Work in Canada Without a Work Permit - Every Possible Scenario
Canada has specific regulations and provisions that allow certain individuals to work without a work permit under the International Mobility Program.
Regulatory Authorization to Work Without a Work Permit
Business Visitors [R186(a)]: Individuals visiting Canada for business purposes.
Foreign Representatives [R186(b)]: Diplomats and consular officers.
Family Members of Foreign Representatives [R186(c)]: Immediate family members of foreign representatives.
Military Personnel [R186(d)]: Members of armed forces visiting Canada for official duties.
Foreign Government Officers [R186(e)]: Officials representing a foreign government.
On-campus Employment [R186(f)]: Students working on the campus of their educational institution.
Performing Artists [R186(g)]: Artists performing in Canada but not entering the labor market.
Athletes and Team Members [R186(h)]: Professional or amateur athletes competing in Canada.
News Reporters, Media Crews [R186(i)]: Individuals reporting on events in Canada.
Public Speakers [R186(j)]: Individuals speaking at events, not for profit.
Convention Organizers [R186(k)]: Organizers of conventions or conferences.
Religious Leaders [R186(l)]: Individuals leading religious congregations.
Judges, Referees, and Similar Officials [R186(m)]: Officials overseeing artistic, cultural, recreational, or sports activities.
Expert Witnesses or Investigators [R186(o)]: Individuals providing expertise in legal cases.
Civil Aviation Inspectors [R186(q)]: Inspectors overseeing aviation procedures.
Crew [R186(s)]: Crew members of transportation (air, sea) vehicles in Canada.
Emergency Service Providers [R186(t)]: Individuals providing emergency aid.
Pending Decision on Work Permit Renewal [R186(u)]: Individuals awaiting a decision on their work permit renewal.
Off-campus Work [R186(v)]: Students working off-campus.
Transition to Work Permit [R186(w)]: Individuals transitioning from certain statuses to a work permit.
Registered Indians [R186(x)]: Individuals registered under the Indian Act.
Canada's International Mobility Program has provisions under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) that allow certain foreign nationals to work in Canada without a work permit under specific conditions.
Public Policy Authorization to Work Without a Permit
Short-term Work Permit Exemption: Specific provisions allowing short-term work without a permit.
120-day Work Permit Exemption for Researchers: Researchers working in Canada for short durations.
Registered Indians: As per paragraph 186(x) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, registered Indians, defined under the Indian Act, are exempt from applying for a work permit.
Status and Authorization: Under the IRPA, all foreign nationals authorized to enter Canada under subsection A22(1) are granted temporary resident status. They can either be authorized to work without a work permit (R186) or be issued a work permit (R200 or R201).
Extension of Status: Previously known as "implied status" and now referred to as "maintained status," the extension of status under subsection R183(5) doesn't automatically authorize a temporary resident to continue working while their work permit renewal application is pending. They must also fulfill the criteria of paragraph R186(u) to keep working.
Eligibility for R186(u): Foreign nationals can work without a permit if they:
Applied to renew their work permit before the original one expired.
Have remained in Canada.
Continue to comply with the conditions of the expired work permit, excluding the expiry date.
Maintained Status: Subsection R183(5) grants an extension of the period of authorized stay, allowing a foreign national to maintain their temporary resident status. This was previously known as “implied status”.
Multiple Applications: A foreign national who submits an application to renew their work permit may be submitting two applications: one for an “extension of authorization to remain” and another to “renew the work permit”.
Interim Proof of Work: Upon receipt of an online work permit application, an acknowledgement of receipt is sent automatically. This letter indicates the continued authorization to work under paragraph R186(u) and has a 120-day validity.
First Work Permit in Canada: If a temporary resident is applying for their first work permit from within Canada, paragraph R186(u) does not apply.
IEC Program Participants: For International Experience Canada (IEC) participants, the discontinuation clause only applies between one IEC participation and the next. If they apply for a work permit renewal outside of the IEC program, they receive the authorization to work without a permit.
Temporary Residents Authorized to Work Without a Permit: Those authorized to work without a permit under section R186 or the Public Policy facilitating entry into Canada for short term work do not hold a work permit. They can't apply for a work permit after entry to Canada.
Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Holders: PGWP holders benefit from the authorization to work without a permit when they apply for a work permit renewal in a different category if they meet the requirements under paragraph R186(u).
Employer Compliance: The employer continues to be subject to conditions and may be inspected until a decision is made on the work permit renewal application.
Work in Canada Without a Work Permit - International Mobility Program
Short-term High Skilled Work of 15 or 30 Days
Canada's International Mobility Program has established a public policy that provides work permit exemptions for certain high-skilled foreign nationals seeking to work in Canada for short durations. This policy aims to facilitate the entry of these professionals to address specific labor market needs.
Occupation Requirement: The work must be in a TEER category 0 or 1 occupation as per the National Occupational Classification.
Duration: The exemption is available for:
15 consecutive days, provided the foreign national hasn't been granted this exemption in the last 6 months.
30 consecutive days, provided the foreign national hasn't been granted this exemption in the last 12 months.
Visa Requirements: Depending on their nationality, eligible persons might also need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada.
Initial Application: Applicants already in Canada cannot make an initial application within Canada for this exemption.
Foreign nationals must provide evidence to demonstrate their eligibility. This can include:
A job offer or contract from the employer.
Details of the work, the NOC code, job title of the intended occupation, and the period of employment (start and end date).
Departure and Re-entry
Foreign nationals can exit and re-enter Canada within the prescribed time frame (15 or 30 consecutive days) of work under the exemption.
The authorized work period begins on the date the exemption is granted and is counted consecutively, irrespective of whether the person is actually working in Canada.
Any travel outside Canada after the exemption was granted will not extend the length of the exemption period.
The exemption applies to the foreign national, not the employer. If intending to work for multiple employers during the exemption period, the foreign national must demonstrate that all work falls under a qualifying TEER 0 or 1 occupation.
Foreign nationals can benefit from subsequent short-term work permit exemptions based on their past use of the exemption. For instance, if they've used the 15-day exemption, they can be granted another 15-day exemption after 6 months or a 30-day exemption after 12 months.
120-Day Work Permit Exemption for Researchers
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has established a public policy that allows certain highly skilled foreign nationals to work in Canada without a work permit for up to 120 consecutive days. This policy was introduced as part of the Global Skills Strategy launched on June 12, 2017, in collaboration with Employment and Social Development Canada.
The foreign national must have an offer from a publicly funded degree-granting institution (college or university level) or its affiliated research institution.
The job offer should be primarily for a research position.
The work duration should not exceed 120 consecutive days.
The foreign national should not have been granted an exemption under this policy in the last 6 or 12 months.
The foreign national should make a significant contribution to the research project.
Applicants already in Canada cannot apply for this exemption initially.
Foreign nationals must provide:
Confirmation from the institution detailing the work, the National Occupational Classification code, and the employment period.
Proof of the foreign national's experience and education relevant to the work.
Evidence of the significant role the foreign national will play in the research project.
The exemption applies to the foreign national, not the employer. Each foreign national can work without a permit under this policy for a 120-day period every 12 months.
If the foreign national intends to work for multiple employers during this period, they must provide evidence of eligibility for each institution.
If a foreign national has previously benefited from the 120-day exemption, they may be granted:
A subsequent 120-day exemption if they haven't been granted a short-term work permit exemption in the last 12 months.
A 15-day exemption after 6 months since the 120-day exemption was granted.
A 30-day exemption after 12 months since the 120-day exemption was granted.
Foreign workers entering Canada under this exemption do not have a work permit. If admitted for 6 months at the port of entry, they can stay as visitors until the end of their authorized stay. However, they cannot work past the period allowed by the work permit exemption unless otherwise authorized.
Why is such an exemption introduced?
Foreigners with high skills who come to Canada for short periods of time are good for the economy, but they don't have much of an effect on the job market. Work permit exemptions will make it easier for these workers to come to Canada. This will remove financial and administrative barriers for Canadian employers, make Canadian firms in the knowledge economy more competitive, and encourage more economic activity in Canada.
Who qualifies for a Short-Term Work Permit Exemption?
The temporary measure delegates an officer to grant an an exemption for 15, 30 or 120 consecutive days from the requirements of the Regulations identified below to a foreign national seeking to enter Canada if:
The foreign national
Plans to work in a job listed in Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibility (TEER) Category 0 or 1 of the National Occupation Classification, as defined in section 2 of the Regulations, for up to 15 days in a row; and
Has not been previously granted an exemption under this public policy in the last 6 months;
The foreign national
Plans to work for up to 30 days in a job that is listed in TEER Category 0 or 1 of the National Occupation Classification, as defined in section 2 of the Regulations; and
Has not been previously granted an exemption under this public policy in the last 12 months; or
The foreign national
After getting an offer from a publicly funded Canadian degree-granting institution or its affiliated research institution, plans to work as a researcher for up to 120 days in a row;
Has a big part to play in the research project or something of value to add.;
when seeking to enter Canada, on the request of an officer, produced a written confirmation from the institution, which includes the description and duration of the work, and
has not been previously granted an exemption under this public policy in the last 12 months
Is not inadmissible to Canada and meets all required selection criteria.
What are the requirements to apply for an exemption from a work permit under the new public policy in Canada.
To apply for the exemption to work permit requirements, you must provide the following:
Your employer gives you a formal job offer
A letter from your employer explaining what you do, your NOC code, and how long you've been working there.
A letter from the qualifying institution confirming your research, NOC code, and duties
Proof of academic qualifications
Description of how your contribution is important to the research you are doing and how it will add value to it.
No matter if you are already working in Canada or not, your authorized work period starts on the date your exemption is granted.
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