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Temporary COVID-19 Related Measures Allowing Visitors to Change Status in Canada Extended

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A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern and a skilled litigator, Lev focuses exclusively on immigration and refugee law. His immigration practice is focused on complex corporate and personal immigration and refugee law matters.

On March 29, 2021, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that the temporary measures initially introduced in August 2020 allowing certain foreign nationals to change status within Canada are being extended. 

Ordinarily, most foreign nationals planning to work in Canada have to apply for, and obtain a work permit prior to entering Canada. Those already in Canada on valid visitor status had to leave the country in order to initiate the change in status to a worker.

In our view, this rule is outdated and does not serve Canada’s best interests. The temporary measures described further in this article should be adopted on a permanent basis. 

In light of COVID-19-based border closures and flight cancellations, IRCC announced on August 24, 2020, temporary measures and exceptions allowing temporary residents who are already in Canada to change status without having to leave the country. More details on the temporary public policy can be found here.

The new policy with respect to processing work permits applied only to those who were already in Canada, and had a valid job offer, but did not apply to those who arrived after August 24, 2020. This requirement has now been eliminated.

Effective April 1, 2021 a foreign national must meet the following conditions in order to apply under the new temporary measures:

  • 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

This temporary public policy also allows foreign nationals who meet the above criteria and who had a valid work permit in the past 12 months to begin working for their new employer before their work permit application has been fully approved. To do so, they must follow submit a Case Specific Inquiry and await IRCC response. The complete directions provided by IRCC can be found here

We commend IRCC for extending the temporary policy, and hope to see further programs benefiting Canada’s economic recovery in the future.

If you have any questions regarding working or changing your status from within Canada, contact Toronto Immigration Lawyer today to set up a consultation.

Lev Abramovich

A founding partner of Abramovich & Tchern and a skilled litigator, Lev focuses exclusively on immigration and refugee law. His immigration practice is focused on complex corporate and personal immigration and refugee law matters.