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What happens if my work permit expires in Canada?

A work permit is a special document that allows a foreign national to work in Canada on a temporary basis. There are different types of work permits, and each of these types of work permits may have a different length of validity. All of these work permits expire. 

When your work permit expires, you are expected to leave Canada as you will no longer have a valid visa that allows you to live and work in Canada. However, you also have a multitude of options. Keep in mind that the majority of these options must be dealt with BEFORE your work permit expires.

1. Did your job get extended or change? You will need to make an application to change the conditions of your work permit or extend it before your work permit expires.

2. Were you offered a completely different job in Canada? You will need to apply for a new work permit before you can start this job.

3. Is your work permit about to expire, but you want to remain in Canada permanently? You must determine if you qualify for immigration to Canada as a permanent resident under certain immigration categories, such as the Canadian Experience Class or skilled worker stream.

4. Did you leave Canada and want to come back? When you return to Canada you must have a valid passport and a valid work permit or other visa that will allow you into Canada.

Please note that you must make decisions on the above options before your Canadian work permit expires. If your work permit has already expired and you are still in Canada, please contact one of our licensed immigration lawyers as soon as possible. Overstaying your visa or work permit can be a very serious matter, and in most cases you may have to leave Canada to apply for another work visa or other visa to come back into Canada.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

24 thoughts on “What happens if my work permit expires in Canada?

  1. Kate

    Hello,

    My IEC open work permit expires on 13/04. We are due to move to the UK on 03/05. I’m concerned that if I apply online to change my status to a visitor I won’t get my passport back in time for our departure. If I go to the border on 14/04 will they let me re-enter as a tourist for those 2 weeks? I have a valid Australian passport and proof of our planned move to the UK. The only reason I am staying til the end of the month is because my partner’s IEC work permit does not expire until then.

    I’ve been looking online regarding my situation and the info I’ve found is vague at best.

    Thanks,
    Kate

    Reply
    1. Vahe Mirzoyan

      Hello Kate. Thank you for writing to us. There is a restoration period of 90 days after a work visa expires. In that time you must either find another job and a visa, or you have to leave the country. There is no need to apply to try to change your status. You will not be out of status the day that your work visa expires.
      Regards, Vahe

      Reply
      1. Kate

        Hi Vahe,

        I don’t think this covers my situation. My IEC work permit clearly states I have to leave the country by the 16/04. If I stay and do nothing to change my status won’t this cause an issue with immigration if I ever try to return? Everything else I’ve read indicates I need to have some kind of legal status in Canada after my permit expires.

        Thanks,
        Kate

        Reply
        1. Vahe Mirzoyan

          Hello Kate. You must absolutely stop working on the last day that your work visa is valid for. CIC understands that it is unreasonable to expect that people will leave the country on the last day that they are working, that is why there is a restoration period; but they will not be understanding if you should work even one extra day.
          Regards, Vahe

          Reply
          1. Kate

            Hi Vahe,

            My particular visa, which expires on 13/04 very clearly says I must leave the country by 16/04, three days later. My visa is not a typical work visa, it was issued under IEC and is not renewable. I contacted the CIC and was given the impression that I needed to change my status to visitor status to be allowed to remain in the country. Does the restoration period apply to a non-renewable work permit issued under IEC? If I do need to change my status to visitor status can this be done by going to the border and flagpoling?

            Thanks,
            Kate.

            Reply
            1. Vahe Mirzoyan

              Hi Kate. I understand the concern that you have. The simple solution is leave when your visa is finished and wait for your partner while you are in the UK. You can however Flagpolling is not a good strategy because you run the risk of not being able to get back into Canada. You may apply for a Visitor Visa but it will take 3-4 months to get the approval. In reality, a couple of weeks will not have an adverse effect on your ability to come to Canada in the future, but you will be questioned, and you will have to prove that you were not working at all during that period. The totally worry free solution is to leave and wait in the UK.
              Regards, Vahe

              Reply
  2. sharon

    Hi, my work permit expires next month. Also here in canada from 2006, applied for sponsorship within Canada, still waiting for PR. how do I go about doing this. had the IMM 1249 form ,not sure if still applicable.

    Reply
    1. Vahe Mirzoyan

      Hello Sharon. Thank you for writing to us. You need to get an extension of your work permit so that you do not go out of status. If you need help with your applications to make sure that you are not making any mistakes, and so that you will have a legal team taking care of all the matters that may arise, then please contact us to book a consultation with one of our immigration professionals. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-855-886-8472 or online at http://goo.gl/JFZqPm
      Regards, Vahe

      Reply
  3. Shauna

    I am on a study permit which will expire in September 2016. I also have a 10 year TRV which goes well beyond the study permit. I would like to remain in Canada for a bit after my study permit expires. Can I remain on my TRV after my study permit expires? If yes, for how long?

    Reply
    1. Vahe Mirzoyan

      Hello Shauna. Your TRV gives you the flexibility to stay in Canada after your study permit expires but you MUST apply for a Change of Condition Status with IRCC (CIC). Your TRV will give you the ability to initially stay for six months with an extension for up to two years before having to exit Canada. If you need help with your Change of Status applications to make sure that you are not making any mistakes, and you will have a legal team taking care of all the matters, then please contact us to book a consultation with one of our immigration professionals. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-855-886-8472 or online at http://goo.gl/JFZqPm
      Regards, Vahe

      Reply
  4. cindy

    My work permit has expired 3 weeks ago however I had applied to cic for restoration but now I changed my mind I want to go home should I cancel the application and will it be a problem going back to Jamaica and what if I want to apply for a us visa will that be a issue for me?

    Reply
    1. Vahe Mirzoyan

      Hi Cindy. Yes, you should contact CIC and cancel your application. If Jamaica is your country of origin it will not be a problem for you to go back home. Your future US Visa application will not be effected by your cancelled Canadian application. Someone from our office will be contacting you shortly to see if you need any help with your situation.
      Regards,
      Vahe

      Reply
  5. Kevin MacFarlane

    Work permit expires 13th July and my contact finishes then.

    I am a UK citizen but my partner is Canadian & has a house here.

    Do i have to leave Canada then come back as a visitor to spend a month there before new contact begins elsewhere in world?

    Reply
    1. Mira Freiwat

      Hello Kevin,

      Thank you for your post. You can apply to extend or change your status from within Canada and not have to exit and reenter. If you would like assistance in doing this correctly, without risking losing your status here and having to exit, email us directly at info@visaplace.com and we will be happy to help! MF

      Reply
  6. Mira Freiwat

    Hello Tricia,

    Thank you for your post. In order to do the best that we can to restore his status we would need to act quickly so that it would not have any detrimental effects on any future applications he submits. To see if he is even eligible to proceed with this, I would require some more information. Kindly complete this form http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ and as soon as I review it I will contact you. MF

    Reply
  7. Mark

    Hello,

    I was a foreign student in Canada since 2002, in 2011 I applied and qualified for 4-year work permit. But during that 4-year period I was married to a Canadian and I left Canada after my work permit expired.

    Now, I want to come back to Canada and live with my spouse. What should I do other than having my spouse sponsor me? Can I still get another work permit?

    Thanks,
    Mark

    Reply
    1. Mira Freiwat

      Hello Mark,

      Thank you for your post. You can definitely find an employer who is hiring and if they give you a job offer you can either apply for a Temporary Work Permit or to Express Entry to gain Permanent Residency that way. If you would like my assistance to determine your eligibility, please complete this form http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ and I will contact you after I have reviewed the results. MF

      Reply
  8. allan

    hello just want to ask CIC refused my work permit application and my work permit is expired last november 18 2014, can i go back to my country (philippines) and come back to canada and can i apply work permit at the canada airport. thank you

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Allan,

      At this point you should probably go back to the Philippines, as you may not have legal status in Canada. This could have negative consequences for your future life in Canada, so please get in touch with us as soon as possible, and we would be happy to help.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  9. saj

    Hi,
    My work permit will be expire in May 2015 and I already applied for PR.
    I want to go back my country(Iran) in Febraury but I do not have a visa to come back to canada.

    If my PR does not come until May and I receive it after May, is it possible to come back to canada after May when I am in Iran?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Saj,

      If you receive PR status, then you will be able to re-enter Canada after visiting abroad temporarily.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  10. Anonymus

    Thanks for the info.
    I would like to ask a question,
    What if your work permit expires and you are out of the country in that moment (vacations for example) and you just want to come back to the country to stay a couple of weeks because your girlfriend lives there or you just wanna come back and pack everything to leave the country in a few days?
    Can you get into the country as a tourist?

    I’d like to have a soon answer,

    Thank you,

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello,

      Thanks for the question. If your work permit expires, then you must get a new visa in order to come back into Canada (such as a TRV for example). We would be glad to help you obtain a TRV, which is something that we have done for many clients in the past. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any further questions.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
      1. Tricia

        Good day, my husband had a work permit that expired in March however he had change his job before it expired and the new company had applied for a LMO. After it expired and he was enquiring he was told that the LMO was not approved. It is now June and he is still in Canada. What can be done at this time?

        Reply

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