Wed | Jul 8, 2020

Immigration Corner | Can I continue to work after my permit expires?

Published:Tuesday | June 2, 2020 | 12:08 AM
Deidre S. Powell
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Mrs Powell,

I look forward to your articles every week. I have been working in Canada for the past two years and my work permit expires in a few days. I’m worried that because of the coronavirus, I may not get a chance to put in the application. Can I continue to work with my employer? I don’t want to break any rules, so tell what to do quickly. If I can work, where can I get a document to show my employer that I can continue to work until the papers are approved? Also, can I take a quick weekend trip to Jamaica once it opens up to just get a little break? Will I have problems coming back? Thank you for all your help.

– K.A.

Dear K.A.,

The general rule is that you should apply for a renewal of your work permit before it expires. In fact, it is recommended that you apply at least 30 days in advance. If you apply for a work permit extension or renewal before your work permit expires, you can continue working until a final decision is made on your application.

You are required to remain in Canada and ensure that you can still meet the conditions of your original work permit. This means that if you had a work permit, then you may continue to work under what is known as implied status.


A temporary resident, including a foreign worker, visitor or student, is legally entitled to remain in Canada until a final decision is made on the application, if the application was submitted for extension before that status expired. The person is therefore deemed to have implied status to remain and authorised to carry on the activities he was authorised to do under the permit previously granted.

When you have implied ­status, you must meet the ­conditions of your original work permit. For instance, if you have an ­employer-specific work ­permit, you must still work for the employer named on that permit. If you have an open work permit, you do not need to wait until your new permit is delivered to start working for a new employer.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will not provide you with a confirmation that you have implied status, except a confirmation of receipt of your application. You are expected to keep the proof that you submitted the application, such as the confirmation letter, copies of the application, and receipt for the payment of fees. You may need proof that you submitted the application before the expiry of your work permit. If your application is submitted online, you will get a confirmation within minutes. If you submitted your application via post or courier, you should print the confirmation of delivery for your records.

Bearing the above in mind, you must finalise your application online, before the expiry date, to limit the complications of applying for restoration of status and to ensure that you can continue to legally work in Canada.

As for ‘a quick trip’ to Jamaica, I know the desire to take a break, especially after the COVID-19 restrictions. However, you should not travel without your new ­permit, even if you still have a valid visitor’s visa. The restrictions on who can enter or leave a country are subject to change without notice.

I hope that you find this helpful. Should you or your employer require additional information, or help finalising the application in a timely manner, contact an immigration lawyer immediately. Most of us are available via telephone, Zoom, Skype and other online applications.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada Bar. Her office is located in Ottawa, Ontario. Email: Sign up on her website to find out if you are eligible for any immigration programme. Call 613.695.8777 or contact her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.