Newcomers to Canada occasionally ask me, how many times can I extend my work permit in Canada. There are rules that determine question, one is the length of employment, and the other is whether you have a valid study permit or not when you first land on Canadian soil.I am planning to move to Vancouver, Canada in the near future. I want to get more details about how many times can I extend my work permit in Canada.
There has been a lot of unnecessary fear mongering around the work permit caps recently so I decided to look at the actual numbers. The current policy is that you can only extend your work permit if you have applied for a permanent resident visa. Once you have applied for a PR Visa you will fall under the cap.Yes, Canada is that place with maple leaves and polite citizens that you see on the news. But it’s also a good place for people to move if they want to start a new life there. One of the main reasons so many people move to Canada is the work permit process.
How Many Times I Can Extend My Work Permit In Canada
Conditions that are attached to a temporary work permit
Canadian visa officers have the authority to add conditions to a work permit such as:
- The length of time for which the permit will be valid
- The type of work that the work permit holder may perform
- The employers that the foreign worker may work for
- The geographic locations in which the foreign worker must work
- Specific times and periods during which the foreign worker can or cannot work
All work permit holders must satisfy the following requirements:
- They may not work for, or extend their employment with, an employer whose name appears on the list of ineligible employers.
- They may not work for or extend their employment with a business that offers: stripteases, erotic dances, escort services or erotic massages.
If a foreign worker violates either of these two rules, his/her work permit will be revoked.
The extent to which a Canadian visa officer can add the conditions mentioned above to a work permit will be altered if the foreign worker applicant is eligible for an open work permit or is required to undergo a medical examination.
How long a temporary work permit may be valid
Work permits are usually valid for 1-2 years. However, a Canadian visa officer can change the validity period of a work permit according to:
- The expiry of the worker’s passport or travel document. Generally, a Canadian visa officer will not issue a work permit that is valid for longer than the validity of the worker’s passport. This rule, however, does not apply to:
- Citizens of the USA
- People seeking to enter Canada from the USA or St. Pierre and Miquelon who have been lawfully admitted to the USA as permanent residents
- Residents of Greenland seeking to enter Canada from Greenland
- People seeking to enter Canada from St. Pierre and Miquelon who are citizens of France and residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon
- Members of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state under the Visiting Forces Act. In order for this rule to apply, the member of the armed forces must be seeking entry to Canada in order to carry out official duties. This rule does not apply to people working in the civilian sector of a country’s armed forces.
- People who are seeking to enter Canada as, or in order to become, members of an air transportation crew. These people must hold an airline flight crew licence or crew member certificate issued in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization specifications.
- People seeking to enter Canada as members of a sea transportation crew. These people must hold a seafarer’s identity document issued according to International Labour Organization rules. They must also be crewmembers of the boat that carried them to Canada.
- Applicants with no other means of support. (Foreign Nationals with No Other Means of Support)
- Permanent residency applicants residing in Canada. (Permanent Residence Applicants in Canada)
- Note: all of the additional considerations listed below will never cause a work permit to be issued for longer than the validity of the worker’s passport UNLESS they are subject to one of the exceptions listed above.
- The foreign worker’s means of support in Canada
- The period for which the foreign worker has applied to stay in Canada
- The duration of validity of the applicant’s LMIA or Certificat d’acceptation de Quebec, as applicable
- The expected duration of the applicant’s employment as indicated in the job offer
- The maximum work permit validity period allowed by any particular program or agreement in which the applicant is involved.
If all requirements are met and a temporary foreign worker applicant is issued a work permit, Canadian visa officers will give the work permit the longest validity period possible given the factors mentioned above.
There are certain categories of work, however, that come with specifically mandated work permit validity periods. The kinds of work and validity periods are as follows:
- Professionals working under NAFTA: Under NAFTA, work permits are issued for three years. All permit extensions will also be for three years. There is no limit on the number of times a permit can be extended, should the individual continue to meet the eligibility conditions.
- Professionals working under free trade agreements similar to NAFTA: Under these agreements, work permits are issued for one year. All permit extensions will also be for one year. There is no limit on the number of times a permit can be extended, should the individual continue to meet the eligibility conditions.
- Professionals working under the General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS): A work permit under this agreement will only be valid for 90 days over a 12-month period. There is no limit on the number of extensions.
- For workers transferring from a foreign company to a Canadian company, work permits may be issued for the following periods:
- Executives and managers: Permits will have a maximum initial validity period of three years. If an executive or manager is opening an office in Canada, however, the maximum initial validity period is only one year. Renewals for two-year periods are possible but the total period of stay may not be more than seven years.
- Specialized knowledge transferees: Permits will have a maximum initial validity period of three years. If a specialized knowledge transferee is opening an office in Canada, however, the maximum initial validity is only one year. Renewals for two-year periods are possible but the total period of stay may not be more than five years.
- International Experience Canada Participants: These permits have a validity period of 6-12 months, depending on the country-specific agreement.
- Study Permit Holders: Work permits will be valid for as long as the study permit is valid. A work permit will only be issued, however, if the work is essential to the applicant’s program of study.
- Spouses of Diplomats of Military Personnel: The spouse’s work permit’s validity will not exceed the length of the diplomat or military personnel’s stay in Canada.
- Post-Graduation Employment Work Permit. These permits have a maximum validity of three years with no renewals.
- Live-In Caregiver Program. The maximum total validity period of these work permits is four years including extensions.
- Refugee Claimants. The initial work permit will be valid for 24 months. Renewals for 1-year periods are possible.
- Destitute Students. A work permit will be issued for a validity period that is long enough to allow the student to earn sufficient money to complete his/her term of study.
- Temporary resident permit holders. The validity period of the work permit will not be longer than the validity period of the temporary residence permit. Temporary residence permit holders can only apply for a work permit if their temporary residence permits have a validity period of longer than 6 months.
How the validity period of a work permit can be extended
For more information on how to extend or change work permit in Canada, please click here.