IRCC has announced that foreign nationals receiving job offers in Canada can now apply for and obtain work permits. This policy is an extension of the COVID-19 temporary public policy, which was set to expire on the current date. To qualify for this temporary public policy, applicants must have the following:
- valid visitor status in Canada at the time of application,
- have a job offer supported by an LMIA or LMIA-exempt offer of employment,
- apply for an employer-specific work permit by February 28, 2025, and fulfill all other standard admissibility criteria.
To be considered a valid job offer for this policy, it must be a written offer for a full-time, non-seasonal position lasting at least one year, be supported by a positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada, or be LMIA-exempt.
An LMIA is a process by which an employer applies to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to determine if hiring foreign workers will have a positive, neutral, or negatively impact on the Canadian economy. If ESDC determines that the impact will be negative, the employer will not be allowed to hire foreign nationals.
Those who currently hold visitor status in Canada but have had a valid work permit in the past 12 months can obtain interim work authorization to start working for their new employer while their work permit application is being processed.
Before the policy change, individuals seeking to work in Canada typically had to apply for their work permits before arriving there. Foreign nationals with visitor status had to leave Canada to obtain work permits. This policy eliminates that requirement.
Canada’s high number of job vacancies
Due to COVID-related travel restrictions that made it difficult for newcomers to arrive from abroad, Canada introduced a measure to help employers fill urgent labor shortages.
Canada is actively seeking to fill job vacancies and reduce the labor shortage, as the unemployment rate stood at 5% in January, which is historically low.
Although vacancies decreased from over one million earlier in the year to 848,000, according to Statistics Canada data from December 2022, several key sectors still face a shortage of employees to fill in-demand positions.
For instance, the healthcare and social assistance sectors had 149,800 vacancies, accommodation and food services had 108,000, and retail trade had 100,200 vacancies.