The Canada’s immigration minister Sean Fraser has assured that there will be an improvement in the processing times for work permits and this happened during meetings with the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.
The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration is a group of Canadian politicians from major political parties that carry out studies and come up with policy recommendations that will help to improve the immigration system.
The work permit is among the five priorities of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) budget of $85 million this year.
Last week, Honorable Sean Fraser told the committee that IRCC will use its $85 million budget to reduce the processing times that have been changed due to the pandemic.
He initially announced that the service standards for permanent residence card renewals, proof of citizenship, work permit and study permit will come back to normal before the end of 2022.
Reports from the IRCC webpage says that the work permits submitted from most countries are not meeting the processing standard but this doesn’t stop the department from processing a higher level of work permits.
Canada issued about 420,000 under the International Mobility Program (IMP) and Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in 2021.
The TFWP allows Canadian employers to hire foreign skilled workers to come fill up labour shortages in Canada while the IMP promotes the broad economic, social and cultural interests of Canada.
The normal processing time for work permit submitted outside Canada is 60 days except for International Experience Canada (IEC) work permits that have a processing time of 56 days.
For work permits extensions that are submitted within Canada, they have a processing time of 120 days. The IRCC met these standards more than 87% of the time before the pandemic although the official data of how often IRCC met its service standard in 2020 and 2021 have not been released yet.
The outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 brought the operations of the IRCC to a halt and this led to a backlog in applications. Earlier this month, the department had more than 85,000 work permit applications in its inventory.
The Assistant Deputy Minister of IRCC, Daniel Mills was also at the committee meeting and he spoke in French saying that the $85 million budget will not improve the processing times for permanent residents but it will allow IRCC to develop some tools like electronic application systems and also online application trackers.
Minister Fraser had said earlier that the processing for new spousal sponsorship applications had returned to the one-year standard.
Why should work permit be processed faster?
As at November last year, there were about 900,000 job vacancies in Canada according to the job vacancies report and in Canada, immigration has been seen to be a way of filling up labour shortages in the country and also contributing to the growth and development of the country.
There is a constant demand and need for foreign workers in Canada and in this vein, there are some work permits that have been made specially to allow worker under certain sectors come into the country faster.
The Global Talent Stream (GTS) which is a program for employers in the tech industry to bring foreign talents has a work permit processing time of 10 days.
Quebec which is a province in Canada offers a list of occupations that exempts the employer from advertising the job opening and get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if they want to hire foreign workers. Although they would still need a LMIA for these positions, they can get it faster without advertising a job opening.
The LMIA is a test that is taken by an employer in Canada after which a document issued by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to the employer that wants to hire a foreign worker and this document is to show that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to do the job that is why they need a foreign worker.
Canada offers fast-tracked LMIA processing for GTS and Quebec facilitated occupation list.
About 25 percent of work permits granted in 2021 required a LMIA and the remaining 75 percent did not require LMIA.
Living in Canada
If you apply for extension of status as a worker in Canada before your work permit expires, you can stay in Canada on maintained status until IRCC comes up with a decision.
You will also be allowed to work under the same conditions as you were before your work permit expired as long as you are staying in Canada while waiting for IRCC’s decision.
The maintained status can also be applied to the study permit holders and visitors who are applying for an extension of their temporary status.
If you apply for permanent residence in Canada, you may be able to get a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) which will allow you to stay in Canada until your application is processed.