With the guidance and procedures of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a temporary public policy effective on May 12, 2020 has been issued regarding the exemption from certain requirements when a temporary foreign worker is changing employment. This policy remains in effect until it is revoked by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

The Public policy aims to:

  1. Allow temporary foreign workers who are already in Canada to start working in advance of a final decision on their submitted work permit application, provided that they
    1. Are changing jobs or employers, and
    1. Have secured a job offer under the terms of either the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program

This applies to a temporary foreign worker in Canada who is in the process of submitting a new work permit due to changing jobs or employers and is applying from inside Canada and has a legitimate and valid job offer under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program. Thus, the measure applies.

  • Allow for the finalization of the aforementioned work permit application so as to better ensure workers are protected under the applicable employer compliance regulations

In context, these measures are set out to enable temporary foreign workers in Canada to begin working in a new job while their employer-specific work permit application is in process. It applies to those who have a valid work permit, or valid authorization to work without a permit, and to those who are required to obtain a new employer-specific work permit upon starting a new job.

It is important to note that these measures also include an exemption from providing biometrics in support of the work permit application if the Service Canada office serving the area where the applicant lives is temporary closed and is not collecting biometrics due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Individuals expected to benefit from these measures include temporary foreign workers who:

  1. Have implied status but are bound to the conditions imposed on their expired work permit, such that they cannot move to a new job or employer while on implied status. Those who are on implied status are authorized to work while their work permit application is in process.

This applies to those who have already submitted a work permit application and is currently in process but due to the conditions of their previous, expired work permit, they cannot move to a new job with a new employer.

  • Continue to hold a valid work permit that limits them to working for a named employer but need to transition to a different job or employer for reasons that may include having been laid off due to COVID-19 impacts.

This applies to those who currently hold a valid employer-specific work permit but due to being temporarily laid off from a job with that employer because of COVID-19, they have to find a different job or employer to support living expenses.

  • Are work permit exempt, but require a work permit to work in a new job or for a new employer
    • Business visitors and temporary foreign workers who are work permit exempt under the Global Skills Strategy are not eligible for this public policy.

This applies to those who have a valid authorization to work in Canada without a work permit but then needs a work permit to work in a new job or for a new employer.

Brief procedures in submitting a request under the public policy:

The foreign national must submit their application for an employer-specific work permit from inside Canada. The application may be submitted online or by paper and may have been made prior to the implementation of this public policy.

Once an application for a new work permit has been made, a specific message or request must be sent through the IRCC Web form portal to request authorization to apply the exception provided for in the public policy as described in this article to the particular case of the temporary worker.

The following are the requirements for individuals who are looking to submit a request under the public policy provided that the Applicant:

  1. Is in Canada with valid temporary resident status (including implied status);
  • Has held a valid work permit or was authorized to work without a work permit when their application for a new work permit or work permit renewal in Canada was submitted;
  • Has submitted a new work permit application or a work permit renewal application in Canada for an employer-specific work permit, for which a decision has not yet been made;
  • Intends to work for a new employer and/or job as specified by the job offer included in their work permit application described in point c;
  • Has applied for the public policy exemption using the IRCC Web form portal as described in the above brief procedures;
  1. Has requested that the exemption be applicable until a decision is made on their work permit application.

Purpose of the newly-implemented public policy

Accordingly, with the guidance and procedures of the IRCC, the public policy on exemption from certain requirements when a temporary worker is changing employment has been issued and is effective on May 12, 2020. This remains in effect until it is revoked by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

This public policy is delivered to assist temporary foreign workers who have been impacted by COVID-19. The measures of the public policy allow applicants to begin working in a new job while their employer-specific work permit application is in process. The measures apply to individuals who are under employer-specific restrictions, and those who have a valid work permit, valid authorization to work without a permit, or have implied status.

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