Can I work in Canada after I make a refugee claim?

2. Complete the work permit application form

If you didn’t apply for an open work permit when you completed your refugee claim forms, you can apply later with a work permit application form.

You must also complete a work permit application form if you have a work permit that will expire soon.

Talk to your representative

If a lawyer or legal representative is helping you with your refugee claim, talk to them before you apply for a work permit. They should review the work permit application form for any mistakes or inconsistencies with your refugee application forms. If you don’t have a representative, you might be able to get free legal advice from your local community legal clinic.

What you need to apply

Download and complete the application form. Read the guide for help and more information.

You must include:

  • a copy of your passport, including the identification page and any other marked pages
  • a copy of your Refugee Protection Claimant Document

You must also show proof that you need to work to support yourself and that you would have to rely on social assistance if you can’t work. For example, you can include copies of your recent bank account records, credit card statements, or pay statements. If you’re receiving social assistance, include proof of these payments.

Biometrics

If you already gave your biometrics when you made your refugee claim, you don’t have to give them again to apply for a work permit. “Biometrics” include your fingerprints and a digital photograph of you.

Fees

Most people applying for a work permit have to pay:

  • a work permit processing fee, and
  • an open work permit holder fee.

You don’t have to pay these fees if:

  • you’re a refugee claimant waiting for your hearing or for a decision on your claim, or
  • you’ve had your refugee hearing and have been accepted as a .

If you’re not eligible to make a refugee claim but you’re eligible for a Pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA), you will have to pay the work permit processing fee, but you don’t have to pay the open work permit holder fee.

You can check the current fee list and the list of fee exemptions.

How to apply

You can set up an account to apply online or you can mail your application form and documents to:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Work Permit
CPC-Vegreville 6212 – 55th Avenue, Unit 555
Vegreville, AB T9C 1X6

Put your name and address on the top left-hand corner of the envelope.

IRCC will mail your work permit to you or send you a letter if your application is not approved. The permit is usually valid for one year.

IRCC might take several months to process your application. If you don’t receive a work permit after 3 months, you can call the IRCC Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100.

If you’re not approved, you can ask your local community legal clinic for advice on what to do. You might be able to apply for a judicial review at Federal Court. You might also apply again with better .

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