On October 20, 2020 the Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) implemented important changes to the way work permit extensions are processed, in order to allow temporary residents who are remaining in Canada on implied status to access benefits and services while they await a formal decision.

When a temporary resident in Canada (a visitor, student, or foreign worker) applies for an extension of their permit, they can legally remain in Canada until a decision is made on their application. From the moment they submit their extension application, provided they have done so prior to the official expiry date on their document, the person has implied status until IRCC makes a decision regardless of how long it takes. As long as temporary residents remain in Canada, implied status allows them to continue working or studying based on the conditions of their original document.

Implied status not only allows temporary residents to remain and work in Canada, but it provides them with continued access to government benefits and services, and other privileges that attach to residence. Access to these, however, can sometimes be difficult without an official document to prove status. For this reason, IRCC has changed the wording of their communication to applicants to provide more clarity. Starting October 20, when a temporary worker applies for an extension of their permit through the IRCC portal, they will automatically receive an Acknowledgment of Receipt letter from the IRCC confirming that their existing authority to work has been extended to a specific date. That letter can be attached to their expired work permit as proof of their continued legal status and authority to work.

It is important to remember, however, that this is only available to temporary residents who apply before expiry of their status; and is valid only for as long as they remain physically in Canada during the implied status period.

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