A new government policy is allowing temporary foreign workers, who already have a job offer in Canada, to start working while their application is being processed.
The government says this will drastically reduce the time it takes for a temporary worker to start a new job from 10 weeks to 10 business days.
The temporary change is part of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) response to Canada’s labor market needs during the corona virus pandemic. Many temporary foreign workers with employer-specific work permits lost their jobs this spring and are unable to leave Canada due to travel restrictions. At the same time, many employers in sectors such as agriculture, agri-food, and healthcare are facing labor shortages.
Under the existing rules, temporary foreign workers with employer-specific work permits need to apply for a new permit with the name of the new employer in order to work legally in Canada. They need to wait for the work permit to be issued before they can start working at their new job.
Now temporary workers who have a job offer lined up can submit a request to IRCC to have authorization to work. The request will be reviewed in 10 days, and if approved the worker will be notified by email. They can then start working at their new job.
There are three main eligibility criteria:
- Workers must be in Canada with valid status;
- They must have an employer-specific work permit or have been working under a work permit exemption; and
- They must have submitted an application for a new work permit with a valid job offer under either the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, or the International Mobility Program.
There is no change to the role of the employer in the process for hiring foreign workers. Employers need to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). They must name the worker in a position on the LMIA and notify Service Canada.
For employer-specific LMIA-exempt situations, employers need to submit an offer of employment through the International Mobility Program Employer Portal.