The Process Is Becoming Faster?

During meetings with the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, Minister Sean Fraser stated that the IRCC will use its $85-million dollar budget to reduce processing times caused by the pandemic. This statement follows his previous announcement that service standards for work permits, study permits, citizenship proof, and permanent residence card renewals will return to normal by the end of 2022.

Despite applications from most countries failing to meet the processing standard, a high number of work permits continue to be approved. In 2021, Canada issued around 420,000 temporary foreign worker visas under the International Mobility Program (IMP) and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). This is significantly higher than in 2019 when the total amount of visas distributed was 405,000.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

This program enables employers to hire a foreign national to fill labour shortages in the country where there are no qualified Canadian workers available. The eligibility for this type of application depends on labour market needs for specific occupations and regions. Once approved, the work permits are employer-specific, meaning that foreign nationals are tied to one workplace and cannot switch between employers.

Outside Canada applications generally take 60 days to process, however, there are some exceptions. International Experience Canada work permits must be processed in 56 days, while work permit extensions can take up to 120 days.

International Mobility Program

This program is used to advance Canada’s broad economic, social, and cultural national interests. It is largely based on bilateral agreements with other countries. Here, work permits can be both employer-specific or open, depending on the situation or agreement.

Why Are Faster Processing Times Important?

It is no secret that Canada’s workforce is primarily supplemented by immigrants. According to the latest job vacancies report, last November the country had nearly 900,000 job openings. Due to the constant need for foreign talent, work permits for some industries have expedited process times. For example, the Global Talent Stream has a processing standard of 10 business days and is meant for employers in the tech sector to onboard foreign talent.

How to Stay in Canada if Your Work Visa is Expired?

If you apply for an extension of status before the expiration of your work permit, you can stay in Canada on maintained status until the IRCC makes a decision. During the waiting period, you are allowed to work under the same conditions prior to your visa’s expiry.

The maintained status could also apply to study permit holders and visitors wishing to extend their temporary status. Applicants for permanent residence may be able to get a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) that allows them to stay in Canada until their application has been processed.