Changing employers with a closed work permit in Canada

Last updated on May 13, 2020 at 9:00 am (Montreal time)

In general, you need a work permit to come and work in Canada. In particular, there are temporary closed work permits (young professional, closed work permit with CAQ/EIMT....) that allow you to quickly start a life experience in Canada. 

A closed work permit means that you are bound to a particular employer and that you must work only for that employer for the duration of your work permit.

Nevertheless, in some cases, a change of employer may be considered. This article will help to clarify and reassure you about the possibilities of changing employer for a closed work permit in Canada.

Young Professionals Permit: how to change employers before arriving in Canada?

For most nationalities (especially for the French), you can only participate once in the EIC program. So make sure that you are completely confident with your future employer so as not to waste this opportunity. Even if you have already applied in the young professional category, you may be eligible for a second participation if, and only if, you cancel your application before coming to Canada

You have already received your letter of introduction to Canada

You have already received your letter of introduction to come to Canada and your employer has decided to change his mind or is no longer able to offer you the position you are seeking? Your employer will be able to withdraw the job offer from the employer portal so that you can have your application for a young professional permit refused. The costs incurred for your application for a permit will be automatically refunded. You can then submit a new application for a young professional permit via a new employer.

You have not yet received your letter of introduction to Canada

If you are not yet in Canada and no longer wish to continue your application for a Young Professional Permit, you may be required to withdraw your application and receive a refund (only if the Government of Canada has not produced your Letter of Introduction for the Port of Entry). Here are the steps to follow. You can then apply for a new Young Professional Permit through a new employer.

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Young Professionals Permit: how to change employers once in Canada?

The Young Professionals Permit is issued under the IEC (International Experience Canada) program. It is offered to young people from 24 countries (including France), aged between 18 and 35 (30 depending on nationality) and who have found a job in Canada.

Under the Young Professionals category, as it is a closed work permit you cannot change employers if you have a valid reason ⬇️. Your new job must still meet the requirements requirements for the young professional category.

What are the valid reasons for changing employer? Some examples:

  • You worked for a company that closed down
  • You do not receive the remuneration you were promised
  • Your working conditions are not safe or do not correspond to those promised to you
  • You have been dismissed or laid off

You cannot change employer in the following situations:

  • A different employer offered you a better salary
  • You want to work in a different place
  • You don't like your job or your employer

If you are not eligible to change employer for these reasons you may be eligible for another type of workpermit (outside the EIC).

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Changing employers on a closed work permit (CSQ holders)

For those with a CSQ (Certificat de Sélection du Québec), you can apply for an A75 closed work permit with a new employer in Canada. The A75 refers to the exemption code linked to the CSQ which avoids the employer having to do a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMI).

Here are the conditions to be met (source) :

  • Currently reside in Quebec;
  • Have a valid work permit (PVT, Jeune pro...)
  • Have a valid job offer submitted by the employer on the government's employer platform
  • Hold a CSQ under the Skilled Worker category (Quebec).

The special case of COVID-19 and layoffs in Canada

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many foreign workers on closed work permits have lost their jobs. In the case of a lay-off you may be eligible for a change of employer.

Normally, any foreign worker with a closed work permit who sees the relationship with his or her employer break down is allowed to stay in Canada in order to find another job, but only for the duration of the validity of his or her initial work permit. Only, to start working for a new employer, they have to apply for a modification of their work permit and wait for the receipt of their new work permit (usually within 10 weeks).

In the framework of COVID-19 and to facilitate the return to work of workers, a new measure has been put in place on 12 May 2020: holders of a closed work permit already in Canada who have applied for a work permit modification with a valid work offer can start working for their new employer WITHOUT waiting for the issuance of their new work permit. An email authorization from the Canadian authorities is required.

Procedure for amending your work permit in the context of a layoff and COVID-19 (source)

  • Step 1: Find a new employer in Canada and have a validjob offer
  • Step 2: Apply for a work permit online
  • Step 3: Complete the IRCC web form requesting permission to start working for your new employer before your work permit is issued. Follow the instructions on this page for the text to be sent specifically (copy/paste message)
  • Step 4: Wait for your e-mail. If the application is successful, you will receive an email informing you that you can start working for your new employer.(The email should arrive within about 10 working days).

How to find a new employer to change your closed work permit?

At Maplr, specialist in international mobility and immigration of TECH profiles, we have several job offers available and we can help you change your work permit. 

We work in partnership with many Maplr-labelled Canadian companies to offer you the job of your dreams. A company with the Maplr label is a Canadian company that recruits internationally and shares our values in the world of work: human values, work environment and methods, onboarding, innovation, salaries, etc. By accompanying you in your job search, we can help you select a company that has already proven itself in hiring foreign workers and that will allow you to flourish in your life project in Canada Contact us to find out more!

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