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Visitors Can Now Apply For Work Permits Without Leaving Canada

Visitor Visa Holders Can Now Apply For Work Permits Without Leaving Canada

A new temporary policy will allow temporary residents in Canada to apply for a Canadian work permit without having to leave the country. 


Despite the pandemic, the Canadian economy is showing signs of recovery. The Canadian economy has gained over half the jobs lost during the initial months of 2020. Canadian employers in many sectors are facing labour/skills shortages and are struggling to find employees to help operate their business. 

Canada also has thousands of temporary residents across the country, many of them on visitor visas. These residents cannot leave the country because of the ongoing travel restrictions. This has meant that some visitors in Canada are unable to leave, but also unable to work legally in Canada. There are also work permit holders who have had to adjust their status from worker to visitor as their permits expire. 

This new policy will help solve both the Canadian labour shortage and the problem of temporary residents in Canada who cannot leave or work. 

As of August 24, visitor visa holders in Canada can adjust their status to a Canadian work permit without having to leave the country, provided they meet all the requirements of the new program. 

The new Canadian work permit policy

To be eligible to adjust your status from visitor to a Canadian work permit, an applicant must meet the following criteria: 

  1. Hold valid status in Canada as a visitor on or before August 24, 2020, and remain in Canada
  2. Have a job offer from a Canadian employer
  3. Be successfully approved for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or receive an LMIA-exempt offer of employment, no later than March 31, 2021
  4. The applicant must meet all other standard admissibility criteria

Prior to this temporary policy change, a person applying as a temporary resident would typically need to apply for their initial work permit before they came to Canada. If the applicant was already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for their work permit, they would need to leave the country and then return before the work permit was issued to them.  


“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 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.”

—The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Adam Pinsky

Adam Pinsky has a keen interest in all things immigration and has been working in the industry for 11 years.

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