Ottawa extends work permits for foreign nationals

Changes also apply to applicants of TR to PR pathways

Ottawa extends work permits for foreign nationals

Foreign nationals with expired or expiring post-graduation work permits, as well as applicants to the temporary resident to permanent resident pathways, can now extend their stay in Canada thanks to new measures from the federal government.

Ottawa is allowing foreign nationals whose post-graduation work permit expired or is expiring to remain in the country for 18 more months by extending their work permit or applying for a new one.

This applies to permits that expired or will expire between Sept. 20, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2022. Those currently in Canada can work in the interim period while their permit is being extended or a new one is being issued.

This applies in varied ways for those with different cases:

Case

Application

Address is up to date, passport is valid through April 2024

You don’t need to do anything. When you receive an email from IRCC to confirm your mailing address, don’t respond. An updated work permit will be sent to your mailing address by mid-October.

Need to update address or passport validity

When you receive an email from IRCC to confirm your mailing address, follow the instructions in the email to inform the government that your mailing address needs to be updated.

 

If your passport validity doesn’t allow the government to extend your work permit by 18 months, you will not receive this initial email, but you will receive a separate email in September.

 

If you need to update your mailing address or your passport information, you will receive instructions by email in September on how to update your mailing address and passport validity in your online account. You will get a two-week window to do so. If you update this information, you will receive an updated work permit in the mail by mid-November.

Won’t be able to update address or passport validity

You will need to apply online to extend your work permit. You could receive a work permit extended to your passport expiration date or you could wait to apply until you have renewed your passport.

Wasn’t contacted by IRCC

If you do not receive an email from IRCC by mid-September, you are not eligible to have your work permit extended through this special process for another reason, such as information has been added to your file about your admissibility to Canada that will need further review. You may still apply online to extend your work permit.

Post-graduation work permit expiration is the only issue

You will need to apply online for a work permit. Applications open on Aug. 2, 2022. If you are in Canada and your temporary status has also expired, you must apply to restore your status at the same time. Under these special measures, you are allowed to restore your status, even if it expired more than 90 days ago.

 

You are eligible to apply from abroad if you have left Canada and return after you have been approved.

Interested parties cannot apply for this work permit at a port of entry. All work permit applications for this public policy must be submitted online by Dec. 31, 2022.

Starting Aug. 8, 2022, individuals with post-graduation work permits that have expired or will expire will receive an email indicating that they are allowed to work in the interim. Recipients can attach this email to their post-graduation work permit to show an employer they are authorized to work temporarily in Canada.

This one-time measure is intended to ensure that those eligible for the additional 18-month work period can remain working or can return to the workforce while they apply for a new work permit. This interim work period will be in effect until May 31, 2023.

“This email notice only allows the individual to work; it does not restore legal temporary resident status if the person’s status has expired,” says the government.

In April, the federal government announced new measures that will open the country’s door to foreign workers. That same month, Ottawa announced major changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program “to meet the labour market needs of today.”

TR to PR pathways

Applicants who are part of the temporary resident to permanent resident (TR to PR) pathways, and whose permanent residence application has not yet been finalized, are also eligible to apply for an open work permit.

“This ensures they won’t lose their status or ability to work while they wait for their permanent residence application to be finalized,” says Ottawa.

Those applying for an open work permit that will be valid until Dec. 31, 2024, provided their passport is valid through that date.

About 2,500 TR to PR applicants have already applied for and received an open work permit through this measure, according to the government. They will receive an email telling them that they may be able to get their work permit updated with a longer validity date.

Among them, those whose mailing address is up to date and are still in Canada will not have to do anything. An updated work permit with a validity date of Dec. 31, 2024, will be mailed to them by mid-October.

Meanwhile, applicants with passports that expire before Dec. 31, 2024, will not receive this email and will not be eligible to change the length of their current work permit through the special measure. They are, however, still eligible to apply and seek a longer work permit, either by applying to get a work permit to match the day their passport expires or applying after they have updated their passport.

If the individual needs to update their mailing address, or if they opt out of receiving an open work permit through this process, they will no longer be eligible for the special measure. They will need to apply online.

“Canada’s diverse and inclusive society, high-quality educational institutions, and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a leading destination of choice for students from around the world,” says the federal government.

These measures, however, took four months coming.

"IRCC needed to update our antiquated system that limited automatic renewals of the expired and expiring work permits," said an IRCC spokesperson in a CTV News report.

"Updating our system has allowed IRCC to ensure our public policy is inclusive enough for all those with expiring or expired post-graduation work permits who may have been affected by the pause on Express Entry. This approach required IT system changes, which typically take some time to put in place."

In March, Ottawa started accepting applications for the permanent Atlantic Immigration Program. It also opened a new immigration stream for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada either on a temporary or permanent basis.

Canada is well poised to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic by relying more on new immigrants to help alleviate the labour shortage, former immigration minister Marco Mendicino said in February 2021.

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