A visitor visa and work permit are two separate documents that allow foreign nationals to enter and work in Canada for a temporary period of time. So there is nothing like converting a visitor visa into a work permit in Canada. A visitor visa, also known as a temporary resident visa, allows you to visit Canada for tourism, business, or family purposes. On the other hand, a work permit is a document that allows you to work in Canada on a temporary basis.
To obtain a visitor visa, applicants must provide evidence that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay, have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay, and have no criminal or immigration-related convictions.
Depending on the applicant’s country of origin, they may also need to undergo a medical examination or provide biometric information. Visitor visas are typically issued for a maximum period of six months.
A work permit is required for individuals who wish to work in Canada on a temporary basis. To be eligible for a work permit, applicants must have a job offer from a Canadian employer and obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), unless an exemption applies.
The LMIA is a document that shows that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do the job. Work permits are typically issued for the duration of the job offer or up to two years, whichever is shorter.
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, which was originally introduced in August 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed visitors who were already in Canada to apply for a work permit without having to leave the country.
Under the policy, visitors who meet certain 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.
There are several types of visitor to work permit in Canada, each with its own eligibility requirements and conditions. Here are some of the most common types of work permits:
- Employer-Specific Work Permit: This type of work permit is issued to individuals who have a job offer from a specific Canadian employer. The employer must obtain a positive LMIA from ESDC, which demonstrates that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job.
- Open Work Permit: An open work permit allows individuals to work for any Canadian employer. This type of work permit is typically issued to individuals who are in Canada on a temporary basis, such as visitors or international students who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution.
- International Experience Canada (IEC) Work Permit: The IEC program is designed for young people (18-35 years old) from certain countries who want to work and travel in Canada for up to two years. There are three categories under the IEC program: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op.
- NAFTA Work Permit: This type of work permit is available to citizens of the United States or Mexico who are coming to work in Canada as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The individual must have a job offer from a Canadian employer in a NAFTA-eligible occupation.
- Global Talent Stream: This work permit is designed to help Canadian employers recruit highly skilled foreign workers in certain fields, such as information technology and engineering. The employer must obtain a positive LMIA from ESDC through the Global Talent Stream program.
If you’re in Canada as a visitor and want to stay here legally, the best option is to obtain a work permit initially. You can then apply for Permanent Residence as you gain work experience over time.
We’ve seen many cases where people tried getting a Canadian work permit but ended up losing their visitor status. This can happen for a variety of reasons that include any deficiencies in the application, lacking required work experience, having no required skillset or ability to perform a specific job, and misrepresentation. Immigration officers at the border are really vigilant nowadays and you can’t trick them.
We’ve seen many consultants from countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan luring candidates using some fancy terms like ‘visa on arrival’ and ‘visitor to work permit in N days’. Only use authorized immigration consultants or lawyers when submitting your application. Unauthorized consultants can provide inaccurate information or submit fraudulent applications, which can lead to a refusal of your application or future inadmissibility to Canada.
While a work permit allows you to work in Canada, it is important to understand that it is a temporary document with an expiry date. It does not provide a pathway to permanent residence on its own and simply working in Canada without a clear strategy for permanent residency can result in wasting valuable time and money.
To make the most of your work permit and achieve your ultimate goals, it is important to have a clear strategy in place. This may include:
- Understanding the different pathways to permanent residence in Canada and selecting the one that best fits your qualifications and goals.
- Working with a licensed immigration consultant or lawyer to ensure that your work permit application is strong and that you meet all eligibility requirements.
- Networking and building relationships in your industry to increase your chances of finding a job that can lead to permanent residency.
- Staying up-to-date on changes to Canadian immigration laws and policies that may impact your ability to obtain permanent residency.
By having a clear strategy in place and using your work permit strategically, you can increase your chances of achieving your ultimate goal of obtaining permanent residency in Canada.
If you are considering applying for a visitor to work permit in Canada, it’s important to work with a licensed immigration consultant or lawyer who can guide you through the process and increase your chances of success. At Jet Immigration, we have a team of experienced and knowledgeable consultants who can help you with your work permit application and develop a clear strategy to achieve your long-term immigration goals.
Consult with us if you have a work permit opportunity for better guidance.