Work Permit Questions
I am a British citizen who is married with a Canadian citizen. I am living in Canada now on an extended visit visa. I have applied for my residency through Family Class. My application went in on 1 March 2004. I have checked the immigration web site and found that there is a delay on all applications. I have been in Canada now since Oct 2003 and I am getting desperate to work. I am qualified in the IT field and I am also working on my degree in Computing and Information Technology. There are jobs out there for me but I have to say that I am not legally able to work in Canada at the time of applying for the job. This puts me at a disadvantage.
Can I get a Work Permit while I am waiting for my Residency papers to be completed?
I know you must get a lot of e-mails like this but I hope you can advise me soon.
Thanks for your email. I contacted Kyle C. Hyndman, B.A., LL.B. from Mccrea and Associates, Canadian Immigration and Citizenship Lawyers directly, in order to answer your query. Here are his comments directly:
People who have applied for permanent residence in the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada class have a couple of options open to them.
Applications in this class are processed in stages. The first major decision to be made, which is the First Stage Approval (often known as "approval in principle"), currently happens after about five months in routine cases. If you receive approval in principle for your application, you are then eligible to apply for an open work permit which will allow you to work for most employers in Canada while you await final approval of your application for permanent residence (which could take a further six months or more, depending on where you live). However, this work permit is not issued automatically - you still have to apply for it, which takes another six weeks or so. This work permit application must be done inside Canada through the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.
A second option is to apply for a work permit completely separately from the permanent residence process. Qualifying for a work permit on your own will depend on your own background such as education and work experience, and you would need a job offer in your field before applying. There are special programs that provide streamlined processing for some types of applicants including some IT workers. Generally, such an application would have to be made outside of Canada at a Canadian visa office. However, if you leave Canada while your application for permanent residence is being processed, there is no guarantee that you will be readmitted to Canada. Furthermore, any work permit you are issued in this manner will normally be limited to one employer, one position and one location.
It is important to remember that everybody's situation is different. This is general information only and I strongly recommend that if you have immigration questions, you consult an immigration lawyer for advice."
McCrea & Associates is a full-service immigration law firm, providing advice and assistance with work permits, study permits, visas, permanent residence and all other aspects of immigration and citizenship law. Please visit their website at mccrealaw.ca for more information.