitimate temporary status when submitting their application, intend to work for their employer and in the profession indicated on their work permit application, and fill out an IRCC Webform.
The said development will advantage visitors who have been able to visit Canada amidst the coronavirus’s immigration restrictions. Travel restrictions have been loosening since August, with the border reopening to US citizens and, as of September 7, 2021, all fully inoculated international travelers.
As a consequence, the country is ramping up its measures to enhance its working population by allowing both current and new immigrants to contribute to the country’s economic recovery and labor market strength. According to the most recent labor market analysis, there were 815,800 job openings in June, the highest number since Statistics Canada started compiling data in October 2020. According to a recent RBC report, the labor shortage could worsen in the coming months.