The advantage to in-Canada processing is that IRCC will send the work permit to the applicant in the mail. The applicant will not need to leave and re-enter Canada in order to receive their work permit.
On March 1, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) extended the public policy allowing certain visitors in Canada to apply for an employer-specific work permit until February 28, 2025.
The wording of the announcement, as well as the wording that is sometimes used to report the announcement on social media, has led to some confusion. We have had questions from visitors over the past few weeks who have wondered if they now qualify for a work permit, since they are visitors and have received a casual job offer.
To clarify, this public policy is concerned only with place of application requirements. It does not ease work permit eligibility requirements. As before, a foreign national must receive a job offer backed by a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or qualify for an LMIA-exempt work permit through the International Mobility Program, in order to be eligible for a work permit.
So, what does this public policy actually do? It amends the place of application requirements. Before the public policy came into force, a visitor in Canada would have to submit an application for a work permit outside Canada or, in the case of visa-exempt applicants, at a port of entry. A visitor in Canada submitting their application outside Canada could do so online and, assuming they have valid visitor status until a decision is made, could remain in Canada during processing. Once the application is approved though, the applicant would need to leave and re-enter Canada in order to have their work permit printed by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer. Through the public policy, a visitor in Canada may now submit their application for a work permit online and have it processed from within Canada. The advantage to in-Canada processing is that IRCC will send the work permit to the applicant in the mail. The applicant will not need to leave and re-enter Canada in order to receive their work permit.
Whether or not this public policy is actually helpful to an applicant is highly dependent upon their situation and priorities. The estimated processing time for a work permit submitted inside Canada is currently 154 days. If the applicant holds the passport of a country that enjoys a significantly shorter processing time through a visa office abroad, it may be faster to submit the application from outside Canada. However, if the applicant wants to avoid an examination by a CBSA officer or if their visitor status will likely expire during processing of an outside application, it may be preferable to submit the application from inside of Canada, regardless of the longer processing times.
Are you a visitor in Canada who would like to remain here, but you are unsure of your options? We would be happy to arrange a consultation, during which we would discuss your possible pathways to a work permit or permanent resident status. Contact our office for details, including consultation fees and availability.