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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Visitor Visa to Work Permit Public Policy 2023

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Visitor to Work Permit Canada

The Canadian government has introduced a temporary public policy to allow certain visitors in Canada to apply for employer-specific work permits. This initiative aims to address the labor shortages in the country and provide eligible foreign nationals with an opportunity to contribute to the Canadian workforce.

Key Details:

  1. Background: Recognizing the labor shortages in Canada, this policy allows visitors with valid temporary resident status to apply for a job offer-supported work permit from within the country. This move is designed to tap into the potential of visitors who can help fill the labor market gaps.

  2. Eligibility: The policy is applicable to visitors in Canada with valid temporary resident status. They should have submitted an employer-specific work permit application using the appropriate application form. Those who submitted their applications on or before February 28, 2025, are eligible.

  3. Interim Work Authorization: Former work permit holders who converted to visitor status can seek interim authorization to work. They must have held a valid work permit in the 12 months preceding their application under this public policy and should intend to work for the employer specified in their work permit application.

  4. Application Process: All in-Canada work permit applications under this policy must be submitted electronically. Applicants are guided through specific steps to ensure their applications align with the policy's requirements.

  5. Effective Date and Duration: The public policy came into effect on August 24, 2020, with eligibility criteria expanded to include all visitors, regardless of their arrival date in Canada. This policy will remain in effect until February 28, 2025.

  6. Additional Provisions: Applicants under this policy are exempt from the prohibition on the issuance of a work permit if they worked without authorization. This prohibition has been waived as part of the public policy.


  1. The introduction of this policy underscores the Canadian government's proactive approach to addressing labor shortages by leveraging the potential of visitors in the country.

  2. By facilitating the issuance of employer-specific work permits to visitors, Canada aims to ensure a steady economic recovery and growth.

  3. The inclusion of provisions for interim work authorization highlights the government's commitment to providing flexible solutions for former work permit holders.

Converting Your Visitor Visa to Work Permit in Canada

If you're in Canada on a visitor visa and wish to stay longer to work, you might be eligible to convert your visitor status to a work permit under certain conditions. Here's how you can do it:

1. Eligibility

If you wish to convert your visitor visa to a work permit in Canada, there are a few requirements that must be met in order for you to be eligible.

  1. First, you must be inside Canada on a valid visitor visa. This includes - status extensions under subsection 183(5) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), that is, maintained status, at the time of work permit application submission

  2. Second, you must have a valid (Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) approved) job offer unless your job offer is exempt from a positive LMIA. In that case, you will need to submit the LMIA exempt letter of employment. Check our guide to LMIA here.

  3. Third, you need to submit an employer-specific work permit application using the Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker [IMM 5710]. All applications must be submitted electronically.

  4. Fourth, you must have remained in Canada with status since application submission and intends to remain in Canada throughout the period during which their work permit application is being processed

  5. Lastly, you must be admissible to Canada and be able to provide proof that you will depart Canada at the end of your work permit.

Note: Under the public policy that facilitates this transition, all applications must be submitted on or before February 28, 2023

Converting Visitor Visa to a Work Permit without an LMIA - Labour Market Impact Assessment.

You may qualify for an open work permit if:

  • your spouse / common-law partner has a study permit and is studying in a DLI and you are inside Canada on a valid visitor visa.

  • your spouse / common-law partner has a work permit and is working in occupations specified in NOC TEER 0,1,2 or 3, and you are inside Canada on a valid visitor visa.

  • your spouse / common-law partner is waiting for PR and has “approval in principal” status, and you are inside Canada on a valid visitor visa.

  • you have applied for Permanent Residence under Spousal Sponsorship, then you can apply for a spousal open work permit while you’re waiting for the decision on your PR application.

2. Application Process

a. Find a Job

Before you can apply for a work permit, you need to secure a job offer from a Canadian employer. This job offer will be crucial for your work permit application.

b. Apply Online

All in-Canada work permit applications under this policy must be submitted electronically:

  • Visit the IRCC website and create an account.

  • Fill out the work permit application form for in-Canada applicants.

  • Ensure you select the option indicating you're applying under the special public policy for visitors.

c. Gather Necessary Documents

Prepare the following documents:

  • Proof of Status in Canada: A copy of your valid visitor visa.

  • Job Offer: A copy of your job offer or employment contract.

  • Personal Documents: Passport, photographs as per specifications, and any other documents as required.

d. Pay the Fees

There's a fee associated with the work permit application. Ensure you pay this fee online through the IRCC portal.

e. Submit the Application

Once you've filled out the application form and gathered all necessary documents, submit your application online.

3. Interim Work Authorization

If you previously held a work permit and then changed your status to a visitor, you might be eligible for interim work authorization while waiting for the decision on your work permit application. This allows you to work for the employer specified in your work permit application.

4. After Applying

  • Wait for Decision: After submitting your application, wait for a decision from IRCC. Processing times can vary.

  • Prepare for Biometrics: If asked, visit a local biometrics collection point.

  • Receive Your Work Permit: If approved, you'll receive your work permit by mail.

5. Points to Remember

  • This policy is temporary and has an expiration date. Ensure you apply before the policy ends.

  • If you worked without authorization, the prohibition on the issuance of a work permit might be waived under this policy.

  • Always stay updated with the latest guidelines and policies on the IRCC website.

If you need help, Book a Consultation to speak to a licensed immigration consultant.

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