Canadian Immigration News

What to Do Losing Your Job During Covid-19 as a Foreign National

4 minute read
"The coronavirus pandemic has rattled the whole world for almost a year now. It has affected countless lives all over the world and in Canada. It has forced many countries to put in travel restrictions and change their immigration and visa rules to control the spread of the disease. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the economy and caused many local businesses to partially or fully shut down. This has made foreign nationals in Canada vulnerable to losing their jobs and their legal status in the country. Foreign workers and international students who come to Canada to work and study are worried about their futures."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Apr 27, 2021
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The coronavirus pandemic has rattled the whole world for almost a year now. It has affected countless lives all over the world and in Canada. It has forced many countries to put in travel restrictions and change their immigration and visa rules to control the spread of the disease. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the economy and caused many local businesses to partially or fully shut down. 

This has made foreign nationals in Canada vulnerable to losing their jobs and their legal status in the country. Foreign workers and international students who come to Canada to work and study are worried about their futures. 

A vast proportion of the Canadian workforce is made up of foreign nationals. They have been affected by the spread of coronavirus and are worried that losing their jobs will affect their Canadian immigration applications. 

However, it is time to act quickly and intelligently. There are ways to stay in Canada even after losing your job. 

Based on the validity of your current status as a temporary worker, student or visitor, you can apply for a visa extension, change your status or apply for a new permit. You need to identify your situation and act accordingly to maintain your legal status during these turbulent times.

Step 1: Understanding Your Work Permit

The first step is to identify the kind of work permit you hold. If you have a closed work permit, also known as an employer-specific work permit, you can stay in Canada until your work permit expires even if you lose your job.

However, you can not work for any other employer. If you wish to work for a different employer, you’ll have to apply for an open work permit

You can also apply for temporary resident status as a visitor or student provided you meet the conditions and apply before your current work permit expires. 

If you have an open work permit, you must know what type of open work permit is renewable. If you have an open work permit, you can apply for a renewal and stay in Canada on implied status until a decision is made. If your renewal application is approved, you can continue to work or look for a new job.

Step 2: Understanding and Complying with the Law

As an immigrant, you must understand and comply with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IPRA), also called the Canadian immigration laws and regulations. 

According to the IPRA, foreign nationals are not authorized to continue working once their status has expired. Therefore, it is important to know your options and apply beforehand to avoid noncompliance.

Closed work permit holders can continue living in the country provided they do not work after their work permit expires. On the other hand, open work permit holders must apply for a renewal and change their status while their current permit is valid. 

If it expires while their application is under process, they can live in Canada under implied status until a decision is made. If the application is refused, then the applicant has 90 days to apply for restoration or leave the country. 

Step 3: Understanding Your Options

If you have lost your job due to the pandemic, you have the following options:

  • Apply for an extension
  • Apply for a new work permit
  • Change your status to student or visitor

The important thing is to act while your work permit is still valid. Applicants also have the option of leaving Canada and applying for restoration of status within 90 days of the expiration of their original work permit. However, it is not a feasible option due to the ongoing pandemic.

Step 4: Understand Your Immigration Application

If you have applied for permanent residency in Canada as a sponsored spouse, you have the option of applying for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP).

A BOWP allows applicants to continue working while waiting for a decision on their permanent residency applications. 

What About International Students Working Off-Campus?

Canada allows international students to work on-campus and on-campus for 20 hours per week during the academic season and 40 hours per week during scheduled breaks. 

International students do not require a separate work permit to work during their study programs. However, due to the pandemic, it has become quite difficult for international students to support themselves as many faced cuts in work hours or layoffs. 

To assist students working in essential services, Canada has temporarily removed the restrictions of working only 20 hours per week during the academic season. Therefore, international students providing essential services to combat Covid-19 can work for more than 20 hours per week on their study permits.

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