How to get a work permit in Canada: A work permit is a legal paper that lets a person who is not a Canadian citizen work in Canada. About half a million work permits are given to temporary foreign workers from all over the world every year.
Canada is a popular place for people from other countries to go when they want to find work. Working in Canada is also a great first step for people who want to move there for good.
Who can work in Canada?
Most foreigners who want to work in Canada need a work permit, but there are a few exceptions.
An employment offer and an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) are prerequisites for obtaining a work permit in Canada. There are some cases where foreign workers can apply for a work pass without an LMIA or a job offer. A recent graduate from a Canadian Designated Learning Institute (DLI) or the spouse of someone who already has a work or study pass in Canada are examples of this.
- If a person is eligible to apply for a work pass, they must also meet the following criteria:
- Show that they plan to leave when their work permit runs out; and
- Show they have enough money to live in Canada and get back home with their family; and
- Are not criminals or sick people who can’t come to Canada;
- Intend to work for a qualifying organization; and
- Can show they are allowed to enter Canada by giving any papers asked for.
Types of Work Permits in Canada
There are many different ways to get a work permit in Canada. Some work permits require a job offer from a Canadian employer, some require that the business provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and others require that the person has some kind of connection to Canada (through education, sponsorship by a spouse, etc.). Please look at the categories below to find the type of work permit that fits your skills the best:
- Having to do an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment)
- TFWP stands for Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
- Facilitated LMIA (Quebec)
- Global Talent Stream
- LMIA-Exempt but requiring a job offer or employment contract
- International Mobility Program (IMP)
- NAFTA Work Permits
- CETA Work Permits
- Intra-Company Transfers
- Open Work Permits (no job offer or LMIA required)
- Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)
- Spousal Sponsorship from Inside of Canada
- International Experience Canada (IEC) (working holiday visa)
- Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
- Spouse Accompanying International Student or Worker
Permanent residents of Canada can work in Canada without a work permit. A person with permanent resident status is legally allowed to live and work anywhere in the country. Find out more about the choices for professionals and skilled workers who want to stay in the country permanently.
How to get a work permit in Canada
Getting a work permit in Canada is a very different process based on what kind of permit a person wants. For example, if you are an international student learning in Canada, you will often get permission to work part-time as part of your study permit.
Most closed work permit applications require an official job offer from a Canadian company and a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to back it up. Even people who don’t need an LMIA or a work permit should be aware of the special paperwork they need to prepare to make sure they can get into Canada. In general, there are two ways to get a work permit in Canada: with a closed (limited) work permit or with an open work permit.
Closed work permits are tied to specific companies. This means that unless the foreign worker obtains a new work permit, the foreign worker must continue working for the same employer at the same location.
If I have a job offer in Canada, am I qualified to apply for a work permit?
Even if you have a job offer in Canada, that doesn’t mean you can apply for a work pass. For some work permit applications, a job offer must meet certain criteria in order to be acceptable. Most of the time, a candidate for a work permit must have a job offer that is either:
- Supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA); or
- Exempt from requiring an LMIA.
It’s important to remember that the state of Quebec has its own way to figure out if a job offer is real.
What can I do if I have a work pass for Canada?
Your physical work pass lists the specific rules that come with your permission to work. Most of these restrictions will depend on what kind of work permit you can get. Conditions can include what kind of work you can do, where and for whom you can work, and how long you can stay in Canada. All people with a work pass are not allowed to work at a place where there is reason to think that some workers might be sexually exploited.
Work permit users can’t live in Canada permanently, so they have to leave when their time there is up. But if you’re working in Canada and want to stay there for good, fill out our free assessment form to get a full look at your immigration choices.
Can I include my spouse and children in my work visa application?
If you are applying for a work permit that is supported by your workplace, you may be able to bring your spouse and children with you to Canada.
If your children are in Canada and old enough to go to school, they can go to schools there without a separate study pass. Your spouse or partner may also be able to apply for an open work permit, which would let them work in Canada for any company.
How much does Canada’s work visa application process cost?
Processing costs are $155 CAD per person for a closed work permit and $255 per person for an open work permit. If you want to renew your work permit or apply as a group of performing artists, you will have to pay more.
How do I apply for a work visa?
Depending on what kind of work permit you need, you have to fill out an application in a different way. The first step is to figure out what kind of work pass you need. If you need help with the application, just give us a call, and a member of our team will help you set up an appointment.
How can I get a work permit for Canada?
What you need to get a work permit in Canada depends on what kind of permit you want. As part of their application for a work permit, applicants may need to show the following:
- Filled application forms.
- Proof of your Canadian status (if needed)
- Proof of status for a family member. (If needed)
- Labour Market Impact Assessment (if relevant)
- Written job offer. (If possible)
- CV or resume
- Certificate of marriage (if any)
- Certificate of Acceptance of Quebec (CAQ, if needed)
- Show that you have eligibility to do the job.
- copy of your valid passport
- Copy of certificates of education
- Results of a medical exam (if asked)
- Proof that you have enough money to stay in Canada and go back to your home country
- Proof that government fees have been paid
- Recent shots the size of a passport
Currently, IRCC has a temporary measure in place that lets people apply for a work permit from within Canada without having to show proof of citizenship. When they get a biometrics guidance letter, candidates outside of Canada still have to give their biometrics.
Follow the steps on the page that the Canadian government has set up for giving your fingerprints.
Police clearance for work permits in Canada.
The person who looks over your application for a visa may ask you for a police clearance certificate. Depending on where you are applying from, this paper may be part of your application checklist and must be sent with your first submission.
Those who want a work permit may have to show a police clearance certificate from any country they have lived in for at least 6 months after they turned 18.
Medical Exam for a Work Permit in Canada
If a foreigner wants to work in Canada, they may have to take a medical exam, based on how long they plan to stay, where they have lived, and what job they want.
In a few cases, you probably won’t need a medical exam if you plan to work in Canada for less than 6 months. You will need a medical exam if you want to work in a job that puts you close to other people or if you are a farm worker who has been to certain countries.
If you want to work in Canada for more than 6 months, you will have to take a medical check if one of the following is true:
- You have lived or travelled for at least 6 months in one of the countries mentioned on Canada’s “Find out if you need a medical exam” page,
- You want to get a job where you will be in close contact with the people named in the link above.
Medical tests must be done by a panel doctors chosen by the IRCC. On IRCC’s Find a Panel Physician page, you can look for a doctor near you who is on a panel.
Applicants can choose to get a medical check right away. To do this, you must call the panel physician directly and take the exam before sending in an application for a work permit. If you don’t send in the results of your medical exam with your application, an IRCC officer will tell you how to do it and give you a date for when it needs to be done.
Foreigners who want to work in Canada must include a picture the size of a passport with their application. The picture must meet the requirements set by IRCC.
How long will it take to process my application for a work permit?
How long it takes to get a work permit varies on the type of permit and where the applicant lives at the time of the application. Processing times can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
How long will it take for my LMIA to be processed?
There are two ways to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA): the normal way and the easy way. Only the province of Quebec has the shortened LMIA form. The regular LMIA is handled on a case-by-case basis, and the time it takes to process varies a lot from one candidate to the next. For a regular LMIA application, it usually takes at least five months to hear back.
If a company qualifies for Canada’s Global Talent Stream, they may be able to get their LMIA processed faster. The simplified LMIA that is filled out for a job in Quebec is usually handled in two to three months.
How often do work permit/LMIA forms get approved?
Work permit/LMIA applications are handled on a case-by-case basis, so it is hard to say what the success rate is. If a person’s application meets the LMIA’s requirements, it should be accepted. But each application is looked at by a different officer, who uses his or her own judgment to decide whether or not to grant a work permit.
How can I find the status of my application for a work permit?
You can check the progress of an online work permit application through your online account. You can check the progress of a paper application by linking it to an online IRCC account.
Reasons why an application for a work permit is rejected?
It can be devastating to be denied a work permit. There are many reasons why someone might not get a work pass. Requesting the GCMS’s notes may shed light on the reasons for your application’s denial, and if you choose to resubmit, it can help you address the officer’s worries. Here are some of the most usual reasons a work permit is turned down:
- The officer didn’t think you could do the job you were supposed to do well;
- The officer didn’t believe that you would go back to your home country when your time in Canada was up.
- You don’t fit the requirements for the work permit you wanted.
How do I add my spouse and children to my application for a work permit?
If you want a closed work permit to work in Canada, your partner may be able to get an open work permit.
Your spouse will need to apply for their own work permit if they are qualified. Most of the time, they have to apply online for this permission.
How do I start using my work permit?
How you get your work pass to work will depend on where and how you apply for it.
Activating your work permit if you have applied from inside Canada
If your application for a work permit from inside Canada is accepted, IRCC will send you a letter of acceptance. If you filed online, the letter of approval will be in your account. If you sent in a paper application, the letter would be sent to where you send mail. After you get your letter of approval, your work pass will come in the mail. The pass will already be active when it gets to you, so you can use it to work in Canada.
Activating your work permit if you have applied from outside of Canada
If your application from outside of Canada is accepted, you will get a letter telling you how to get your physical work permit at the port of entry (POE) in Canada. If you applied online, the letter of instructions will be in your online account. If you sent in a written application, the letter would be sent to the address you gave.
Activating your work permit After applying at the port of entry.
Some people may be able to apply for a work pass at the border crossing to Canada. If you want to get a work pass at the border, you will need to show proof that you are eligible. If it’s okay, the officer at the border can print the work pass right away. You can use your pass right away.
Finding Job in Canada
It might be hard to know where to start when looking for work in Canada. Those who want an official job offer from a Canadian company are lucky to have a lot of options. When you start looking for a job, we suggest using the online tools for Job searching. Before you send out any applications, make sure you take the time to prepare your resume and tweak your social media profile.
A person may need to know their National Occupation Classification Code (NOC Code) for certain jobs in Canada. By Canadian rules, this code is used to put all kinds of jobs into groups. Canadim has also made a tool that can help you find your NOC Code.
What are the benefits of working in Canada?
There are many reasons to work in Canada. Canadian labour laws make sure that workplaces are safe and that all companies follow certain rules to make sure their workers are healthy and safe. Also, Canadian wages are competitive, and foreign workers must be paid the same as their Canadian peers by law.
Lastly, some Canadian work permits let the worker’s spouse and children come to Canada with them. Another important benefit for people who want to move to Canada permanently is that getting Canadian work experience can make it easier for them to qualify for a number of Canadian programs that lead to permanent residency. The following groups give Canadian work experience different amounts of value:
- Express Entry
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
- Federal Skilled Trades (FST)
- Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
- Quebec Immigration Programs
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
How do I extend my work permit?
Most of the time, temporary foreign workers who are qualified to have their work permit extended must do so online. If you want to get your work permit extended, you should do so at least 30 days before your present permit runs out. Even though this is a suggestion, a person has until the last day of the expiration date to ask for an extension.
- Half a million work permits each year.
- Pathway to permanent residency.
- Most need LMIA.
- Various work permit categories
- Spouses and children can accompany
- Strong labor laws
- Competitive wages
What is the number on my work permit?
Your work permit number is at the top right of your permit, and it starts with the letter “U.”
Can I work in Canada without a work visa?
Foreigners who want to work in Canada almost always need a work permit.
Can I get a work pass in Canada even if I don’t have a job offer?
To get a work permit, foreigners who want to work in Canada usually need a written job offer from a Canadian company. But in some cases, foreign workers can apply for an open work permit without having a job offer. This lets them work anywhere in Canada for any company.
What are the age requirements for Work permit?
To get a work pass in Canada, a foreign worker must be at least 18 years old. Work permit applicants can be any age, as long as they are not going through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program.
Can I sign up for health insurance in Canada if I have a work permit?
Each state and territory in Canada runs its own insurance plan and is in charge of health care. People with work permits can apply for provincial health insurance in some areas. Before residents can get health insurance in most areas, they have to live there for a certain number of days.
What’s the difference between a work permit and visa?
A Canadian work pass lets people from other countries work in Canada. A visa, on the other hand, is a travel document used to enter the country.
A visa, also called a temporary resident visa (TRV), is a sticker that you put in your passport. It works as a travel document and lets foreigners enter Canada or pass through a Canadian airport.
Even if you have a legal work permit and leave Canada, you can’t come back without a valid visa or eTA.
Should I take the IELTS if I want to work in Canada?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or any other English or French language test is not required to work in Canada. If the position requires fluency in French and/or English, but the applicant is from a place where neither language is commonly spoken, the hiring manager may request evidence of linguistic proficiency in the form of a language test.
How long can I work in Canada with a legal work permit?
Most Canadian work permits are good for one to two years, but there are some variations. Most of the time, a visa worker won’t give a person a work permit that lasts longer than their passport or longer than what is written on their LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment). A work pass won’t be given for longer than the foreigner has asked to stay in Canada or longer than the job requires. Depending on the program the applicant is using, the length of a work pass may also be shorter.
Should I bring my Canadian work pass with me when I go to Canada?
If you leave Canada, you will need a legal travel document and your work permit to get back in. You can work in Canada if you have a work permit, but that is not enough to let you go there. To visit Canada, you need a current passport and either a temporary resident visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Can my employer help me get a job in Canada?
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an electronic job offer (LMIA-exempted categories) are two ways for Canadian businesses to help recruit foreign workers to Canada, while Canadian businesses cannot “sponsor” individuals for work in Canada.
If a Canadian company wants to hire a foreign worker, they have to get an LMIA or send an electronic job offer. Once a company has an LMIA or a “A” number, which is an electronic job offer, it can be used to apply for a work permit in Canada.