The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected almost every sector in Canada, and both, the temporary foreign workers and the employers have faced challenges due to the rapid change in the job market.
If you don’t know this already, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is a program allowing Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals for filling in the temporary labour and skill shortages, in case when qualified permanent residents or Canadian citizens are not available.
As a result of the COVID-19 impact, many temporary workers having employer-specific work permits lost their jobs and left Canada, while some of them are unable to leave due to international travel restrictions in place, and the reduced flights being available.
In this fluid situation, many employers, on the other hand, are facing ongoing labor shortages, such as the agriculture, agri-food, and health care sectors, and need to be accommodated with immediate employees, providing goods and services to Canadians.
Following the existing rule, temporary foreign workers who are willing to change jobs, will have to apply and wait for a new work permit, before they can start their new jobs. But, to fulfill the demand of labor needs in the critical services, the Government has announced a new policy as a temporary measure that drastically reduces the time it takes for a temporary foreign worker to get back to a new job, which is effective immediately from May 12, 2020.
With this new policy in place, temporary foreign workers in Canada, who have a new job offer, usually backed by a labour market test, can start their new jobs while the work permit application is being processed, cutting down the time it takes from 10 weeks or more, to 10 days or less.
Temporary workers who have applied for a new work permit must submit a request to IRCC, which will be reviewed in 10 days and if the request is approved, workers will be notified by an email and can start their new jobs.
To qualify for the new policy, temporary foreign workers must meet the following criteria:
• Workers must be in Canada with a valid status
• Must have an employer-specific work permit or have been working under a work permit exemption
• Must have submitted an application for a new work permit with a valid job offer under either the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program
It is to be noted that there is NO CHANGE to the role of the employer in the process of hiring foreign workers. The employer needs to obtain a valid positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), name the worker in a position on the LMIA, and notify Service Canada.
In case of an employer-specific, LMIA-exempt situation, the employer will have to submit an offer of employment through the International Mobility Program Employer Portal.
In 2019 only, around 190,000 employer-specific work permits were issued to foreign nationals as per the news release by IRCC.
How to Change Employers?
Step 1: Apply for Work Permit
Temporary Foreign Workers, if you have an employer-specific work permit and you want to change jobs or employers, you must apply for a new work permit from inside Canada. In most of the cases, you will have to apply online, however, if you cannot apply due to disability or other problems with the online application, you can apply on paper.
Step 2: Fill out the IRCC Web form
Once you apply for the work permit, fill out the IRCC Web form and submit.
Please note the following when you fill the inquiry section:
You must copy the text below that applies to your situation and make sure you fill out the sections in square brackets, including the
• name(s) of employer(s)
• title of your job
• If you applied on paper and don’t know your application number, include your courier tracking number. This will ensure we can find your application.
Step 3: Wait for the IRCC to respond through email
After you’ve submitted the IRCC web form, IRCC will be sending an email confirming that the applicant is able to start the work with a new employer while the application process is complete, and then you can start your new job or work for a new employer.
If you applied online for your work permit, the email should arrive in about 10 business days and if you applied on paper, it may take longer.
If you have other questions, you need to fill out a new IRCC Web form.
Do you have questions about temporary work permit applications? Simply start by clicking the link below and we’ll get back to you!
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