Claim refugee status from inside Canada: Work and study permits
Work or study while waiting for a refugee claim decision
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Faster work permits for asylum claimants
As of November 16, 2022, we’ll process work permits for asylum claimants once we find them eligible and before we refer them to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
Before we issue a work permit, claimants must still
- provide all required information (in the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal or IRCC Portal)
- complete an immigration medical exam
- give biometrics
Get a work permit
Who can get a work permit
You and your family members may be eligible for open work permits if you’re making a refugee claim and
- you need a job to pay for food, clothing and shelter
- the family members you want permits for
- are with you in Canada
- plan to work
- are also applying for refugee status
How to apply for a work permit
If you haven’t already submitted your refugee claim, you can let us know in your online claim application.
- Choose “Yes” when asked if you would like to request a work permit.
- You don’t need to submit a separate application or pay extra fees.
- We’ll give you a work permit after you complete your medical exam, if your claim has been found eligible or we referred your claim to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
If you already submitted your refugee claim, but didn’t apply for a permit at the same time, you can apply for a work permit separately.
With your application, you need to include a copy of your Refugee Protection Claimant Document and proof that
- you completed your immigration medical exam
- you need a job to pay for your basic needs (food, clothing, shelter)
- the family members you’re requesting permits for are with you in Canada
There are no fees for these permits when you’re waiting for a decision on your refugee claim.
To avoid delays, make sure we always have your current address. You can change your address online.
Get a study permit
Who can get a study permit
Minor children don’t need a study permit to go to kindergarten, elementary or secondary school.
A study permit lets you to go to school while you’re waiting for a decision on your claim. You and any of your family members who also made a refugee claim may be eligible for study permits. You must have an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution.
How to apply for a study permit
If you want to study while you’re in Canada, you must apply online for a study permit. You must have a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution to apply. You can’t request to apply for a study permit when you submit your refugee claim. You must apply for a study permit separately.
Extend your work or study permit
If you apply to extend your work or study permit before it expires, you have the right to keep working or studying while you wait for a decision on your extension.
To prove that you can still work or study, you can show your
- expired work or study permit
- proof of your application for an extension, including
- a copy of your application
- your fee receipt
- confirmation that it was sent and delivered before your permit expired
If you let your work or study permit expire before you apply to extend it, you have to submit a new application and stop working or studying while you wait for a decision.
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