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CIC ends processing of work permit extensions filed concurrently with pending LMO applications

Until recently, a work permit extension application (for a NOC 0, A, or B occupation), which required an approved Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”), could be filed concurrently with a pending LMO application. In other words, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) Case Processing Center in Vegreville, Alberta, would accept a work permit extension application where an LMO application had been filed with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (“HRSDC”), even if it was still pending at the time of filing.

CIC would initially accept the work permit application without the approved LMO. When it was ready to adjudicate the extension application (several months later), if the approved LMO was not included in the file, the work permit extension would be denied on that basis. However, if the LMO was approved in the interim, the employer could forward it to CIC before the adjudication of the work permit extension took place and the extension would be approved.

Concurrent filing permitted foreign nationals to benefit from implied status even if their existing work permits expired prior to the approval of their new LMOs. Assuming that the work permit extension application was filed prior to the expiration of the foreign national’s work permit, he or she would be entitled to implied status under Subsection 183(5) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and could continue to work until the application was adjudicated.

However, in July 2010, CIC posted a notice on its website indicating that concurrent filing would no longer be permitted. The notice states the following:

“If you are applying for a work permit for a job that requires an LMO, you must now include the valid LMO with your application. We are no longer accepting work permit applications without valid LMOs.”

The implications of this notice are considerable. Given the fact that HRSDC is currently taking a strict approach to LMO applications, frequently requiring employers to repeat recruitment efforts in the case of minor irregularities, the inability of foreign nationals to acquire implied status while their LMO applications are pending could create significant gaps in their employment authorizations.

Henry J. Chang
Blaney McMurtry LLP

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Henry J. Chang, Dentons LLP

Corporate immigration lawyer at Dentons LLP
Henry J. Chang is a partner in the firm’s Employment and Labor Group. He currently practices in the areas of Canadian and United States business immigration law, international business law, and cannabis law. Read more
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