Foreign nationals selected by Quebec under its Regular Skilled Worker Program and its Quebec Experience Program who currently reside in the province may be able to have their work permits extended without needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
If you are working in Quebec and holding a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), you need to have a valid work permit while you are waiting on a decision for your immigration application.
When it comes time to renew your work permit, the next steps vary depending on whether you have submitted your permanent residence application. If you have applied for permanent residency, the type of work permit you apply for will depend on whether you have received an acknowledgment of receipt (AOR) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
If you have the AOR, you may apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit. On the other hand, if you have applied and have not received an AOR or if you have not applied for PR yet, you can apply for a CSQ-based LMIA-exempt, employer-specific work permit. That’s a mouthful, but we’ll explain.
As the name suggests, LMIA-exempt work permits mean that employers of foreign workers do not need an LMIA, which are required for Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) work permits. LMIAs are intended to prove to the Canadian government that a foreign employee is not displacing a Canadian worker.
LMIA-exempt work permits fall under the International Mobility Program (IMP), which exists to support Canada’s broad social, economic, and cultural interests. IMP work permits do not require an LMIA nor a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) to achieve these goals.
Employer-specific work permits, also called closed work permits, are tied to an employer. They are the opposite of open work permits, which allow holders to work anywhere in Canada.
Who is eligible for a CSQ-based closed work permit?
Foreign nationals are eligible for this LMIA-exempt work permit, provided they have a job offer in Quebec and can be described as one of the following:
- a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holder;
- a study permit holder with a co-op work permit;
- a work permit holder in one of the following categories under the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, International Co-op (Internship); or
- a closed work permit holder.
In order to take advantage of the LMIA-exempt work permit, your CSQ must be within the 24-month validity period, or you must have applied for PR before it ended.
Since August 2, 2018, Quebec no longer renews CSQs, as they are valid for the entire duration of the PR application, even if the 24-month period has passed. This is why you can technically apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit after your CSQ expired as long as you had already applied for permanent residency.
It is not possible to apply for this work permit at a port of entry. It is specifically meant for people who are already working in Quebec. You must have a valid work permit, or be eligible for restoration.
Your CSQ must fall under the Quebec skilled worker class and must indicate one of the following codes in section 9, Catégorie:
- IQ – Travailleurs qualifiés
- IP – Travailleurs
- IT – Travailleurs qualifiés
- IZ – PEQ Travailleurs
- IY – PEQ Étudiants
- I6 – Travailleurs Art. 40
- IU – Préposé aux bénéficiaires – Volet travailleur étranger
- IR – Préposé aux beneficiaries – Volet diplômé du QC
- IX – Travailleur – Transformation alimentaire
- IV – Intelligence artificielle – Volet travailleur étranger
- IW – Intelligence artificielle – Volet diplômé du QC
- IS – Travailleur – TI – Effets visuels
Also, your employer will have to pay a compliance fee and submit an offer of employment to IRCC. Otherwise, your application will be refused.
Who is not eligible?
The following foreign nationals are not eligible for a CSQ-based closed work permit:
- applicants applying for a work permit at a port of entry, as they must be physically in Canada as a temporary resident to be eligible;
- applicants for open work permits, including spouses or common-law partners;
- entrepreneurs and self-employed applicants as they may be eligible for a different LMIA-exempt work permit to operate their business; and
- applicants with an offer of employment that has a different occupation than what is specified in their CSQ.
Interim authorizations to work
On August 24, 2020, IRCC implemented a temporary public policy to allow eligible visitor visa holders permit with job offers in Canada to apply for a work permit from within the country.
Visitors in Canada can apply for a work permit and request interim authorization to work if they held a valid work permit in the last 12 months.
In order to be eligible, a foreign national must:
- be in Canada;
- have submitted an employer-specific work permit application using the Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker [IMM 5710];
- have stayed in Canada with status since submitting the application;
- submit the application before February 28, 2023.
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