Canada’s immigration laws and policy regulate how long a temporary foreign worker Can stay in Canada as a worker.  The duration for a worker’s ability to stay in Canada often depend on the category of work permit they have initially obtained.  There are open and closed work permits.

Temporary Foreign Worker Open Work Permits

Some work permits are open, meaning that they allow open entry into Canada’s labour market, as opposed to closed work permits which restrict the worker to a single employer.   The  length of the open work permits are often tied to another application or status, such as a pending spousal or common law application, a pending permanent resident application filed after an Invitation To Apply, or the time left on a spouse’s work or study permit.

Temporary Foreign Worker Closed Work Permits

By contrast,  closed work permits tend to have more rigid restrictions on their temporal duration.  With respect to one type of closed work permit, that of the Intra-Company Transferee, the maximum duration is tied to the type of work being performed.  The maximum amount of years for managers or executives is seven years, while the maximum duration  for specialized knowledge workers is  five years.  There is an exception when such Intra-Company Transferee have reached their maximum work permit duration they can leave Canada to continue to work for the same employer at the outside of Canada branch for one year before returning to Canada on their Intra-Company Transferee work permit.  More details are here.  The initial issuance of such Intra-Company Transferee work permits may be up to three years depending on how established the Canadian branch is.  Other cases of ICT work permits where the company is being initially established by someone on the ICT work permit  limits the duration to one year.

Intra-Company Transferee

Other closed work permits, aside from the Intra-Company Transferee work permit, have their length connected to a  Labour Market Impact Assessment.  An L.M.I.A.  confirms the employer under which the foreign national can work.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

A Post-Graduation Work Permit’s duration is ‘maxed out’ to a period of three years, depending on the duration of study.  The recommended course of study is two years’  of full time study at a publically funded institution; two years allows for the maximum three year duration of this type of work permit.

Some Post-Graduation Work Permit holders can extend their stay in Canada through a Labour Market Impact Assessment.  A Labour Market Impact Assessment can be a method of extending your work in Canada.  However, that extended period of work would be tied to a specific employer.

A spouse or common law partner of a study permit holder or work permit holder may apply to work in Canada.  The length of that work permit would be tied to the date of expiration of the spouse/common law partner’s study or work permit.

International Experience Class

Would-be temporary foreign workers between the age of 18 and 35 may be able to work in Canada for between one year and two years, depending on the passport they possess.  These workers’ duration of their work permits are governed by the IEC or International Experience Class which in turn dictates the duration of the work permit, tying the duration to the applicant’s country of origin.  For example New Zealanders  of a certain age can avail themselves of an IEC work permit for up to 23 months.   Similarly, Australians between the age of 18 and 35 may apply to work for 24 months, and Greek citizens of a similar age may apply to work in Canada for 12 months.

In some cases, the duration of a work permit issued by an immigration officer may be lower than expected.  This is sometimes the case when a person obtained a work permit using a passport that may expire in the near future.  A visa officer does not issue a work permit longer than the duration of the passport’s validity.

If you have questions about extending your temporary foreign worker status in Canada contact us.

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