Canada’s COVID-19-related policy that allows visitors to get work permits without having to leave the country has been extended.
An announcement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on Tuesday said the temporary public policy would be extended until August 31, 2021.
At the same time, IRCC also tweaked the criteria of the policy to allow visitors with a job offer to apply for an employer-specific work permit, regardless of when they initially entered Canada.
Previously, candidates arriving in Canada as visitors after August 24 2020 (when the policy was first implemented) were not eligible.
As of April 1, 2021, candidates looking to benefit from the policy must:
- Have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply.
- Have remained in Canada with valid status.
- Have a valid job offer.
- Submit an in-Canada 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 August 31, 2021.
- Meet all other standard admissibility criteria.
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Candidates who meet the criteria and held a valid work permit within the last year can begin working for their new employer while their work permit application is processed.
The policy is designed to help people 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.
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.
IRCC says more than 1,000 people with visitor status have applied for a work permit through this public policy since it was launched in August 2020.
Since March 2020, visitors have been prohibited from coming to Canada unless they are exempt for a specific reason, like reuniting with a family member.