Follow Your Work or Study Permit Limits While in Canada: New Entry/Exit program!

February 13, 2020
Posted in News


Whether you are already in Canada completing an internship, enjoying your Working Holiday program in the Canadian Rockies or starting a College Co-Op Diploma program as a student in Vancouver, this is an update that you should be aware of:

Canada’s federal immigration authorities are now able to monitor the entry and exit information by air and by land for ALL travellers. In other words, they can now monitor how many days a traveller can stay in Canada.

Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is able to track how many days a traveller stays in Canada and if you have exceeded the authorized length of your stay in Canada. This program will not only track who enters the country but also who leaves. The regulations have been in force since June 2019 and will be implemented for air travel in June 2020.

What is the Entry/Exit Program for Canada?

The Entry/Exit program was designed by the Canadian Government to monitor the entry and exit information of every traveller landing or leaving Canada, whether they are visitors, Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-Op participants under International Experience Canada or even students that come to study and work, Canada will be able to know exactly when you are leaving the country.  More information about the Entry/Exit program can be found on the Government’s website.

The data that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) collects will be used to verify the information from IRCC: entry and exit dates must match with the status a traveller should hold to make sure individuals are compiling with the regulation.

What do you need to know about the Entry/Exit Program for Canada if you are a student or an IEC participant?

The Entry/Exit program applies to every temporary resident with any of the following permits (among others):

  • Temporary resident visas/ permits: Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-op under International Experience Canada (IEC).
  • Visitor records or Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETA’s) – Let’s say you come to Canada for holidays, even though you might not need a visa, Canada will now track when you leave the country.
  • Work & Study permits and work & study permit extensions – This means all our participants completing any of our study and work programs in Canada (College Co-Op Certificates or Diplomas).

This means that Canada will be able to verify the date you entered Canada, but also when you are leaving, no matter how you decide to leave (by air or by land). This is why it is so important that you never run out of status, even if it is for a few days.

For example, if your IEC work permit (working holiday or young professional) is about to expire, make sure that you apply for an extension as a visitor at least 30 days before your work permit expires.

Many times we get asked by our working holiday participants: “I am currently holding a working holiday permit that is about to expire and I have a valid ESTA, my country does not require a visa to enter as a visitor in Canada, do I really need to apply for an extension as a visitor?”

The answer is YES, you need to apply for an extension as a visitor, as your permit to be in Canada will be over soon, so you must report to Canada what your plans are and pay the fees to remain in the country, otherwise, you will be staying illegally in Canada.

Oscar from Spain - Working Holiday in The Rockies

Why does Canada want to track exits and entries?

According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, the purpose of this update in Canada’s Entry/Exit program is mostly to:

  • Verify that foreign nationals in Canada have not exceeded the time limit on their permits to better control the conditions of stay of the temporary residents.
  • Support potential investigations related to abuses regarding Canadian immigration.

The Canadian Government can now calculate exactly how long you were in Canada. This avoids having temporary residents overstaying in the country with no consequences, not only for Working Holiday participants, or students but also for visitors that come to Canada with an ETA only. This means that anyone that tries to not comply with the regulation and time allowed to be in Canada will be held accountable for it, so nobody can lie about their travel history in Canada.

Would this mean that the “implied status” does not exist anymore?

Not at all! No worries, Implied status still exists and you will still be going into implied status if you apply for an extension, let’s say as a visitor before your IEC work permit expires. You will be allowed to remain in Canada, as long as you applied for an extension BEFORE that your IEC work permit expires (Working Holiday, Young Professional or International Co-Op).

Just remember that to go into Implied Status you MUST apply for an extension before your permit expires, that’s key! Never let your permit expire if you are planning to remain in Canada, otherwise, it gets very complicated.

Can I extend my stay in Canada after my IEC work permit?

Remember IEC work permits can NOT be extended. If your country of citizenship allows it, then you can apply for a new work permit category, but remember that applying for a new IEC work permit will NOT give you implied status, you must have a valid status in Canada throughout your whole stay in the country, even if you are waiting for your new IEC work permit or even through our Recognized Organization (RO) programs.

You will see this clearly here on the IRCC website, as the image below shows:

Could I extend my stay in Canada to study and work after my IEC work permit?

YES, you could apply for a study permit, but you MUST apply before your work permit expires because even though it will give you implied status, you will not be allowed to start your study program and/or work until your study permit application is approved. You can learn more about this here on the IRCC website.

Thinking about extending your stay in Canada as a student? Check out our study and work programs, or also known as College Co-Op programs where you can work while studying and where you will be allowed to just work during the second half of the program! Learn more about the program through Maider’s experience studying Business Management while working, or Mariel from Mexico studying Hospitality Management while working in Vancouver!

Let’s connect today, click on the “Apply Now” button below to get your experience in Canada started! We are looking forward to meeting you!

Apply Now - Stepwest

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The material on our website and on this web page is intended to provide only general information and comment to our clients and the public. Although we make our best efforts to ensure that the information found on our website is accurate and timely, do not, under any circumstances, rely on information found on our website as legal or immigration advice. Nor do we guarantee the accuracy of any information contained on websites to which our website provides links. For assistance with your specific inquiry or problem, please contact a lawyer or an immigration consultant.