Canada keeps “no need to exit” rule for visitors who get job offers

Ottawa, Ontario

IRCC extends special policy for another two years

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

Foreign nationals who are in Canada as visitors and who receive a valid job offer will continue to be able to apply for and receive a work permit without having to leave the country.

Visitors applying under this public policy who held a work permit within the last 12 months will also continue to be able to request interim work authorization to begin working for their new employer more quickly, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a press release Tuesday.

Set to expire last February 28, 2023, the COVID-era temporary public policy has been extended for another two years or until February 28, 2025.

Leaving this temporary policy in place makes visitors an option for employers in Canada, as many are facing significant labour shortages during this period of economic expansion.

Earlier, the IRCC reportedly was considering waiving some requirements for about half a million visitor visa applicants to address the labour shortage as well.

Prior to this temporary policy change, those applying to work in Canada would typically need to apply for their initial work permit before entering or traveling to Canada.

If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they received a work permit, they would need to leave Canada first to be issued their work permit. With this policy in place, leaving Canada isn’t necessary.

To be eligible to apply, an applicant looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must:

  • have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply
  • have a job offer that is supported by a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment
  • submit an application for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria

Applicants who currently have visitor status but who have 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, the IRCC also added in its press release

Canada is also processing more visitor visa applications. ⁠In November 2022 alone, over 260,000 visitor visas were processed, compared to the monthly average of 180,000 applications in 2019, a Yahoo News report cited.

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