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How to Change Your Visitor Status to Work Permit in Canada

In Canada, a visitor visa and a work permit are two different things and you can’t turn one into the other. They each serve specific purposes for temporary stays.

A visitor visa also known as a temporary resident visa lets you come to Canada for reasons like tourism, business meetings, or visiting family. On the flip side, a work permit is a permission slip that allows you to work in Canada temporarily.

If you wish to get a visitor visa, you’ll need to show that you plan to leave Canada when your visit is over. You need to give proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay. A clean record with no criminal or immigration issues is also required. Depending on where you’re from, you might also need to do a medical check or provide biometric information. Visitor visas usually let you stay in Canada for up to six months.

What is a Canada Work Permit?

A Canada work permit is needed if you want to work in Canada temporarily. To get one, you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer and usually, you need a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), unless there’s an exception.

The LMIA is a paper that proves there’s a need for a foreign worker to fill the job because no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do it. Work permits are mostly given for the job duration or up to two years whichever is shorter.

Canada Policy that Allows  Visitors to Apply for Work Permits in Canada

As of March 2023, the Canadian government had indeed extended a policy that allows visitors to apply for work permits while in Canada. The policy was originally introduced in August 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed visitors who were already in Canada to apply for a work permit without having to leave the country.

This policy will allow visitors who meet specific eligibility requirements may be able to apply for an employer-specific work permit, an open work permit, or a post-graduation work permit. This can provide them with the opportunity to work in Canada and gain valuable Canadian work experience.

The policy had been extended until February 28, 2025, instead of expiring at the end of February. It will still be possible for visitors applying under this policy who had a work permit during the previous 12 months to apply for interim work authorization so they can start working for their new employer more quickly.

Types of Work Permits Available for Visitors in Canada

Canada offers various types of visitor to work permits, each with its unique eligibility criteria and conditions. Here are some of the common work permit types:

Employer-Specific Work Permit: Issued to individuals with job offers from specific Canadian employers. The employer must secure a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from ESDC, showing the need for a foreign worker.

Open Work Permit: Allows work with any Canadian employer. Typically granted to temporary residents like visitors or international students who completed their studies at a Canadian post-secondary institution.

International Experience Canada (IEC) Work Permit: For young people (18-35 years old) from certain countries, offering the opportunity to work and travel in Canada for up to two years. Three categories: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op.

NAFTA Work Permit: Available to U.S. or Mexican citizens coming to work in Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Requires a job offer from a Canadian employer in a NAFTA-eligible occupation.

Global Talent Stream: Designed to help Canadian employers hire highly skilled foreign workers, especially in fields like information technology and engineering. Employers must obtain a positive LMIA through the Global Talent Stream program.

If you’re visiting Canada and wish to stay legally, initially getting a work permit is a great option. Over time, as you gain work experience, you can consider applying for Permanent Residence, which opens up more long-term possibilities.

Avoid Pitfalls in Your Work Permit Application

When applying for a visitor to work permit in Canada, you should be aware of some common problems people face. Some folks try to get a Canadian work permit but end up losing their visitor status. This can happen for various reasons, like mistakes in the application, not having the right work experience or skills for the job, or giving false information.

Immigration officers at the border are very careful these days, so it’s hard to fool them. Also, be cautious of consultants, especially from countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, who promise quick fixes like ‘visa on arrival’ or ‘visitor to work permit in N days.’ It’s best to use authorized immigration consultants or lawyers when applying. Unauthorized consultants might give you wrong information or submit fake applications, and this could result in your application being denied or even being banned from coming to Canada in the future.

Looking to apply for a visitor to work permit in Canada? Reach out to IJS Immigration today!

When it comes to this process, having the support of a licensed immigration consultant or lawyer is crucial. They can provide expert guidance and boost your chances of a successful application.

At IJS Immigration, our team includes skilled and knowledgeable consultants who can assist you in your work permit application. We’ll work with you to create a clear strategy to achieve your immigration goals in the long run.

If you have a work permit opportunity, consult with us for valuable guidance.

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