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  • Writer's pictureC&A Insights Team

Interim Work Authorization Policy Extended Until 2023

Updated: May 14

Valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) holders can still apply for their work permits without leaving the country as Canada extends the Interim Authorization to Work Policy until February 28, 2023. Normally, workers on a TRV cannot change their status without leaving Canada.


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Interim Work Authorization Policy Extended Until 2023

This policy not only allows valid TRV holders to apply for an employer-specific work permit within Canada but also allows visitors who wish to start working while waiting for their work permits.


Eligibility Criteria for Foreigners Applying for Employer-Specific Work Permits

Foreign nationals will be eligible for an employer-specific work permit application if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Currently in Canada

  2. Submitted an employer-specific work permit application through the Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker

  3. Stayed in Canada with valid status even after submitting the application

  4. Submit the application before February 28, 2023


COVID-19 Created New Challenges for TRV Holders Applying for Work Permits

Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) holders before the pandemic could not apply for a work permit from within Canada. They needed to submit an application to their country’s visa office while in Canada. When their work permit was approved, they needed to leave Canada and come back before it took effect. This practice is called flagpoling. Since the pandemic happened and governments from around the world needed to impose COVID-19 travel restrictions to control the surge, people could no longer flagpole. In August 2020, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) allowed TRV holders to submit their work permit applications within Canada. Even once the work permit is approved, they cannot start working until IRCC approves their work permit. They need to wait for about 132 days before IRCC approves their work permits.

IRCC Announced the Interim Authorization to Work Policy in August 2020

IRCC established the Interim Authorization to Work policy as a solution, so people don’t have to wait for these many days before working. This allows workers to start working immediately while waiting for the IRCC to approve their work permit applications. If they meet the criteria for eligibility, they can get the authorizations as quickly as possible. With the help of this newly established policy, IRCC hopes to address the labour shortage in Canada, especially now that there is a global pandemic and the long processing times for work permit applications within Canada. Those who held a valid work permit within the last 12 months are prioritized by IRCC to help them get back to the labour market faster. Note: If the applicants are eligible for interim authorization, it does not guarantee that their work permit applications will be approved.

Eligibility Criteria for Applying for Interim Authorization

Take note that an interim authorization is not automatically given to those who are working in Canada. If you are a foreigner or visitor who plans on applying for a work permit and have had a valid work permit within the last 12 months, you are eligible to work while waiting for your application to be processed. These are the eligibility criteria that you need to remember before applying for an interim authorization:

  1. When you apply, you must be physically present in Canada.

  2. Be a visitor with a valid status when you apply for a work permit.

  3. Check if your visitor status has expired. If it has, restore your visitor status before applying for a work permit.

  4. Apply for a work permit between August 24, 2020 and February 28, 2023.

  5. Have held a valid work permit that was valid in the last 12 months before you apply for a new one.


Two Steps to Get Interim Authorization

If you plan on getting an interim work authorization, follow these two steps: Step 1: Contact IRCC via Web Form After applying for a work permit, you must fill out the web form provided by IRCC. (Link: IRCC web form: Contact us online (cic.gc.ca)) When you reach the "Your Enquiry" section, copy or type the text: "Message to request interim authorization to work" Upon filling out the form, don’t forget to double-check if you have filled out the following square brackets:

  1. Dates

  2. The number of your work permit (which starts with U)

  3. The name of your employer

  4. The title of your job For paper-based applications, you use your courier tracking number instead of the application number. This will help IRCC find your application.


Step 2: Sit tight and wait for the IRCC to contact you. IRCC will contact you within 30 business days to let you know if you can start working.

Have questions about applying for interim work authorization?

Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) will be happy to assist you with contacting IRCC and applying for your work permit. You can book a consultation to get started with us.



A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.

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