Are you trying to enter Canada or are you already in Canada with temporary status? Do you need a visitor visa or a study permit or a work permit? Can you show a temporary intent?
Enter and remain – Citizens and landed PRs
The general rule is that only Canadian citizens, Canadian Permanent Residents and Registered Indians have the right to enter and remain in Canada. Canadian citizens and landed Canadian Permanent Residents can also work or study in Canada without requiring a permit and they have mobility rights under the Charter.
Enter or remain temporarily – Foreign Nationals
If you are not a Canadian citizen or a landed Canadian Permanent Resident and if you are a national of another country, Immigration laws in Canada generally categorize you as a Foreign national. If you are a Foreign National and you want to enter Canada, or if you have recently entered Canada and are grappling with COVID travel restrictions, you most likely require a visitor record or a study permit or a work permit.
There are some visitors who do not need a visitor record (like US citizens within 6 months of entry). There are some students who can study without a study permit (like minors accompanying a parent that has a valid work or study permit). There are some workers who do not require a work permit (like business visitors). It is helpful to understand the various categories of temporary status under Canadian Immigration law to ensure that you maintain valid status. It is also essential to understand that anyone seeking temporary status in Canada must show a temporary intent.
Foreign nationals must show Temporary Intent
All visitors or students or workers have an obligation to maintain a temporary intent. A temporary intent means that you will leave Canada by the end of your authorized stay. Officers look at several factors to determine if they think you have a valid temporary intent. Some key factors to show that you have a valid temporary intent and are not inadmissible include:
- How long are you asking to stay in Canada?
- What are your ties to your country of citizenship or residence?
- Do you have a history of international travel and complying with the terms of your visas?
- Do you have the financial ability to remain in Canada and leave the country for the time you specified?
- Do you have family members/ a job/ property to return to outside of Canada?
- What is the reason you want to visit or study or work in Canada – do you have a well-thought-out plan?
- Has a direct family member invited you to Canada or do you have a job with a specific employer in Canada?
- Have you ever misrepresented anything to IRCC in the past?
- Have you ever been refused an Immigration application in the past?
- Have you ever been charged or convicted of a crime in any country?
- Do you have a serious medical condition or a contagious disease?
- Have you ever been removed from Canada or any other country?
Officers can refuse any Foreign National who cannot demonstrate Temporary Intent
Immigration Officers have wide discretion to refuse entry to any Foreign National who cannot satisfy them, either at the application stage from outside Canada but also at the Port of Entry when a person arrives at the border, that there is a valid temporary intent.
Just because you received a letter approving your study permit or work permit application from a Canadian IRCC office outside Canada does NOT mean the border officer will allow you entry.
Also, if you are already in Canada and are asking to extend your visitor status or study permit or work permit status, an officer can deny your application if you fail to show temporary intent, if you are inadmissible or if you do not meet the program requirements for the type of application you are seeking.
Make sure to carefully review the legal requirements for the visitor or study or work permit application and follow all policies in place about how to properly submit your application.
TRV/ visitor visa/ visitor record, Study Permit, Work Permits, TRPs
There are many requirements for each category of temporary resident status.
Foreign Nationals of some countries require a Visitor Visa to come to Canada. Certain countries’ Foreign Nationals are Visitor Visa exempt but still require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Generally Temporary Resident Visa holders or Visitors can only visit in Canada and cannot work or study or apply for a work or study permit from inside Canada. (There may be some temporary public policies in place due to COVID that apply right now.)
Full time students can study in Canada and in some circumstances can work part time or full time in Canada. Due to travel restrictions and COVID disruptions, many programs are being delivered online. Check to ensure the Canadian post-secondary institution is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and has a COVID readiness plan. If you hope to qualify for a Post-Graduation Open Work Permit, it is essential to ensure the program of studies is PGWP eligible and is at least 8 months in duration. PGWPs will only be issued for the same time as the period of full-time studies. If your program of studies is 8 months, your PGWP can only be issued for 8 months. If your studies are 100% online, you are not usually eligible for a PGWP. (Check the program directives for students and PGWP and temporary COVID public policies.)
Work permits fall under two broad categories. Work permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) require your employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before you can apply for a work permit. Work permits under the International Mobility Program (IMP) are LMIA exempt but have other requirements. Some work permits under the IMP are employer specific and will require your employer to upload their Offer of Employment through the Employer Portal and pay the Employer Compliance Fee before you can apply for a work permit.
Temporary Resident Permits used to be called Minister’s Permits and are highly discretionary documents that are issued in special circumstances to individuals who are inadmissible or who have failed to comply with a requirement of the Act or the Regulations.
The above descriptions are broad brush overviews providing general information. Please book a consultation to get legal advice and to learn more about program requirements and which application best fits your situation.
Travel Restrictions and Public Health Requirements
Keep in mind that, in addition to the normal requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations, there are additional Orders in Council that currently restrict the entry of Foreign Nationals to Canada. The travel restrictions change frequently. If you meet an exemption from the travel restrictions, you will still need to follow important steps, including:
- pre-arrival COVID testing,
- booking a quarantine hotel (if arriving by plane),
- having a quarantine plan and completing the ArriveCAN app,
- registering for post-arrival COVID testing, and
- reporting daily during your 14 day quarantine.
Make sure to check the current Government of Canada information available here: https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid for steps to follow when coming to Canada by air or by land.
Susan Wood and Alicia Backman-Beharry recently presented a webinar for the Legal Education Society of Alberta called, “How to Untangle Immigration Issues: An Overview and Analysis of a Case Scenario.” Click here for more information and look for the webinar on demand once it becomes available: https://www.lesaonline.org/event/how-to-untangle-immigration-issues-an-overview-and-analysis-of-a-case-scenario-webinar/
Book a Consultation
If you are trying to understand your temporary residence options or want to extend your status in Canada, please book a consultation and we can answer your questions.
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