Work Permit Complications-Canada

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  • Some members of the BE forum have run into complications while they've been in Canada on temporary work permits (TWPs).

  • The purpose of this article is to assist readers who run into problems with their TWPs.

Losing your job

  • If you lose your job while you're in Canada on a TWP, you're in an awkward position.

  • This is something that has happened to some BE forum members.

  • The good news is that you can continue to live in Canada for the full term for which your TWP was issued.

  • However, if you no longer are working for the employer who was specified in your TWP and if you leave Canada, you will not be allowed to re-enter as a foreign worker. You may still be admitted as a visitor, though, if you are a citizen of a visa waiver country, e.g., the UK, or if you have a valid temporary residence visa (TRV).

  • If your spouse or common-law partner received a spousal open work permit (SOWP) on the basis of your TWP, his/her SOWP remains valid for the original term of your TWP.

  • However, if your TWP tied you to a single employer, and if you have lost the job that you had through that employer, you are not permitted to work for any other employer.

  • You may, however, search for another job.

  • If you find another job and if the prospective employer is successful in obtaining a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), you may apply for another temporary work permit.

  • Whether or not you will need to leave and re-enter Canada in order to activate your new TWP depends on where you applied. If you are an eligible holder of a valid work permit and you file an Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada with Vegreville, you will receive a new work permit from Vegreville. In that case, you will not need to do a trip around the flagpole.

  • If, however, you apply to a Canadian visa post outside of Canada, you will need to leave and re-enter Canada. The reason is that Canadian visa posts in foreign countries do not issue work permts. They only issue approval letters. In those cases, the work permits themselves are issued at the ports of entry. Your "trip around the flagpole" can be very brief if you wish, literally an hour or so.

Resigning from your job

  • If you are unhappy with your employment or with the region of Canada in which you're working on a TWP, you may resign from your job, look for another job, go through the LMO / TWP application process again, do a trip around the flagpole, and start working again under the terms of your new TWP.

  • This strategy is not without its risks, however.

  • Once you have resigned from your job, you may continue to live in Canada for the term of your TWP. But, if the TWP tied you to a single employer, as usually is the case, you may not work for another employer until you have obtained a new TWP.

Applying for new TWP while employed

  • If you have a TWP that ties you to one employer, you may look for another job and ask another prospective employer to apply for an LMO if he/she is willing to do so.

  • As long as a decision has not yet been made with respect to your Application to Change Conditions, you may still work for your original employer, under the conditions of your original TWP.

  • Once CPC Vegreville has made a decision and printed a new TWP, you no longer are allowed to work for your old employer.

  • This is where things get tricky.

  • There is a delay between the time that Vegreville prints the new TWP and the time that you receive it. The delay may last for days or weeks.

  • If you continue to work for your old employer after the new TWP has been printed, you are breaking the conditions of the new TWP.

  • But how are you supposed to know that a new TWP has been printed if you have not yet received it?

  • It is recommended that you check Citizenship and Immigration Canada's website every day to monitor Vegreville's processing times.

  • Take note of the dates of the applications they currently are processing, and resign from your old job when it looks to you as if they are getting close to processing applications with the same date as yours.

  • This strategy is not bulletproof, however.

Term of new TWP

  • When you get a new TWP, you start with a clean slate.

  • The length of time for which your original TWP had been issued, and the length of time for which you had worked under the terms of your original TWP, have nothing to do with the length of time for which your new TWP will be issued.

  • Citizenship and Immigration will issue a new TWP for a length of time that they deem is appropriate for the job.

Unscrupulous employers

  • Early in 2008, there were a number of reports on the BE forum of Calgary, Alberta construction companies that recruited foreign workers and offered them jobs that enabled the workers to get work permits.

  • However, when the construction business got a bit slack during the winter of 2007-2008, these companies laid off these foreign workers who were in Canada on work permits.

  • The workers then were back at square one, looking for employment, trying to find employers who would apply for Labour Market Opinions, and trying to get new work permits.

  • Without new work permits, they of course were not allowed to work for anyone else.

  • During the same period, early 2008, there were reports of a construction company in Kelowna, British Columbia that did not live up to the commitments it had made to foreign workers during the recruitment phase. At the time that the workers actually started their jobs, the company arbitrarily changed its contracts with its foreign workers. Some of the foreign workers found working conditions so unacceptable that they resigned. One worker was reported to have moved to another part of Canada, at his own expense, and got a work permit there. Another worker was reported to have moved back to his home country, again at his own expense (and after having spent a great deal of money to get his family members and himself to Canada in the first place).

  • Unfortunately for a foreign worker, a Canadian employer is not obliged to retain a foreign worker for whom that employer has obtained the Labour Market Opinion that permits the foreign worker to apply for a temporary work permit.

Children of work permit holders

  • Another thing to remember about TWPs is that children of work permit holders are not permitted to work in Canada.

  • This has been problematic for some expat families who have had teenagers who have wanted to work and who have not been allowed to do so.

Real Life Story

For a real life account of someone who was fired from his job while he was on a temporary work permit (TWP) and who found another job and secured another TWP, see the forum discussion thread entitled New work permit - my story.

The original post in that thread contains some very useful tips and cautionary notes.