Press Room

Learning Moments - October 3rd 2018

Press Room


I have an interesting situation that I have started encountering more frequently. I have had some clients who are in Canada on a work permit, which were issued based on their national passports (i.e. China, South Korea, etc). While in Canada, the applicants acquired a second citizenship, usually in the Caribbean. While this in itself is not an issue, a recent client was discovered by the Chinese government to have acquired a second citizenship, and he therefore had his Chinese passport revoked as China does not recognize dual citizenship. This then raises the question about whether or not his work permit is still valid, as it was based on a national passport that is no longer valid (nor is he even a citizen of the country anymore). My question is, should an application to change the conditions of the work permit be submitted along with a copy of the new Caribbean passport, even though the work permit is still valid for quite some time? Or, do we wait until the work permit is about to expire before applying to renew it in the normal manner?



The short answer is that we would suggest following the first course of action suggested – namely to immediately submit an application to change conditions of the work permit. 

However, it is useful to briefly discuss some of the background considerations in suggesting this course of action.

In this scenario, there are two separate, albeit related issues to consider: the visa, which would allow the foreign national to travel to and from Canada; and the work permit, which provides the foreign national status in Canada.

Presumably, the visa would be in the old (in this case Chinese) passport, which presumably would have been seized. Therefore, if the foreign national intends to leave Canada and re-enter, he or she would need to apply for a new visa based on the new passport.

Assuming the foreign national does not need to travel, the issue surrounds the work permit. 

The first question to canvass is whether the work permit was issued under a program that was contingent on nationality – such as reciprocal agreements, International Experience Canada (IEC), etc. If this is the case, then the work permit would be invalidated by the change in nationality – as one of the material factors leading to the work permit issuance has changed.

If the issuance of the work permit had nothing to do with nationality, we would still suggest making an application for a change in conditions. 

One could argue that this situation is analogous to someone merely getting a new passport – in which case IRCC policy does not require a person to apply for a new work permit:

I got a new passport after coming to Canada but I still have a valid work permit in my old one. What should I do?

Keep your old passport. If you plan to travel outside Canada, bring both your old and new passport with you. You’ll need your valid work permit when you come back.

The expiry date on your work permit is linked to the expiry on your passport. If you got a new passport because your old one was expiring, then your work permit will also expire at the same time. In this case, you need to apply to extend your work permit to keep working in Canada.[1]

However, in this case we are dealing with more than a change of passport. The individual in question has changed nationalities, and nationality is a key piece of biodata in the IRCC application system and the application forms signed as part of the work permit issuance.

Therefore, we would suggest immediately filing an application to change conditions in order to ensure that the documents reflect the correct biodata.