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Can I Start A New Job In Canada On Implied Status?

As the vast majority of migrants know, it is always vital to stay within the terms of your visa/permit conditions. Even a minor mistake can lead to your immigration status being negatively impacted, potentially meaning you must leave the country, and/or a potential visa application refusal in the future. The golden rule is to always ensure that you never let your permit expire. While Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may leverage some discretion, it is vital that you make a new application (or leave the country is this is your plan) before the expiry date.

It is also important to not simply change what you are doing in Canada without first gaining permission; for example, if you are in Canada on a work permit and wish to change employers. Holders of open work permits are free to switch employers, but those on employer-specific work permits (also referred to as closed work permits) are not. In this article, we will explain whether a migrant worker on a Canadian work permit can switch to a new employer if they have implied status. It is important to read to the end of this article, as, due to COVID-19, greater flexibility is being offered in terms of implied status.

What Is Meant By 'Implied Status'?

Implied status just means that a migrant can keep their legal immigration status if their permit has expired, as long as they have applied for a new permit (or to extend their permit) before their current one expires. For those on a work permit who apply to extend their stay, they will be able to continue to work while a decision is being made on their application. Likewise, those who apply to vary the conditions of their work permit to work for a new employer will also have implied status, and be able to continue working if their permit has expired, as long as the application was submitted before it expired.

As confirmation of this, IRCC says, "You can stay in Canada, and may be able to keep working, under what's called implied status. That means the law implies you are a temporary resident. The implied status lasts until we decide on your new permit application"; "You cannot do any of the activities allowed by the original work permit. For example, you may have come to Canada as a worker and then applied for a study permit. If so, you must stop working once your work permit expires. After that, you cannot work or study until you get a new permit".

Do bear in mind, however, you won't be told you have implied status in Canada (as by the nature of the term, it is implied). For this reason, you should always keep a copy of your new application and the confirmation that it has been received by IRCC.

Another key consideration is travel; typically on a work permit, you are allowed to leave and return to Canada and retain the right to work. With implied status, this is not the case. While you will be able to leave and return and have to right to remain in Canada while your application is being processed, your right to work will cease. For this reason, it is recommended that if you are waiting for a decision on your new application and your current visa has expired, then you do not travel outside of Canada until your case is finalised.

Can I Change Employers If I Have Implied Status?

Ordinarily, IRCC's rules make it clear that if you have an employer-specific work permit, if you apply to work for a new employer and your existing permit has expired, while you can continue working under the conditions attached to your current visa, you cannot start working with a new employer until you receive a decision on your case. IRCC states that if you have implied status, "you must stay in Canada and meet the conditions of your original work permit. If you applied for a work permit extension before your work permit expired, you can keep working under the same conditions as your existing permit until we decide on your application". Having said all of this, at present, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, IRCC has put in place an exception which means you may be able to start working for your new employer.

COVID-19 Exception When Changing Jobs Or Employers

The current IRCC guidance on COVID-19 states the following, "If you have an employer-specific work permit and you want to change jobs or employers, you must apply for a new work permit from inside Canada. International Experience Canada (IEC) participants must first check that they can change employers with an IEC work permit. However, you don't need to wait until your work permit application is approved to start your new job or work for a new employer. You just need an email from IRCC that says you have permission to change jobs. As always, open work permit holders can change employers at any time".

To take advantage of the current exception for COVID-19, after you have applied for your new work permit, you need to complete an online IRCC web form, and paste the following text into the 'your enquiry' section:

"Priority Code PPCHANGEWORK2020: I am requesting consideration under the Temporary public policy to exempt foreign nationals in Canada from certain requirements when changing employment during the coronavirus pandemic and request that the applicable exemptions be granted until the decision is made on my work permit application or it is withdrawn.

I attest that: I hold/held a work permit valid until [DATE] for the employer [NAME] / in occupation [JOB TITLE] and I have received a new job offer for [new employer NAME] / [new occupation JOB TITLE].

I have submitted my application for a work permit online OR I submitted my application by paper and the postal/courier tracking number is [NUMBER].

I intend to work for the [new employer NAME] / [new occupation JOB TITLE] specified in the afore-mentioned work permit application.

I understand that providing false, misleading or incorrect information is a violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and may result in enforcement measures against me".

Do remember to replace the relevant dates, job title, employer, and tracking number. Once you have sent the message, IRCC then says to wait until you receive an email confirming you can start your new job with your new employer (you may have to allow up to ten days).

Final Words

Ordinarily, you cannot start working for a new employer in Canada until you receive a new work permit, but due to COVID-19, for a limited time, there is an exception which means you can. You will, however, still need to wait until you receive the email confirming you can start working for your new employer.

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