Can Visitors Apply For Work Permit In Canada

We have been taught at school that if you have a compelling reason to stay in Canada after your visitors visa expires, then you can file a work permit application from inside the country. “You can seek an extension or change your status while in Canada” says the Canadian immigration website ( However, there has been many cases reported that show otherwise. As our application was being rejected at the CIC office, we were baffled since we were sure that we had a solid case for extension of stay. We later found out that we didn’t have a solid case for Canada work permit application, and our case was not about us lacking “compelling reasons to stay”.

Can Visitors Apply For Work Permit In Canada

The majority of people immigrating to Canada are skilled professionals who have obtained a job offer from employers through the Express Entry system or Provincial Nominee Programs Program. However, you can still come to Canada as a visitor, tourist or temporary worker and apply for a work permit while here. To get a work permit, you need to have a valid visitor status or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

Have you ever been to another country and wondered how to go about applying for a Canadian Temporary Resident Visa? Or have you been asked by a friend or family member from another country if they need to apply for a Canadian Work Permit when they visit Canada? If so, good news! It’s likely that they don’t need to apply for anything when visiting Canada. They will simply need to make sure their passport stays valid during their stay in Canada.

Change intended to benefit employers who are still facing difficulties finding workers

August 24, 2020—Ottawa—Visitors who are currently in Canada and have a valid job offer will be able to apply for an employer-specific work permit and, if approved, receive the permit without having to leave the country, thanks to a new public policy announced today by the Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

This temporary policy change takes effect immediately and will benefit employers in Canada who continue to face difficulties finding the workers they need, as well as temporary residents who would like to contribute their labour and skills to Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, temporary residents who remained in Canada were encouraged to maintain valid legal status. With air travel limited around the world, some visitors to Canada have been unable to leave, while some foreign workers had to change their status to visitor because their work permit was expiring and they didn’t have a job offer to be able to apply for a new work permit. Some employers in Canada have also faced ongoing labour and skills shortages throughout this period, including those who provide important goods and services that Canadians rely on.

To be eligible, an applicant looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must

  • have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply
  • have been in Canada on August 24, 2020 and remained in Canada
  • have a job offer
  • submit an application for an employer-specific work permit that is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment, no later than March 31, 2021
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria

This temporary public policy also provides the opportunity for applicants who meet these criteria and who had a valid work permit in the past 12 months to begin working for their new employer before their work permit application has been fully approved. To do so, they need to follow the instructions for the process described here:


“We have heard from employers who continue to face challenges recruiting and hiring the workers they need during the pandemic. At the same time, some visitors in Canada may be able to contribute their skills where there are labour shortages. The measures introduced today will now allow visitors to apply for work permits without having to leave the country first. This exemption from the normal temporary work permit requirements is aimed at removing barriers to create a more agile workforce that leverages visitors with the skills and experience to accelerate our economic recovery.”

—The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • Any type of visitor who meets the criteria is eligible to apply under this new public policy, including super visa holders, business visitors and those who entered Canada through a Global Skills Strategy work permit exemption. 
  • Foreign nationals who arrive in Canada as visitors after August 24, 2020, are not eligible under the public policy.
  • Prior to this temporary policy change, a person applying as a temporary resident would usually need to apply for their initial work permit before they came to Canada. If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would need to leave Canada and return before their work permit was issued to them.    

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