Ottawa Aims to Help Canada Employers Hire Visitors with Temporary Policy Change


Last Updated on August 24, 2020

Ottawa has introduced a temporary public policy to allow visitors to apply for a work permit without needing to leave Canada.

The move announced on Monday, August 24, is designed to benefit employers having difficulty finding workers and allow temporary residents to contribute to the COVID-19 economic recovery.

Previously, visitors already in Canada when approved for a work permit would need to leave Canada and return before their paperwork was issued.

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The new temporary public policy takes effect immediately.

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

“At the same time, some visitors in Canada may be able to contribute their skills where there are labour shortages.

“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.”

The change could help candidates in a number of different situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Visitors who have been unable to leave.
  • Foreign workers who 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.
  • Employers facing ongoing labour and skills shortages during the pandemic.

To qualify, applicants 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.
  • Meet all other standard admissibility criteria.

Candidates who meet the criteria and held a valid work permit in the last 12 months can be working for their new employer while their application is being processed.

The policy is open to any visitor who meets the criteria, including super visa holders, business visitors and those who entered via a Global Skills Strategy work permit exemption.

Candidates arriving in Canada as visitors after August 24 are not eligible.

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