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Applying For A Work Permit Inside Canada

If you are considering applying for a Canadian work permit, the process and your eligibility will depend on where you are located. Typically, work permit applications for Canada are submitted from outside the country, however, it is possible to apply within if certain conditions are met. In this article, we will discuss under which circumstances it is possible to apply for a work permit within Canada and the rules which apply.

Is It Possible To Apply For A Work Permit From Inside Canada?

Visitors are not normally eligible to apply for a work permit from inside Canada. This rule is designed to ensure that visitors only enter Canada for genuine reasons, and don’t plan to later apply for work once given entry. You will be able to apply for a work permit if you are currently in Canada (or you will be when you plan to apply), but only in specific conditions, as follows:

  • you have a valid study or work permit
  • your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a valid study or work permit
  • you are eligible for a post-graduation work permit and your study permit is still valid
  • you or your spouse, common-law partner or parent has a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more
  • you are waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence for the in-
    • Canada spousal class
    • temporary resident permit holder class
  • you made or will make a claim for refugee protection
  • you have been recognised as a Convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • you are allowed to work in Canada without a work permit, but you need a work permit to work in a different job (this does not apply to business visitors)
  • you are a trader, investor, intra-company transferee or professional under the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

COVID-19 Exception For Visitors Applying For A Work Permit In Canada

As stated above, typically visitors cannot apply for a work permit from within Canada, but as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this may currently be possible. Those who have been in Canada since 24th August 2020 and have a valid visitor status can apply for an employer-specific work permit. Employer-specific work permit holders can only work for a specified employer for a fixed length of time. If you wish to consider this option but your visitor visa has expired, you will first need to apply to have your valid visitor visa status restored before applying for an employer-specific work permit.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For A Work Permit In Canada?

Whether you are applying for a work permit within or outside Canada, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements. According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), applicants must:

  • prove they will leave Canada at the end of their employment,
  • show they have enough money during their stay in Canada to take care of themselves and their family members and to return home,
  • be law-abiding and have no record of criminal activity (they may be asked to provide a Police Clearance Certificate),
  • not pose a danger to the security of Canada,
  • be in good health and complete a medical examination, if required,
  • not intend to engage in employment with an employer on the List of Ineligible Employers,
  • provide any additional documents requested by the officer to establish their admissibility.

It must be emphasised that having the right to apply for a work permit from within Canada does not provide any greater chance of being approved. You will need to meet all of the above requirements and provide the required documents as evidence of your suitability.

Your prospective employer will be assessed on the following before your permit can be granted:

  • whether the offer of employment is genuine,
  • past history of employers compliance to the commitments outlined in offers of employment to foreign workers hired in the past six years in respect to wages, working conditions and the occupation,
  • compliance with Federal-Provincial or Territorial Laws, and
  • if the employer has been banned from hiring a foreign national as per the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA)

As part of the application process, it may be necessary to carry out an LMIA before granting a work permit. An LMIA is a formal check to verify whether the employment of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market. If they assess it will have a negative impact, the permit will not be granted. If an LMIA is needed, this must be provided with the work permit application. Whether an LMIA is needed or not depends on the type of role you are applying for. The best way to check is to visit the Canadian government website and click the type of work you will be doing in Canada. Based on the type of work you enter, you will be advised whether an LMIA is needed; for example, if you click ‘academic’, the information provided states, “When you complete your work permit application, select “Exemption from Labour Market Impact Assessment” as the type of work permit in the “Details of intended work in Canada” section”.

Wrapping Up

Whether you are applying for a work permit in Canada or outside, it is important that you meet all of the eligibility requirements and that all of the information and documents requested are provided. The circumstances under which you can apply in Canada are relatively restricted; therefore, before submitting your application, you need to ensure that you fit into one of the limited scenarios outlined above. If you are unsure if you can legally apply from within Canada, speak to your local immigration office or an immigration lawyer. An immigration lawyer will be able to assess your overall options based on your current situation and future plans, and those of your immediate family members.

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"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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