Canada seeks to welcome more expats amidst the crisis

  • Toronto, Canada
Published on 2020-09-14 at 09:52 by Veedushi
If you're a visitor in Canada and have just landed a job, here's some good news. There's no need to leave the country to be able to apply for a work permit, according to an announcement by the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. This measure aims at attracting and retaining foreigners who wish to settle in the country and actively contribute to its economic growth.

Canada was initially planning to get some 341,000 new permanent residents in 2020. In spite of the COVID-19 crisis and border closures around the world, the government is not giving up. There's a sharp drop in immigration figures, but the country has reviewed its immigration policies in order to boost its attractiveness to foreigners looking for new opportunities. According to a report by the Royal Bank of Canada, 34,260 permanent resident permits were delivered during the second quarter of 2020. Still, this is a 67% drop compared to the same period last year.

Most of the permanent residence applications (24,000) were approved in April and June. However, most of the beneficiaries were already in the country as only 4,000 new arrivals were recorded in June alone. Many work permits, as well as 10,000 student permits, were also granted during this period. However, the number of new visa applications dropped by 80% due to travel restrictions around the world.

It's worth noting that Canada depends heavily on the contribution of expat, not only when it comes to the labour shortage in sectors such as healthcare, but also due to its ageing population. International students also help boost the higher education system as well as economic growth.

Applying for a work permit from Canada

During the COVID-19 crisis, temporary residents in Canada were able to stay legally. Thousands of foreign workers with visitor visas had to change their status as they were not able to leave due to travel restrictions around the world. On the other hand, the Canadian labour market is currently facing a labour shortage in various sectors. So thanks to this new measure, employers, mainly in the essential goods and services sectors, will be able to hire.

Note that temporary residents are not eligible for a work permit when they are physically present in Canada and are subject to a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). But in the meantime, they can benefit from this temporary measure if they have a valid visitor status on the day of the request, if they have not left the country since August 24, 2020, and if they have a valid job offer. Once the LMIA has been completed, and even for those who are exempt from it, they have until March 31, 2021, to apply for a work permit to be able to work for their employer. They must also meet all other eligibility criteria under Canadian immigration policies.

On the other hand, applicants having obtained a valid work permit within the last 12 months and who meet the criteria mentioned above can start working for a new employer pending the full approval of their permit application.

Permanent residence for asylum seekers

During the crisis, asylum seekers in Canada contributed significantly to the health sector, mainly for COVID-19-care and the elderly. Therefore, some of them are eligible for permanent residency as from August 14, 2020, under certain conditions. They must have applied for asylum before March 13, 2020, have a valid work permit and have worked at least 120 hours between March 13 and August 14 in one of the country's health establishments. Those who wish to settle in Quebec must also have a Permanent Selection Certificate. It's worth noting that this measure includes the dependents of asylum seekers.

Students eligible for post-graduation work permit despite distance learning

International nationals who wish to study in Canada can already start their program remotely. They can apply for the appropriate visa once all travel restrictions have been lifted. According to local authorities, there was a sharp drop in the number of applications before the start of the new semester. Only 10% of study permit applications were finalized during the second quarter of 2020. However, new measures have been announced on August 26, 2020, regarding the eligibility of students for a post-graduation work permit. In fact, international students can study online from their home country until April 30, 2021. They will still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit provided they have completed 50% of their study program online. Those enrolling in a short-term (8 to 12 months) program starting between May and September 2020 are also allowed to study remotely and will still be eligible for the post-graduation work permit. Besides, students who are enrolled in several eligible programs will be able to add up the duration of their different programs provided they complete 50% of their studies in Canada.