March 28, 2023

IRCC Expands Policy for Work Permits

In a bid to fill the country's job vacancies and reduce labor shortages, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have expanded its policy to allow visitors with valid job offers to obtain work permits. This temporary public policy extension comes as an addition to the COVID-19-era measures that were set to expire recently.


Who is Eligible?

Foreign nationals with visitor status in Canada who receive a job offer from a Canadian employer can apply for, and receive a work permit. The job offer must be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or be LMIA-exempt, and the applicant must have valid status in Canada on the day they apply. To be eligible, the applicant must also meet all other standard admissibility criteria.

A valid job offer is defined as a written offer of a full-time, non-seasonal job for one year or more, accepted as a permanent resident, and must have a positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada (or the job is LMIA-exempt). An LMIA is an application that an employer makes to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to evaluate the impact of hiring foreign workers on the Canadian economy. If ESDC deems the impact is negative, the employer will not be eligible to hire foreign nationals.


Special Instructions for Interim Work Authorization

Anyone in Canada who currently has visitor status but has 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. This policy makes it unnecessary for foreign nationals with visitor status to leave the country to be issued their permit, as was the norm before the initial policy change.


Canada’s High Number of Job Vacancies

Canada's rate of unemployment stands at 5%, which is low by historical standards. However, several key sectors still require more employees to fill in-demand positions. The healthcare and social assistance sectors have 149,800 vacancies, while accommodation and food services have 108,000, and retail trade has 100,200 vacancies. The policy's initial introduction was to help employers fill urgent labor shortages when COVID-related travel restrictions were in place, making it difficult for newcomers to arrive from abroad.

In conclusion, the IRCC's extension of the temporary public policy will allow more foreign nationals to fill in-demand positions in Canada, reduce labor shortages, and support economic growth. The new policy will provide opportunities for foreign nationals with visitor status to obtain work permits and start working for their new employers without leaving the country.


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