Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Immigration Corner | Can I apply for a work permit?

Published:Tuesday | July 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I have a visitor's visa, and a friend of mine needs help on his farm. My mother lives there, too. I plan to visit my mother next month and just apply for a work permit while I am there, but I am worried that I could lose my visitor's visa if I apply for the work permit. Would I be able to visit Jamaica on a work permit only?

- F.E.

Dear F.E,

A visitor's visa, also known as a temporary resident visa, grants you authority to visit Canada and stay for up to six months, and this does not authorise you to work. You will be required to submit an application to change conditions and apply for a work permit as well. A work permit is not a visa and does not give you a right to travel to and from Canada.

The temporary resident visa is the document that grants you the right to travel to and from Canada. This is the sticker that is placed in your passport that shows that you have met the requirements to be able to travel to Canada for a short period of time. This visa may be a single entry or multiple entries. If you have a single-entry temporary-resident visa, this visa will no longer be valid upon your return to Jamaica. However, you will need to reapply or apply for an extension of the temporary-resident visa when it expires. You may use a single-entry visa to be able to enter Canada and apply to change conditions or extend your stay in Canada as a worker.

If you apply for a work permit under the farm worker programme or through your friend, you will not automatically lose your temporary resident visa unless Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada finds a reason to revoke or withdraw your visa. A work permit grants you the right to work in Canada and grants you certain rights and benefits. It also affords you protection under the employment laws. Farm workers have certain special rights in Canada, and you should familiarise yourself with these rules before you apply.

You should check with your employer to ensure that he is authorised to hire international workers. The approval that he should present you is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If he has a positive LMIA, this means that he has not been able to find a Canadian worker to do the required job. This is also known as a confirmation letter to hire international workers.

You may apply for the work permit either before you arrive or upon landing here in Canada. You cannot start working until the work permit has been granted. Your employer will be required to provide you with a job offer, a contract, a copy of the LMIA and the LMIA number so that you may submit this with your application for work permit.

- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada Bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: Subject line: Immigration Call 876.922.4092/ 613.695.8777