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Step-by-Step: How to Turn Your Canadian Visitor Visa into a Work Permit


If you are currently in Canada on a visitor visa and looking to work, you may be wondering what your options are for staying in the country and getting a job. While it can be a complicated process, turning your Canadian visitor visa into a work permit is possible, allowing you to stay and work legally. This blog post will provide an in-depth, step-by-step guide to help you turn your visitor visa into a work permit.

Step 1: Apply for a Visitor Visa (TRV)

The first step to converting a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada is to become a Canadian visitor. This means that you will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), which allows you to enter Canada for a temporary period as a tourist, student, or worker. The TRV is required for citizens of certain countries, so be sure to check if you need one before you apply.

To apply for a TRV, you will need to pay a $100 CAD application fee and an $85 CAD biometrics charge. Additionally, if you want to extend your visa or regain tourist status after your visit, there is a $100 CAD fee and a $200 CAD fee, respectively. You will also need to provide proof that you intend to leave Canada after your visit, have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay, are in good health, have no criminal record, and can provide supporting documents as required.

The processing time for a TRV application is usually 16-20 days, but it can take up to 135 days in some cases. To apply, you can choose to do so online or in person at a Canadian visa application center. You will need to complete a visa application form, make a certified check or bank draft payment, and provide your passport, photos, and other required documents. You will also need to provide your fingerprints and photograph (biometrics) and submit your application form. You can track your application online to see its progress.

Once you have obtained your TRV and have entered Canada, you can start looking for a job and applying for a work permit. Remember that you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements to convert your visitor visa to a work permit.

Step 2: Getting a Job Offer and an LMIA

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to converting a Canadian visitor visa into a work permit is finding a job offer. It’s important to thoroughly research and explore all possible job opportunities to increase your chances of finding a job that aligns with your skills and experience.

Some of the popular job search platforms that you can use to find a job in Canada include LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and the employer’s website. You can also reach out to your professional network, friends or relatives living in Canada or attend career fairs to expand your job search options.

However, getting a job offer is not enough for a work permit. The employer must also provide a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is a document that verifies that there is no Canadian worker who can perform the job. The LMIA process is quite stringent and can be challenging, which is why it’s crucial to explore alternatives to increase your chances of getting a work permit while on a visitor visa.

If you possess exceptional skills that are in demand, you may have a higher chance of securing a work permit. You can also increase your chances by reaching out to your contacts in Canada and asking for help with your job search. You can also hire an immigration consultant who specializes in job searching and can assist in securing a job offer.

If you are applying for a work permit in Canada without an LMIA, you can do so through certain immigration programs such as the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class, where the applicant’s spouse or common-law partner has a study permit, work permit, or is waiting for permanent residency. Alternatively, you can apply through the International Mobility Program if you fall under certain categories, such as NAFTA professionals, intra-company transferees, and international experience Canada (IEC) participants.

Overall, getting a job offer and an LMIA can be a challenge, but with the right approach, thorough research, and assistance from experts, you can improve your chances of turning your Canadian visitor visa into a work permit.

Step 3: Converting Visitor Visa to Work Permit in Canada

If you are a foreign national currently in Canada on a visitor visa and have received a valid job offer, you have the opportunity to convert your visitor visa into a work permit without having to leave the country. 

This process is known as Flagpoling, the term given to when a person already in Canada leaves and returns without crossing into the USA in order to activate a new permanent resident status, be granted a renewed study or work permit, or a change of status, for example from visitor to work permit holder.

By Flagpoling, individuals can avoid the need to travel back to their home country. They can transition smoothly from being a visitor to a temporary worker in Canada. However, it’s important to note that the Flagpoling process can be time-consuming and may require some planning. Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and meet the eligibility requirements for the work permit.

Converting your visitor visa to a work permit in Canada through the Flagpoling process can provide a convenient and efficient way to transition from visitor status to a temporary worker. Following the proper steps and meeting the requirements can make this process as smooth as possible and continue your career journey in Canada.

Step 4: Interim Authorization to Work

Once you have successfully applied for a work permit in Canada under visitor status, you may be eager to start working right away. However, it’s important to note that the process of receiving a work permit can take up to 132 days. This can be a significant waiting period, especially if you have already secured a job offer.

There is a solution called the Interim Authorization to Work to bridge this gap. This allows individuals with an employer-specific job offer to start working immediately while they await their official work permit.

Understanding that the Interim Authorization to Work is not automatic is crucial. To obtain it, you will need to fill out the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) web form available on the official website. This form will require you to provide details about your job offer, including the employer’s contact information and your specific duties.

Once you have submitted the form, you will need to wait for IRCC to contact you. It’s important to note that this waiting period can take up to 30 business days, which equates to approximately six weeks.

During this waiting period, it’s advisable to stay in contact with your employer to keep them informed about the progress of your application. Once you receive your Interim Authorization to Work, you will be able to legally begin working in Canada until your official work permit is issued.

If you have any questions or need assistance with converting your visitor visa to a work permit in Canada, don’t hesitate to reach out to Visa Immigration. Our team of experts is well-versed in Canadian immigration laws and processes and can provide you with the guidance and support you need. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us help you make your dream of working in Canada a reality.