A man pushes a baggage cart wearing a face mask at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Image Credit: Reuters

Toronto: Foreign nationals who are in Canada as visitors and who receive a valid job offer will be able to apply for and receive a work permit without having to leave the country, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced.

The move, an extension of a COVID-era temporary public policy that was set to expire today, has now been extended by two years, until February 28, 2025.

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Visitors applying under this public policy who held a work permit within the last 12 months will also continue to be able to request interim work authorization to begin working for their new employer more quickly.

No need to exit

Prior to this temporary policy change, those applying to work in Canada would typically 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 the country to be issued their work permit.

With this policy in place, leaving Canada isn't necessary.

Conditions apply

Those looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply, and have a job offer that is supported by a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment.

An LMIA is an application that an employer makes to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to evaluate if hiring foreign workers will have a positive, neutral or negative impact on the Canadian economy.

If ESDC deems the impact is negative, the employer will not be eligible to hire foreign nationals, according to CIC News.

Under the policy, applicants must also submit an application for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025.

IRCC said that continuing this policy makes visitors an option for employers in Canada, many of whom are facing significant labour shortages during a period of economic expansion.

There was an overall decrease in the number of vacancies to 848,000 from over one million, according to Statistics Canada data from December 2022.

However, key sectors like healthcare, food and social assistance still need more employees to fill in-demand positions.