The Canadian government has said that foreign nationals who are in the country as visitors but manage to receive valid job offers will continue to be able to apply for and receive work permits without having to leave the country.
The temporary measure put in place to address the labour shortage in the country was to end by February 28, 2023. The Canadian government said it has now extended it by 2 years, until February 28, 2025.
According to a statement on the Canadian Immigration website, this temporary policy makes visitors an option for employers in Canada, as many are facing significant labour shortages during this period of economic expansion. It added that visitors applying under this public policy who held a work permit within the last 12 months will also continue to be able to request interim work authorization to begin working for their new employer more quickly.
What has changed : Before this temporary policy change, those applying to work in Canada would typically need to apply for their initial work permit before they go to Canada.
- If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would need to leave Canada to be issued their work permit.
- But with the new policy in place, leaving Canada is no longer necessary.
Eligibility criteria : To be eligible to apply, the Canadian government stated that an applicant looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must:
- Have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply.
- Have a job offer that is supported by a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment.
- Apply for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025.
- Meet all other standard admissibility criteria.
It added that applicants who currently have visitor status but who have held a valid work permit in the past 12 months can follow special instructions to get interim work authorization to start working for their new employer before their work permit application is finalized.
What it means for Nigerians: For many Nigerians who are seeking to relocate to Canada for work, this means they can travel to Canada as a visitor and then start applying for jobs. Anyone lucky to get a job within the period of the visiting Visa can then apply for a work permit, without having to come back home.