Visitors who wish to immigrate to Canada are in luck. The Canadian Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship recently announced visitors can now receive a job offer and apply for a work permit without leaving the country.
This news comes in response to the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on Canadian immigration. With an ageing population and a job market dependent on foreign workers, the country is determined to attract and retain expats in Canada. Before the outbreak took its toll, the country expected around 341,000 new permanent residents. Instead, it received 80 per cent fewer new visa applications due to global travel restrictions.
During the second quarter, 34,260 permanent residents entered the country. This was a 67 per cent decrease from the number last year. While Canada has seen a steep drop in the number of expats coming in, the country is working on updating immigration policies to get its numbers back up.
How Covid-19 Changed Canada’s Immigration
Once the pandemic struck, Canada temporarily amended its policies to allow temporary residents to stay in the country. Thousands of foreign workers with visitor visas could not leave due to travel restrictions. Instead, they were forced to change their statuses to extend their work permits and remain in the country legally. Canada is also experiencing significant labour shortages in many industries.
The new measures aim to alleviate both symptoms of the crisis, allowing foreign workers to secure legal employment and helping companies gain skilled employees.
Temporary residents must follow strict procedures to get a work permit in Canada, regardless of whether you’re in the country or outside. Canada’s government website offers detailed information on visas and work permits and how Covid-19 affects foreign workers.
Canadian Work Permit Changes
Temporary residents can take advantage of these temporary measures if their visitor status is valid, if they have been in the country since August 24 of this year, and if they have received a valid job offer.
Both those required to obtain Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA, and those who are exempt, have until March 31, 2021 to apply for a work permit. As long as they meet all other immigration requirements, they will be legally allowed to work in Canada.
Those who have received a work permit in the past 12 months and still meet these requirements can begin working while they wait for work permit approval.
Updates for Asylum Seekers
Asylum seekers in Canada have contributed greatly during the crisis, helping with care for Covid-19 patients and the elderly. Some of these individuals, as well as their dependents, are granted eligibility for permanent residency if they meet specific requirements. To comply, they must have applied for asylum by March 13, 2020, have worked at least 120 hours in the health sector between that date and August 14, and currently have a valid work permit. In Quebec, requirements include obtaining a Permanent Selection Certificate.
Good News for International Students
The number of international students in Canada dropped dramatically during the second quarter of 2020. Only 10 per cent of the study permit applications the country received were finalised during this period. The country announced new measures on August 26 of this year to help Canada’s international students secure post-graduation work.
International students around the world have been met with difficult situations regarding their studies in light of Covid-19. In Canada, this group can now receive a work permit after graduation, even if they’ve completed their studies remotely.
Additionally, those who wish to begin their studies with a Canadian university can do so remotely until April 30, 2021. After travel restrictions are lifted, they’ll be able to apply for the visa they need to relocate to Canada. Those in this category are still eligible for post-graduation work permits if they complete 50 per cent of their studies in Canada.
Students in programmes lasting 8 to 12 months that begin between May and September of this year can also study remotely and gain eligibility for a post-graduation work permit upon completion of their studies.
Has Covid-19 Changed Plans for Expats in Canada?
A June 2020 survey by the World Education Service, revealed that Covid-19 did not impact expats’ plans to move to Canada. In fact, 45 per cent of participants said their interest had increased in light of the pandemic, a 7 per cent increase from the response in April. Only 32 percent of the survey participants said they are reconsidering their application, and 11 per cent say they are considering moving to another country altogether.
Relocating to Canada
Canada depends on expats and international students to fill labour gaps, improve the education system, and secure economic growth. They hope immigration changes will send a message that expats are not only welcome but encouraged to apply to work in the country.
If you’re planning to move to Canada, companies like 1st Move International are here to offer support. We know the ins and outs of shipping your belongings to Canada and elsewhere, and we are happy to help you make this exciting move.
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