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Feds tweak work permit rules temporarily for visitors already in Canada

Monday, August 24, 2020 @ 3:44 PM | By Terry Davidson

Canada’s government is creating temporary public policy that would allow visitors currently in Canada and with a valid job offer to remain in the country while applying for a work permit.

On Aug. 24, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino said the new policy, which takes hold immediately, will help employers facing difficulties finding needed workers.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino

A news release states that during the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary residents who stayed in Canada “were encouraged to maintain valid legal status.”

“With air travel limited around the world, 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,” it states. “Some employers in Canada have also faced ongoing labour and skills shortages throughout this period, including those who provide important goods and services that Canadians rely on.”

Under the normal policy, someone applying as a temporary resident would need to apply for their initial work permit before coming to Canada. If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would have to leave the country and return before the permit was issued to them.

To be eligible, applicants must have valid status in Canada as a visitor as of Aug. 24 and have a valid job offer. They must submit an application for an employer-specific work permit — one that is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment — by March 31, 2021.

They also must “meet all other standard admissibility criteria,” according to the release.

“We have heard from employers who continue to face challenges recruiting and hiring the workers they need during the pandemic,” said Mendicino. “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. 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.”

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