The labor shortage in Canada is a growing concern for employers, and global pandemic has further compounded this issue by making it difficult for foreign workers to enter the country. Foreign skilled workers who are currently in Canada as visitors may be eligible to apply for a work permit under a temporary public policy. This policy was set in place on August 24, 2020—during the COVID-19 pandemic—and will remain in effect until February 28, 2025. However, it is important to note that visitors to Canada are generally not permitted to apply for a work permit while in the country.
To be eligible for an employer-specific work permit, the foreign national must meet the following requirements:
Additionally, former work permit holders who have converted to visitor status may be eligible for an interim authorization to work if they meet the following requirements:
It is important to note that a foreign national must hold valid temporary resident status to work in Canada, except when specifically exempted from holding a work permit under the legislation. Anyone who works without authorization is in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and can be reported and removed from Canada.
Employers should examine the immigration document of prospective employees to ensure they hold a valid work permit and have not violated immigration legislation by working without authorization. Failing to do so can result in serious consequences, including hefty fines and potential legal action, for both the employer and the employee.
If a foreign national has a valid work permit or had one in the past 12 months and is now a visitor, and has not violated immigration legislation by working without authorization, they may be eligible for the policy outlined above.
For an employer looking to hire foreign workers, it is equally important to understand the immigration laws and regulations in Canada. To learn more on the guidelines−provided by the Government of Canada− to help navigate the hiring process of foreign skilled workers, click here.
For more information about Canadian immigration for temporary public policy foreign nationals, please contact Bruce Harwood from our Immigration Practice Group.