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Federal Update: Details now available for critically needed work permit extensions


In response to the advocacy efforts of Restaurants Canada and industry allies, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has released urgently needed details on new measures for foreign nationals with expired or expiring post-graduation work permits and applicants to the temporary resident to permanent resident (TR to PR) pathways program.

This represents an important step in the right direction for restaurant operators struggling with unprecedented labour shortages, as these new measures will allow previous staff and potential new hires with expired work permits to rejoin the workforce.

The federal government initially announced in April that expired or expiring work permit holders would be granted an 18-month extension, and stated applications would open mid-June, but no further details were released. Since then, many former international students had to quit their jobs while waiting for details on how to extend their expired post-graduation work permits.

The following details, published this week on the IRCC website, provide a long-awaited solution to this problem, building on the federal government’s commitment from earlier this year:

  • Foreign nationals whose post-graduation work permit expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, will have the opportunity to work in Canada for an additional 18 months by either extending their work permit or applying for a new one. Those currently in Canada will also have the ability to work in the interim period while their permit is being extended or a new one is being issued. (Note: Foreign nationals may not apply for this work permit at a port of entry. All work permit applications for this public policy must be submitted online by December 31, 2022.)
    • Starting August 8, 2022, individuals with post-graduation work permits that have expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, will receive an email indicating that they are allowed to work in the interim. Recipients can attach this email to their post-graduation work permit to show an employer they are authorized to work temporarily in Canada. This one-time measure is intended to ensure that those eligible for the additional 18-month work period can remain working or can return to the workforce while they apply for a new work permit. This interim work period will be in effect until May 31, 2023. (Note: This email notice only allows the individual to work, it does not restore legal temporary resident status if the person’s status has expired. It is intended to ensure those with expired and expiring post-graduation work permits can work while they wait for an updated or new open work permit. If an individual is out of status, they must apply to restore their status at the same time that they apply for a new work permit. Eligible applicants may apply for restoration even if it has been more than 90 days since their status expired.)
  • Applicants who are part of the TR to PR pathways program, and whose permanent residence application has not yet been finalized, are eligible to apply for an open work permit. This ensures they won’t lose their status or ability to work while they wait for their permanent residence application to be finalized. Recognizing that the processing of TR to PR applications will continue for some time, those applying for an open work permit can now receive one with an end-date of December 31, 2024, provided their passport is valid through that date.

Restaurants Canada looks forward to continuing our work with the federal government toward further policy changes still needed to help address ongoing foodservice labour shortages.