On August 24, 2020, Marco E.L. Mendicino, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), announced a temporary change to Canada’s work permit policy. Thanks to this policy change: Workers who are here on a visitor status and have a legitimate job offer, can apply for employment-specific work permits without having to leave the country.
Before this policy change was made, a worker from another country had to apply for a work permit before coming to Canada. If they were on Canadian soil with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they had to leave and apply from outside of Canada or flagpole. They were only allowed to return when their work permit was approved.
This has not only impacted the workers involved, but also many businesses that rely on these workers during Canada’s recovery from COVID-19. In the IRCC press release for the new temporary policy, Mendicino said “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 labor shortages.”
For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, international workers were encouraged to obtain valid legal status to remain employed in Canada. Since the COVID-19 virus has grounded many flights and made international travel difficult, some workers have had to change their status to a visitor status because their work permits were expiring and they didn’t have a current job offer to apply for.
Now that this temporary policy has been instituted, international workers and their employers can continue to work together without interruption and provide the goods and services that Canadians require during its recovery from COVID-19. “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,” said Mendicino.
Many of these workers are performing jobs that assist Canadians in obtaining the goods and services that they require. This impressive policy change benefits international workers, the employers who require more staff, and all Canadians. Aleksandar (Alex) Stojicevic, managing partner of MKS had this to say about the new temporary policy, “This change will particularly impact employers who are far from the border for whom flag-polling was never very realistic as well as those for whom return to their own countries is impossible at the moment. This will give a great opportunity for some visitors to prove themselves and show the skills they have and hopefully starting the journey to build a new life here in Canada.”
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If you would like to apply for a temporary, employer-specific Canadian work permit, please click here. MKS Citizenship and Immigration Lawyers can provide valuable guidance on the process.
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