Under section 206 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, work permits may be issued to refugee claimants whose claims have been referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and to foreign nationals who are subject to an unenforceable removal order. They must demonstrate that they cannot otherwise support themselves, but are otherwise eligible for open work permits.
R206 does not include family members and, as such, family members of refugee claimants or of a person subject to an unenforceable removal order are not entitled to an open work permit; however, they can apply for a regular work permit (with a Labour Market Impact Assessment [LMIA]) from within Canada as per R199.
LMIA exemption codes
Refugee claimants: S61 (fee exempt [R299(2)(a), code E01])
Persons subject to an unenforceable removal order: S62 (fees apply)
Evidence that the applicant requires public support
The onus is on applicants to prove that they are unable to subsist without public assistance. Officers may accept any evidence that satisfies them that the person meets this requirement. Proof may be, but is not limited to, a letter or cheque stub from the provincial or territorial social service department. It is not the intent that refugee claimants apply for social assistance before being issued a work permit.
In the absence of letters from social services, bank statements, etc., officers should look at the client history and application forms to determine whether or not they think applicants could support themselves without public assistance.
For example, a foreign student making a refugee claim may not meet this criterion because the student was required to provide proof of funds to support the stay in Canada and return home. As well, opportunities already exist in the Regulations to allow students to work (i.e., destitute students, on-campus employment). On the other hand, claimants who entered as visitors with money, but have no one to assist them financially for the remainder of the time it takes to process a claim, would not likely be able to subsist without public assistance.
Officers may consider that this particular eligibility criterion has been met if there is any likelihood that the claimant might require public assistance.
What is the meaning of “unenforceable removal order”?
A removal order is enforceable under legislation when all conditions for a stay (see Part 13, Division 3 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations) have been removed.
Most refugee claimants are issued conditional removal orders that are unenforceable pending the outcome of their refugee claim. Other persons subject to an unenforceable removal order include the following:
- pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) applicants (pending the outcome of the PRRA);
- persons who have been granted a stay by the Federal Court;
- foreign nationals from countries where the Minister has imposed a temporary stay of removal; and
- persons with respect to whom the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is unable to remove for reasons beyond the control of the person (e.g., unable to obtain a travel document). Simply not being in possession of a travel document is not sufficient for issuance of a work permit in this category. The applicant must demonstrate that they were unable to obtain a passport because of circumstances beyond their control (by providing a refusal letter resulting from a passport application submission, a confirmation from the CBSA that they are unable to obtain a travel document, etc.). If insufficient proof is provided that the inability to obtain a travel document is beyond the person’s control, the officer should confirm with the CBSA that the applicant is cooperating with removal procedures and has not yet been able to obtain the travel document.
Refugee claimants are given medical instructions upon making their claim. Other foreign nationals under an unenforceable removal order may not have completed a medical examination.
As per R30(1)(e) and R200(1)(e), a work permit may not be issued until the officer has received the results of the medical exam for the claimant.
Open work permits may be issued for persons whose results are M1, M2, M3 or M5, along with any occupational restrictions noted by the assessing physician.
Medical results M4 or M6: as per R200(1)(e), a work permit must not be issued, as protection of the public health or safety is at issue.
See also Assessing medical requirements.
Duration of the work permit
The work permit should be valid for a period of 24 months from the date the applicant’s claim was forwarded to the IRB. This period is based on an estimate of the time it takes to have a claim considered by the Board. Subsequent renewal periods may be for periods of 12 months, or less, depending on the circumstances of the applicant.
Both initial issuance and extensions of work permits may only be granted if the applicant has demonstrated compliance in pursuing their claim or appeal (i.e., not delayed the procedure through adjournments or no-shows).
For both refugee claimants and persons subject to an unenforceable removal order, the work permit ceases to be valid at the end of the validity period or when all legal recourses that allow the person to remain in Canada have been exhausted.
If the applicant is not a genuine temporary resident, R202 applies and the issuance of the work permit does not confer temporary resident status. A statement to this effect should be included in the Remarks section of the work permit.
- Date Modified: