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Entering Canada before LMIA-exempt work permit is received

Entering Canada before LMIA-exempt work permit is received

Old Dec 4th 2021, 4:25 pm
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Default Entering Canada before LMIA-exempt work permit is received

Hi everyone,

I'm just wondering if anyone could tell me whether it's possible to enter Canada before you receive your work permit and receive your work permit while you're in Canada?

I am supposed to be getting a LMIA-exempt work permit to start a postdoc on the 1st February, but I haven't been able to apply for this yet as I've been waiting over 3 months to receive the final contract from my employer in Canada. My common-law partner and I have been looking for housing, but we are unsure whether we should book anything because we don't know if we will be allowed to enter Canada if we haven't received the work permit before we leave the UK, or whether we will have to leave and re-enter Canada once we receive the work permit. Any advice on this would be much appreciated!

I'm also wondering if anyone has any experience on how long it takes to get an LMIA-exempt work permit? I'm getting pretty worried as my contract is supposed to start in 8 weeks and it says on the Canadian immigration website that work permit processing times are 12 weeks!

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old Dec 4th 2021, 6:27 pm
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Default Re: Entering Canada before LMIA-exempt work permit is received

You can enter as visitors, but you can't get the work permit from inside Canada, you'd need to go to a POE and get it there. But you'd need to be very careful about entering Canada if you hope to stay, if an immigration officer thinks you're not genuine visitors then you could be refused entry - so ask yourself how you'd prove you'd only be visiting if asked i.e. don't take all your worldly possessions, make sure you have proof you'll return (to a job or flat etc), have a return ticket, etc, etc.

12 weeks sounds about right, it's usually 8-10 weeks but with Covid there is bound to be a bit of a backlog. Christmas won't help either as they'll shut down for that, so if you were to apply now it could be a tad longer.

But if the delay has been on the part of your potential employer, then I don't see how they could complain if you can't start on time! Have they submitted the employment offer via the Employer Portal?
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Old Dec 5th 2021, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: Entering Canada before LMIA-exempt work permit is received

Thanks so much for all this information - this is really helpful to know.

I don't know if HR have submitted the employment offer via the portal. They've given me very little information. They probably won't complain if the contract has to be delayed but I guess the longer it's delayed, the more time I'll go unpaid and the longer we can't organise anything like housing, travel etc. It's been over 3 months since I accepted the job so I don't know what's taking so long for them to send me the contract!

Thanks again for your help, much appreciated.
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