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When to Consider Renewing Your Canadian Work Permit

Citizenship and Immigration Canada generically recommends filing a request for renewal of a work permit 30 days prior to its expiration. However, current realities may require that the process be initiated well before that.

Current delays for inland processing of a work permit renewal are up to 60 days for a paper application or 17 days for an electronic application. In the recent past, these figures have been as high as 110 days and 50 days respectively. Once such an inland renewal is filed, assuming that the terms and conditions of the work permit remain the same, the candidate benefits from “implied status”, permitting the candidate to remain and work in Canada without a work permit (i.e., implied status does not confer any form of work permit, but rather permits work without a work permit). However, travel out of Canada, provincial health care renewals, driver’s license renewals (as examples) are all hindered by the absence of a work permit during this period of implied status. For someone exempt from the requirement of a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), the 30 day recommendation is not unreasonable.

The majority of work permit holders, of course, are subject to the requirement of a LMO. In these cases, adhering only to that 30 day recommendation would be potentially catastrophic. If advertising of the position is a requirement, as most cases for renewal are, then it would typically take 1-2 weeks to place the ads, and another 4 weeks to run the ads (mandatory). If such advertising does not yield a qualified Canadian respondent, then the LMO itself must then be pursued. Current average delays across the country (LMOs are processed on a regional basis), can reach several months at this time; current delays are reaching 12 month highs given the recent barrage of changes to the process, including suspension of the Accelerated LMO process.

The LMO process should ideally be concluded at such time as the work permit renewal is filed. If that is not the case, then it may be necessary to file the renewal with the hope that the LMO will be in hand by the time that it is considered by an official. If the LMO is not in hand at that time, the candidate may be refused the renewal, and may be required to leave Canada.

In the current climate of increased scrutiny, lengthy advertising requirements, and exceptionally long processing delays, it is advisable to commence the process of renewal (at least considering the requirements for a given case) at least six months in advance.

Date Posted: January 09, 2014 Posted In: Labour Market Opinion,Temporary Work Permits

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