Temporary policy may help employers looking to hire foreign talent

If you are looking to hire a foreign national who is currently in Canada, a temporary public policy from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may help speed up your recruitment efforts.

Under the policy, foreign nationals who previously held employer-specific work permits may be eligible to apply for an interim work authorization letter when applying to change the conditions on their work permit from one employer to another. This allows them to start a new job with a different employer before they receive their new work permit. They must have a valid job offer to take advantage of this policy.

This gives employers a quicker option for hiring foreign workers currently residing in Canada. Without the interim work authorization letter, employers may need to wait 160 days or more before a foreign worker can change their employment from inside Canada.

Eligibility requirements

Foreign nationals who came to Canada under an employer-specific work permit can apply for interim authorization to work if they:

  • have valid temporary resident status in Canada as a worker or visitor;
  • held a valid employer specific work permit within the 12 months preceding their application;
  • intend to work for the employer and in the occupation specified in the application;
  • apply through the appropriate web portal;
  • request that their interim work authorization apply until a decision is made on their new work permit; and
  • remain in Canada while their application is processed.

Applicants must complete an employer-specific work permit application, including a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or LMIA-exempt offer of employment where applicable. If an interim work authorization is granted, the applicant can begin working before a new work permit is issued.

Hiring other foreign nationals

The temporary policy also provides an avenue for foreign nationals who have visitor status in Canada but did not previously hold a work permit to apply for a work permit if they:

  • have valid temporary resident status as a visitor in Canada;
  • submit an employer-specific work permit application using the IRCC’s Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker; and
  • remain in Canada while their application is processed.

Unfortunately these candidates are not eligible for an interim work authorization letter and must wait for their work permit to be approved before starting their employment.

Policy expires in 2025

Employers looking to hire foreign talent from inside Canada can take advantage of this temporary policy until it expires on February 28, 2025. Applications must be submitted before the expiry date.

The lawyers in the MLT Aikins Immigration practice group have wide-ranging experience advising employers in all sectors on immigration strategies. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this temporary policy or have any questions, contact us to learn how we can help.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice of opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.