Visitor Visa to a Work Permit in Canada

Visitor Visa Application and Transitioning to a Work Permit in Canada

Canada, with its stunning landscapes, multicultural cities, and welcoming environment, attracts millions of visitors each year. Many who come as tourists fall in love with the country and wish to extend their stay or even transition to a more permanent status, such as obtaining a work permit. Understanding the process of visitor visa to a Work Permit in Canada can be complicated. Here we will go over the process and the steps required to switch from a visitor visa to a work permit. Let’s us break it down for you.

Understanding the Visitor Visa Application

A Canadian visitor visa, also known as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), allows individuals from visa-required countries to enter Canada for tourism, visiting family and friends, or attending business meetings. Here’s a detailed look at the application process and requirements:

Eligibility and Requirements:

  1. Purpose of Visit: Applicants must clearly state the purpose of their visit. Whether it’s for tourism, visiting relatives, or business, the reason must be genuine and well-documented.
  2. Proof of Financial Support: Demonstrating sufficient funds to cover travel, accommodation, and other expenses during the stay is crucial. Bank statements, employment letters, and financial support letters from sponsors can serve as proof.
  3. Ties to Home Country: Applicants must provide evidence of strong ties to their home country, such as employment, family, or property, to assure immigration officers that they will return after their visit.
  4. Invitation Letter: If visiting family or friends, an invitation letter from the host in Canada, including their status and address, can strengthen the application.
  5. Travel History: A record of previous travel, especially to countries with stringent entry requirements, can positively influence the application.
  6. Valid Passport: The passport must be valid for the duration of the stay and preferably for several months beyond the planned return date.
  7. Medical Exam and Police Certificates: Depending on the country of origin, some applicants might need to undergo a medical exam or provide police certificates.

Application Process:

  1. Online Application: The majority of applications are now processed online. You will need to create an account on the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) website, fill out the necessary forms, and upload required documents.
  2. Biometrics: Most applicants are required to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo). This can be done at designated Visa Application Centres (VACs) worldwide. This is done after you have submitted your visitor visa application.
  3. Application Fee: Paying the non-refundable processing fee is mandatory. Ensure that the payment is made through the accepted methods as specified on the IRCC website.
  4. Processing Time: Processing times vary by country and application volume. Checking the current processing times on the IRCC website can help manage expectations.
  5. Decision and Passport Submission: If approved, you will be asked to send your passport to the nearest VAC for the visa to be stamped. In the case of refusal, the reasons will be communicated in writing.

Transitioning from a Visitor Visa to a Work Permit

For those already in Canada on a visitor visa, transitioning to a work permit involves a different set of procedures and requirements. While this transition is not straightforward and often requires leaving and re-entering Canada, there are specific pathways available.

Eligibility for Transition:

  1. Job Offer: Securing a valid job offer from a Canadian employer is the first critical step. The job must be full-time, non-seasonal, and meet the standards set by the IRCC.
  2. Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA): Most employers need to obtain an LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This document demonstrates that no Canadian worker is available to fill the position, hence the need for a foreign worker. There are some work permits that are LMIA exempt such as Intra company transfer or youth mobility work permits.
  3. Eligibility to Apply for a Work Permit Inside Canada: Certain individuals may apply for a work permit from within Canada if they:
    • Are currently in Canada and have a valid study or work permit, or their spouse or parents have a study or work permit.
    • Are a graduate from a program at a designated learning institution and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
    • Hold a temporary resident permit valid for six months or more.
    • Have applied for permanent residence from inside Canada.
    • Are a family member of a person who has applied for permanent residence.
    • Are a protected person or a refugee claimant.
    • Are under an unenforceable removal order.
    • Are a trader, investor, intra-company transferee, or professional under NAFTA.

Application Process:

  1. Gather Required Documents: This includes a job offer letter, LMIA (if applicable), proof of status in Canada, passport, and other supporting documents.
  2. Online Application: Submit the application for a work permit through the IRCC online portal. It’s crucial to ensure all forms are correctly filled out and that the necessary documents are uploaded.
  3. Application Fee: Pay the relevant fees for the work permit application. This can be done online through the IRCC payment system.
  4. Biometrics and Medical Exam: If not already provided, applicants might need to submit biometrics and undergo a medical exam.
  5. Processing Time: Processing times can vary. Keeping track of the application status through the IRCC online account is recommended.
  6. Approval and Work Permit Issuance: Once approved, a work permit will be issued. This permit specifies the employer, occupation, and location of work.

Special Considerations:

  • Visitor Record: Those in Canada on a visitor visa may need to extend their stay through a visitor record while waiting for their work permit application to be processed.
  • Flagpoling: Some applicants opt for “flagpoling,” which involves crossing the border and re-entering Canada to activate their work permit. This method should be approached with caution and after thorough research or legal advice.

How can we Help?

Navigating the Canadian immigration system, from obtaining a visitor visa to transitioning to a work permit, requires careful planning and understanding of the processes involved. While the journey can be intricate, the potential rewards of living and working in Canada make the effort worthwhile.

By staying informed, gathering the necessary documentation, and possibly seeking professional assistance, applicants can increase their chances of a successful transition. Akrami & Associates Immigration Law Firm is dedicated to guiding clients through these processes with expertise and personalized support, ensuring that the dream of living and working in Canada becomes a reality.

Contact us today!


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