From Temporary Work Permit to Permanent Residency: A Brief Synopsis and Analysis of Options

Permanent Resident Card (2002-2007)
Permanent Resident Card (2002-2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The path to Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada can be daunting in its complexity. However, some individuals find work in Canada before achieving permanent status, first entering on a Temporary Work Permit. This temporary permit can be a stepping stone towards PR. Indeed, in some ways the possession of a temporary work permit will ease a PR candidate’s overall application experience. For an individual who is already in Canada on a work permit, there are four main paths to transforming one’s temporary status to PR status.

Arranged Employment (through Federal Skilled Worker program)

Time Period: Approximately 12-18 months

For an educated, experienced worker in a skilled position, this program often presents the most straightforward path to PR. It consists of two steps
  • Step 1: The employer for whom the individual is working for on a temporary basis can offer a position of indefinite length. This is referred to as Arranged Employment.
  • Step 2: The worker must pass the FSW points system. This system attributes numerical value to things such as a job offer, adaptability, and education. If one has a job offer, higher education, and some language skills, they often have ample points to qualify.

Canadian Experience Class

Time Period: Approximately 1 year

Workers in skilled positions can apply under this program. This is often a choice option for individuals who are unable to meet the point requirements necessary for the Federal Skilled Worker program. The key difference between the two programs is that this category requires a candidate to garner the following experience in Canada:
  • 2 years of work in Canada or
  • Post-secondary studies completed in Canada and 1 year of work
If one qualifies for this path they must be prepared to maintain continuous employment for one of the above time periods before applying for PR.

Provincial Nominee Program

Time Period: Varies by province, approximately 12-18 months in total

Many provinces, through agreements with the federal government, have robust provincial programs, which allow them to nominate foreign workers for PR. Pursuing this path from within Canada will vary greatly from province to province. However, in general these applications must be for workers with skilled positions, and will require involvement on the part of the employer. There are some things to note:
  • Some provinces have more active programs than others. Some prefer to target specific skill sets. This can dictate how one’s PNP application moves forward.
  • Like other programs, PNP seeks skilled laborers. In Alberta only, there are some avenues to be nominated with an unskilled job.
For individuals outside of Canada, it is worth noting that if nominated, a foreign worker can receive a temporary work permit while they wait for PR.

Quebec Experience Class

Time Period: varies greatly, less than 1 year

The province of Quebec has unique agreements with the federal government that allow it to put special immigration systems in place. Generally, candidates on temporary work permits must work in Quebec for a minimum of 1 year in a skilled position. Most importantly, they must speak at least intermediate French under this particular program. After approval, they will receive a Quebec Selection Certificate, which will allow them to reside permanently in the province.
  • Unlike other programs, Quebec allows individuals on temporary Working Holiday visas to apply for PR, providing they meet the aforementioned requirements.
It is important to remember that there is no ‘best’ or ‘worst’ road to achieving PR, and that a temporary work permit is not required to secure PR. Each program has been designed to facilitate the entrance of workers who will positively contribute to Canada’s labor market. All those wishing to immigrate permanently to Canada should choose the path which best matches their unique experiences and abilities.

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