“Is it possible to convert a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada?”
Yes, it is possible. Foreign visitors in Canada with valid job offers can now apply for work permits without having to leave, thanks to a temporary policy extension until February 28, 2025.
- Visitor Visa to Work Permit Conversion: Possible in Canada with valid job offers due to a temporary policy extension until February 28, 2025.
- Eligibility Criteria: Must have valid visitor status, a job offer supported by LMIA or an LMIA-exempt offer, and apply for an employer-specific work permit by February 28, 2025.
- Conversion Steps: Apply for a Visitor Visa in Canada, consider requirements and fees, apply with necessary documentation, secure an LMIA-supported job offer, research job opportunities, explore alternative pathways without LMIA if needed, and apply for a work permit from within Canada post-LMIA. This is possible due to a policy extension until February 28, 2025.
- Post-Temporary Policy – Flagpoling: After the policy expires, individuals may need to go through a flagpole, a process involving exiting Canada through the US border, applying for a work permit, and re-entering Canada.
- Interim Authorization to Work: Addresses the waiting period for work permit approval. Applicants can fill out an IRCC web form and wait for contact, usually within 30 business days.
What is Interim Work Authorization?
If you’re applying for a job in Canada and have been a visitor there recently with a valid work permit, you can follow some special instructions to get an interim work authorization. This will allow you to start working for your new employer before your work permit is finalized.
To be eligible to apply, an applicant must:
- Have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply.
- Have a job offer supported by a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer.
- Apply for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025.
- Meet all other standard admissibility criteria.
1. Apply for a Visitor Visa (TRV)
The first logical step to convert visitor visa to work permit in Canada is to become a Canadian visitor. You need to understand the following requirements before applying for a visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa – TRV) for Canada.
Visitor Visa Fees and Requirements
- The application fee for a visitor visa is $100 CAD (~ 5,200 INR), while the biometrics charge is $85 CAD (~ 4,400 INR).
- A cost of $100 CAD per person is required to extend your visitor visa.
- You must pay a visa cost of $200 CAD (About 11065.45 INR) to regain your tourist status.
- Prove that you will leave the country after your visit.
- Prove that you have sufficient funds to maintain yourself and any accompanying family members while in Canada.
- Be in good health and be willing to conduct a medical exam if required.
- Not have any criminal record; be willing to get a police verification done.
- Be able to provide all supporting documents at the request of the visa officer.
Canada Visitor Visa Processing Times
TRV applications are generally processed within 30 days. However, this can vary based on factors like application type, applicant’s country, and application backlog. Always check the latest processing times on the official IRCC website. Remember, complete and accurate documentation can help avoid delays. Consult an immigration expert if needed.
It’s always best to check the most recent processing times on the official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Application Process for a Visitor Visa
- Decide whether you want to apply online or in person.
- Complete a visa application form with all of the necessary information and papers.
- Make a certified check or bank draught payment for the visa processing cost.
- Bring your passport, photos, and other documents to the nearest Canadian visa application center.
- You must provide your fingerprints and a photograph (biometrics)
- Go to the Canada visa application center and submit your visa application form.
- Get a receipt from the application center with your unique tracking number on it.
- Use this number to track your application online.
Get Professional Help with a Visitor Visa or Work Permit
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2. Getting a Job Offer and a LMIA
After you enter Canada, you have limited time to apply for a job and get a positive LMIA. Not to mention, getting a job offer is an extremely difficult process in itself. So it is better that you do your homework properly. Let’s explain this point in detail.
Research for the Job
- Understand the labour market opportunities in your destination.
- Match your NOC code with the in-demand jobs in that area.
- Apply for Jobs online through Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc.
- Apply directly to the employer’s website.
- Friends and family can help to find employment opportunities.
Related Topic: How to Get a Job Offer from Outside Canada?
Get a Positive LMIA
Even after enough job research, there are high chances that you won’t be able to get a job offer from a Canadian employer. Because an employer has to fulfill the LMIA Requirements to hire you, and not many employers are willing to sponsor temporary visitors.
Factors to improve your chances to get a work permit while on a visitor visa:
- You have exceptional skills that employers won’t find anywhere else.
- You have enough contacts to support you in Canada.
- You have hired someone to search for a suitable job for you.
Visitor Visa to Work Permit (without LMIA)
You can get an open work permit without LMIA only:
- If your spouse / common-law partner has a study permit and is studying in a DLI, you can apply for an open work permit as a temporary visitor.
- If your spouse / common-law partner has a work permit and is working in occupations specified in NOC 0, A, and B, you can apply for a work permit as a visitor visa holder.
- If your spouse / common-law partner is waiting for PR and has “approval in principal” status, you may apply for a work permit as a visitor.
- If you have applied for PR under Spousal Sponsorship, then you can apply for a work permit while you’re waiting for the decision.
3. Converting Visitor Visa to Work Permit in Canada
New Temporary Policy
After you get a positive LMIA from a Canadian employer, you can apply for a work permit from inside Canada. On February 28, 2023, IRCC announced that foreign nationals currently in Canada on a visitor visa and who have a valid job offer would continue to be able to apply for and receive a work permit without having to leave the country. The temporary public policy has been extended by two years until February 28, 2025.
What is Flagpoling?
After the temporary policy expires, you have to go through a process called Flagpoling. In this temporary, visitors must go out of Canada through the US border, apply for a work permit, and then re-enter Canada.
Using the flagpole process to activate a new Canadian work permit is legal. However, it is important to be truthful and provide accurate information during the process. Giving false information can lead to serious consequences. Please consult an immigration expert before attempting to flagpole or change your immigration status.
4. Interim Authorization to Work
We have discussed how to convert a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada. Now, let’s understand how Interim Work Authorization works. If you apply for a work permit in Canada while under visitor status, you must wait approximately 135 days to receive it. This means that you cannot work until your work permit is approved.
IRCC addressed this problem through an “Interim Authorization to Work.” With that, you can obtain this authorization to work quickly. You can start working immediately if you have received an employer-specific job offer. It was introduced to address labour shortages, though it is not automatic.
The process for Interim Authorization to Work is as follows:
- Fill out this IRCC web form, which is available on the official website.
- Wait for IRCC to contact you. This may take up to 30 business days (6 weeks).
How Can ELAAR Help You?
We offer immigration assistance to those looking to settle in Canada. Keshav Sharma, a licensed and regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant with years of experience, leads our team. We can assist you if you need help with visa applications, work permits, or permanent residency. Contact our experts to learn more about how we can help.