Canda Visitor Visa to Work Visa: In an effort to address acute labor shortages, Canada has introduced a new temporary policy allowing visitors in the country to switch their status and obtain work permits without leaving Canadian soil.
The policy, effective until February 28, 2025, aims to create a new channel for employers to tap into global talent and fill vacancies as the economy expands.
Citizens of any nationality currently in Canada on a valid visitor visa can now search for employment opportunities and apply for an employer-specific work permit once a job offer is in hand.
The key advantage is that applicants can complete the entire process within Canada, rather than having to exit and re-enter to activate a new work status. This provides substantial time and cost savings for migrant workers.
To be eligible, applicants need a job offer from a Canadian employer who has obtained a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada.
The LMIA process evaluates whether hiring a foreign worker will have neutral or positive effects on the domestic labor market.
Obtaining an LMIA-approved job offer is a critical step for visitor visa holders hoping to segue into the Canadian workforce. Only jobs validated through the LMIA route will enable switching status and securing a work permit under the new policy.
The visitor visa route essentially acts as a Plan B for those who entered Canada with tourist or family visit intents but now wish to access employment and prolonged stays.
Market surveys reveal widespread workforce shortages across sectors like healthcare, construction, hospitality and IT in major provinces. The visitor visa pathway allows Canadian employers to fill vacant roles quickly via readily available talent pools of foreigners already within the country.
For migrant workers, it bypasses the need to separately apply for Canadian work authorization from abroad before arriving. The easing of traditional visa sequences can make Canada’s labor migration system more nimble and demand-responsive.
However, industry observers caution that the policy still requires concrete job offers and is not an uncontrolled backdoor for working illegally. Relative ease of switching status does not guarantee employment. Job searches may still be competitive and landing roles cannot be taken for granted.
The visitor visa switch option will likely boost Canada’s attractiveness as a work destination and mobility hub. But chasing the Canadian dream will rest ultimately on securing that coveted job offer.