Implicit status in Canada

Aaah the famous implied status in Canada... If you're a temporary resident in Canada or a die-hard Canadian immigration blogger, you've probably heard of retained status. It used to be called " implied status". But what does it mean to have implied status in Canada? Does this status give us the right to work in Canada? Can you leave Canada, or do you have to stay in the country until you get a decision?

All these questions can be a source of considerable concern as you consider your expatriation plans or approach the expiry date of your temporary permit (work, study, visit). Don't panic, this article is here to answer your questions and clarify the particularities of retained status.

implicit status in canada travel

What is retained status?

Under Canadian immigration law, temporary residents are required to obliged to leave Canada no later than the expiry date of their valid permit (work permit, study permit or visitor status). However, article R181 gives temporary residents the right to apply to extend or modify their status. Filing a new application for temporary residency, before your current permit expires, gives you the right to "retain" your status until Immigration Canada makes a decision. This status is completely legal, and allows you to make the transition from your old work permit to the new one. That's implied status in Canada.

implicit status in canada justice

The person will therefore retain their temporary resident status and may even, in certain situations, continue to work under the conditions of their previous work permit.

If you hold a work or study permit and have applied to extend your status or obtain a new permit, you may continue to work or study while awaiting Immigration Canada's decision. However, you will have to respect the conditions of your current permit.

For example:

If you are applying for a new work permit with :

  • a working vacation permit (WHP): you will be entitled to continue working for the employer of your choice. In effect, your WHP is an open work permit. If you have any questions, we invite you to read our complete file on the Canada WHP.
  • a young professional permit (JP): you can continue to work, but only for the same employer and in the same profession, since your permit was closed.


👉 Jean arrived in Canada in January 2023 to work as a developer ;

👉 Jean holds a young professional work permit from his Canadian employer valid for 2 years ;

👉 In November 2024, Jean wishes to continue working for his employer, who suggests he apply for a new three-year work permit. This is in line with Jean's plans to apply for permanent residency and settle permanently in Canada;

👉 John applies for a new work permit in December 2024, before his young professional permit expires in January 2025;

👉 Jean therefore has a retained status, entitled to continue working for his current employer until a decision is reached on his new work permit application.

If you have applied for a different permit than the one you have, and you wish to change from a work permit to a study permit or vice versa, you must stop working or studying on the expiry date of your current permit and wait for a response from Immigration Canada before starting to work or study.

Do I have to apply for retained status?

It is not necessary to make a specific application to obtain implied status in Canada. However, it is very important to apply for a new work or study permit before your current work permit expires .

Immigration Canada will confirm receipt of your work or study permit application in your online account. You will be able to find the letter confirming your retained status in your file. This letter must be attached to your expired permit, and is proof that you are authorized to continue working under the same conditions as your old permit until a decision is made on your new application.

implicit status in canada request

Do I have to stay in Canada while my application is being processed?

It is important to note that retained status is valid only if you remain in Canada while your new application for temporary residence is being processed. In fact, if you leave Canada after the expiry date of your permit and while your new application for temporary residence is being processed, you automatically lose your retained status and the right to work or study. You will therefore have to wait until you receive your new work permit before resuming your professional or educational activity in Canada.

What happens if I leave Canada while my application is being processed?

If you leave Canada before receiving your new permit, you will not be allowed to return to work or study in Canada until your renewal application has been approved. In fact, when you leave Canada, you automatically lose your retained status. You may choose to remain abroad until you receive a decision, and return to Canada once your new status has been approved.

If you wish to return to Canada before you receive a final decision on your application, you have two options:

Situation ☝️

If you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country and eligible for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), or if you hold a multiple-entry visa that is still valid, you can return to Canada and apply to enter as a visitor. You can then wait for a reply to your new application for a work or study permit.

⚠️ Warning: in this case, the border officer will want to be sure that you are not going to study or work in Canada without authorization. You may also be asked to prove that you have the necessary funds to remain in Canada without working until a final decision is reached. The ultimate decision to let you enter Canada rests with the border services officer. So make sure you're well prepared and have all the necessary supporting documents with you. The officer may refuse to let you enter if he or she doubts that you have the necessary funds and/or thinks that you could work or study in Canada without authorization.

Situation ✌️

It is also possible to leave Canada and have your new work permit activated at a port of entry (land or air) in very specific cases (e.g. for certain types of work permit). It is important to check that you are eligible to apply for a work permit at customs before leaving Canada . You'll need to present all the supporting documents required to process your application at the port of entry, but you don't have to complete and bring the forms. You will also need to present proof that your application for a study or work permit has been filed. Please note that you will have to pay the processing fee again at customs (CAD$155 for a closed permit or CAD$255 for an open permit).


implicit status in canada

When does retained status end?

Implied status in Canada ends if you leave Canadian territory, or when you receive a decision on your new application for a work or study permit.

Should I apply for a new Social Insurance Number (SIN)?

When your work permit expires, your Social Insurance Number (SIN) automatically expires. You can continue to work even if your SIN has expired if you are in retained status. You'll need to renew your SIN when you receive your new work permit.

What about insurance?

Your health coverage will also depend on your temporary status (RAMQ or private insurance), and it is important to check that you are still covered during the period of retained status.

It is important to note that since the pandemic, the Régie de l'assurance maladie has continued to cover eligible temporary workers in Quebec with implicit status. To continue to be covered, you must contact the Régie de l'assurance maladie by web form. We also advise you to check with your employer to ensure that you are still covered by your group insurance plan after the expiry date of your work permit and during the period of retained status.

To conclude

In conclusion, it can be stressful to find yourself in a situation where your permit is about to expire and you'll be placed on implied status. The key is to make sure you plan all these steps in advance and have a clear strategy, having validated certain steps if necessary, such as obtaining an EIMT/CAQ or a job offer from your employer. Before you leave Canada, make sure you fully understand the consequences this could have on your right to work in Canada, and don't hesitate to consult a professional, either a lawyer or an immigration advisor, to ensure you maintain legal status at all times.

article written by sarah

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