This week, the Canadian Government announced a new, temporary policy that will drastically reduce the time it takes for temporary foreign workers (TFWs) to start a new job. This new policy took effect on May 12, 2020.

While it would typically take 10 weeks or more for a TFW to start a new job, the new policy will cut that time down to 10 days or less.

As we had previously discussed, Canada is in urgent need of TFWs. Specifically, many employers in sectors that have ongoing labour needs and who provide critical goods and services to Canadians, such as agriculture, agri-food and health care, find themselves with an urgent need for additional employees. As stated by the Honourable Marco E.L. Mendocino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship:

Immigrants, temporary foreign workers and international students are making considerable contributions to Canada’s response to the unprecedented challenge that COVID-19 poses. We know and value their efforts and sacrifices to keep Canadians healthy and ensure the delivery of critical goods and services. The new policy we are announcing will allow Canadian businesses to recruit the workers they need and help unemployed workers contribute to the Canadian economy during this pandemic.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many TFWs with employer-specific work permits lost their jobs. While some left Canada, others have been unable to leave due to international travel restrictions or the reduction in flights available. Under existing rules, to change jobs TFWs need to apply for a new work permit and then wait for it to be issued before starting to work at their new job.

The new policy will allow workers who are already in Canada and have secured a new job offer, typically backed by a Labour Market Impact Assessment, to obtain approval to begin working in their new job, even while their work permit application is still being processed. 

Eligible Workers

To be eligible, the worker must:

  • Be in Canada with valid status;
  • Have an employer-specific work permit or have been working under a work permit exemption; and
  • Have submitted an application for a new work permit with a valid job offer under either the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program.

Application Process for Workers

If eligible, the work permit applicant must submit a request to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The applicant must: 

  1. Apply for a new work permit from inside Canada. Most people must apply online, but if they can’t because of a disability or because there is a problem with the online application, they can apply on paper.
  2. After applying for the new work permit, the worker must fill out the IRCC Web form.

The request will be reviewed within 10 days, and if approved, authorization for the worker to start working in their new job will be sent to them by email.

Process for Employers

The Government has stated that there is no change to the role of the employer in the process for hiring foreign workers. 

As a result, an employer continues to be required to: 

  • Have, or obtain, a valid positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada;
  • Name the worker in a position on the LMIA; and 
  • Notify Service Canada.

However, for an employer-specific, LMIA-exempt situation, the employer must submit an offer of employment through the International Mobility Program Employer Portal. 

It should also be noted that on March 20th, 2020, IRCC announced that the normally mandatory two-week recruitment period that is part of the LMIA process will be waived in key occupations related to the agriculture and agri-food sectors until October 31, 2020.

Get Advice

It is a difficult time for all, and the situation is constantly evolving. The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law continue to monitor changes closely and will provide updates as the situation evolves. If you have questions about how COVID-19 might impact your business’s immediate and long-range immigration needs, please reach out to the immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law by contacting us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.

Contact Us

For all questions and inquiries, call or email us via our form below<

4950 Yonge St., # 302
Toronto, ON M2N 6K1

Fax: (416) 512-6107