'We have heard from employers who continue to face challenges recruiting and hiring the workers they need'
The federal government is hoping employers facing labour shortages will benefit from a change to the rules around work permits.
The Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has announced that visitors who are currently in Canada with a valid job offer can now apply for and receive an employer-specific work permit without having to leave the country.
“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. The measures introduced today will now allow visitors to apply for work permits without having to leave the country first,” says Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.
“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.”
Previously, a person applying as a temporary resident would usually 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 and return before their work permit was issued to them.
To be eligible, an applicant must:
- have valid status in Canada as a visitor on Aug. 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
Foreign nationals who arrive in Canada as visitors after Aug. 24, 2020, are not eligible.
The federal government has also announced two temporary policies: one that gives asylum claimants working in the healthcare sector a chance at permanent residency while the other allows temporary foreign workers to work in a new job while their work permit application is being fully processed.
In July, the IRCC issued a temporary public exempting former workers, students and visitors who are foreign nationals and in Canada from the requirement to apply for restoration within 90 days of losing temporary resident status. Temporary residents whose work permits, study permits or authorization to stay expired after Jan. 30, 2020 will have until Dec. 31, 2020 to apply to restore their status instead of the current 90 days