Posted on - Apr 10, 2018

By Victor Ing

Victor Ing

As with most things in life, the success of your immigration case will often come down to timing. Having a basic understanding of the immigration application process and how long you can expect to wait to be approved can often be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful outcome because most immigration strategies will require sufficient time to successfully execute. By obtaining advice and becoming familiar with these application processes, program requirements and estimated processing time frames, you will be the master of your own immigration destiny.

If you are already living and working in Canada it can be very easy to overlook the looming expiry date of your work permit. This is particularly true if you have come to Canada with a work permit granted under the International Experience Class or some other type of open work permit because the requirements to remain working in Canada will often be drastically different than when you first applied. Failing to start the extension process early can result in difficulties such as having your SIN card renewed or ensuring continuous provincial medical coverage and, at worst, losing valid immigration status and being asked to leave Canada.

If you want to continue working in Canada past the expiry of your current permit, you should give yourself at least six (6) months’ time (and more if possible) to ensure that you have the appropriate job offer in place and to obtain any applicable supporting documents such as medical examinations or language testing results. It is a common misconception that you can remain working in Canada if your current employer makes you a “job offer” for a permanent, full-time position. A verbal or written offer of employment is only the starting point and does not, on its own, allow you to keep working in Canada.

Extending your stay in Canada as a worker is usually a two-step process. In most cases, the first step is for your employer to obtain formal permission through the local Provincial Nominee Program (“PNP”) or federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”) processes to continue hiring you after the expiry of your current work permit. These processes can take up to six months or more to complete. At the second stage, you will need to apply to Immigration Refugees, and Citizenship Canada for a new work permit with the permission obtained by your employer, which can take the form of a Provincial Nomination Certificate, positive Labour Market Impact Assessment decision or approval under the Global Talents Stream of the TFWP, for instance.

Alternatively, if your current work permit is set to expire soon, you may also qualify or soon be qualified to apply for Canadian permanent residence as an economic immigrant. You should become familiar with the requirements to be selected for permanent residence and may benefit from professional advice if you wish to stay in Canada on a permanent basis. If you are qualified and have filed an application for permanent residence you will be able to extend your stay in Canada by applying for a “Bridging Open Work Permit”, which is intended to keep you working until your application for permanent residence is approved.

One of the most important pieces of advice we give clients at my Vancouver immigration lawyer office is to take responsibility for your own immigration case, even when you have hired representation by a lawyer or immigration consultant. We often hear horror stories about clients who are asked to sign blank forms and are simply given assurances that their immigration matters will be taken care of by someone else. You should always understand what you have applied for during your Canadian immigration process and what to expect during processing. Moreover, you should always feel comfortable asking your representative any questions you may have about the process and make sure you have a copy of any materials submitted on your behalf.

Extending your stay in Canada can be an intimidating process, but starting the process early and taking responsibility for your case will reduce the stress around maintaining your legal immigration status and will let you control your immigration destiny.

Victor Ing is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada, and provides a full range of immigration services.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Victor Ing or call him at 1-604-689-5444.

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