Transitional work permit for inside Canada applicants

If you have recently applied for a work permit inside Canada, you have probably received a transitional work permit. If you find this document confusing, you are not alone. However, don’t worry! I’ll explain transitional work permits for inside Canada applicants here. Thus, keep reading.

What is a work permit?

A work permit is a document that allows you to work in Canada. Of course, to be eligible, you must meet the criteria. We could divide work permits into two major groups:

Regardless of the nature of the work permit, it is temporary. Consequently, each work permit has an expiry date.

Extending or applying for a work permit inside Canada

If your work permit expires soon, you could apply for a new one from inside Canada. However, you must meet the new work permit requirements and apply for it before the old one expires. If you apply in a timely fashion, then you will have implied status. As a result, your old work permit remains in effect until the officer finalizes your new application. To emphasize this issue, we could also refer to subsection 186(u) of IRPR.

R186(u) A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit until a decision is made on an application made by them under subsection 201(1), if they have remained in Canada after the expiry of their work permit. They have continued to comply with the conditions set out on the expired work permit, other than the expiry date.

This section emphasizes the work conditions may not change while you wait for the new work permit. Nonetheless, IRCC issued a Public Policy on May 12, 2020, to assist foreign workers during the coronavirus pandemic. According to this policy, the workers may change their employers immediately if they apply for a new work permit. However, this policy could cease existence at any time.

What is a transitional work permit, then?

As mentioned earlier, every work permit is temporary. Nevertheless, IRCC has taken another measure during the COVID-19 fiasco. This measure applies to you if you meet the following criteria:

  • You qualify for applying for a work permit inside Canada.
  • You have promptly submitted your application while residing in Canada.

IRCC usually issues you a transitional work permit within a week or less upon receiving your complete online application. However, the work permit will only be valid for a few weeks (usually 17 weeks or less). Of course, this document does not reflect their final decision. Regardless, you may continue working while waiting for the actual work permit. Remember, receiving a transitional work permit does not guarantee the approval of the work permit application.

What is the use of this transitional work permit?

As mentioned earlier, R186(u) allows you to work in Canada with an implied status. Nonetheless, it is difficult to explain this to the province’s employers or even health authorities. Therefore, you could face losing your job or Universal Healthcare coverage. You may even encounter other problems. Consequently, a transitional work permit could be a band-aid solution for these problems.


  1. These types of transitional work permits assist foreign workers during the pandemic. Therefore, the government may stop this practice at any time.
  2. IRCC usually does not issue these temporary work permits for PGWP applicants.

When does a transitional work permit become void?

A transitional work permit becomes void under any of the following circumstances.

  • You receive your new work permit or another status (e.g., PR).
  • An officer refuses your new work permit application. Of course, in these situations, you usually need to leave Canada immediately or file for restoration of status. However, if your 90-day window for a restoration application passes, you need to explore other options.
  • You leave Canada. Unfortunately, unless you receive the new work permit, your status becomes a visitor upon returning to Canada.
  • An officer issues you an enforceable removal order.

Let us help!

If you intend to apply for a transitional work permit inside Canada, fill out the following form. Of course, you may consider booking a consultation session with me.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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