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Moses Law Office

Providing Canadian Immigration Services since 1988

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Work Permit Applications

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The general rule is that the Applicant must apply to a Visa post outside of Canada to process a Work Permit Application. Applications may be submitted online, or to Visa Application Centres (VACs) that serves your area.

Special exceptions exist where the Application can be made through the Visa processing centre in Vegreville, Alberta, namely for post-graduate Work Permits, for Work Permit extensions, for Refugee Claimants, for in-Canada processing of Spousal Sponsorship applicants where the initial stage has been approved, for spouses of certain Work and Study Permit holders, for persons coming under special international agreements or exchange programs, for persons enrolled in a co-op study program (although the work must be related to the study), for persons working on campus while enrolled in a full time study program, post-doctoral fellows, research award recipients, eminent individuals (leaders in various fields), guest lecturers, visiting professors. For these special categories, an open Work Permit would be issued.

On April 21, 2008, the Canadian Government announced that international students will be able to obtain an open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, for up to three years depending on the post-secondary program completed, with no restrictions on the type of employment and no requirement for a job offer. Previously, depending on the location, international students could only obtain a one or two year work permit. The government’s goal is to allow increased flexibility by the expanded program in order that international students can get important work experience in Canada. It is expected that this in-Canada work experience and familiarity with Canadian society will permit graduates to meet the requirements to stay permanently in Canada.

Persons are also exempt from requiring a Work Permit if they enter Canada for the purpose of working as an academic consultant or an academic examiner, graduate assistants, self-funded researchers. These persons would enter Canada as a Visitor. Religious Workers can also enter Canada as a Visitor.

For some industry sectors and occupations, there are special criteria that must be complied with. For example, academics, seasonal agriculture, film and entertainment, information technology, live-in-caregivers, pilot projects for occupations requiring a high school diploma or job-specific training.

For an outside of Canada Visa Post Application, an Applicant first needs to obtain a job offer from a qualified employer. The job should be one in demand. The employer will have to show that a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident is not willing or able or available to fill the position. Employment Social Development Canada (ESDC) approval through the issuance of a validation will usually be required before the Applicant can apply to the Visa Post to obtain the Work Permit. Salaries should usually be at the going market rate for the position being sought. However, the obtaining of an ESDC approval does not guarantee that the Visa Post will approve the Work Permit Application.

In some provinces, the jobs in demand are posted on a provincial government website. In addition, for some provinces, there are special programs that target specific kinds of workers.

Certain programs exist that also allow the Applicant to bypass a validation from Employment and Social Development Canada. The Immigration manuals list many positions that would be validation exempt. An example of a validation exempt Applicant would be a religious worker. However, the Visa issued would be a Visitor Visa allowing for work as a religious worker. The specific institution would be named on the Visitor Permit.

Quebec Study and Work Permits:

Note that there is a different procedure for persons seeking to study and/or work in Quebec.

Provincial Nominee Programs and Work Permits:

Several of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) will issue a Work Permit after preliminary approval to allow the applicant to work in Canada while the immigration visa processing is finalized. Rules vary depending on the PNP.

Final Note:

In many cases, persons seeking entry to Canada for a temporary purpose, apply by themselves without legal assistance, especially for a visitor visa. However for cases, where Canadian immigration rejects the applicant, the second attempt is much more difficult, especially for Study Permits or Work Permits. If the applicant seeks the most safe and risk free approach for applying for a Study Permit or Work Permit, professional assistance should be sought from the start, before there is a rejection by immigration or problems arise. Obtaining legal advice as to how to better lay the foundation for a successful temporary visa (Visitor, Study and/or Work Permit) application is very important, especially in the current environment where Immigration authorities have become stricter in applying the temporary visa application rules and regulations. Further, given the current trend toward refusing more and more temporary authorizations, there is a greater need to speak to a qualified immigration lawyer about the risks and pitfalls. As always, the prospective temporary visa applicant, especially for Study and Work Permit applications, should seek proper and honest legal advice in order that the prospective visa applicant does not lose the right to obtain and/or maintain student and/or work status in Canada.

For further information please contact Marvin Moses Law Office.

(Since the issues and matters in reality are quite complex, it is recommended that legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this article accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.)