How To Apply For a Canadian Work Permit

Canada is a major destination for several foreign nationals who are in search of employment opportunities. The country prides itself on a rich and diverse economy with a high standard of a safe workplace, competing wages, and uncountable opportunities for professional growth and development.

Furthermore, working in Canada is a commendable initial step for those intending to immigrate to the country permanently.

For you to work in Canada, it is extremely important to have proper authorization, because working without proper authorization has grave consequences and this will have a negative effect on your subsequent immigration applications. That being said, foreign nationals who wish to temporarily work in Canada require a work permit. 

Types Of Canadian Work Permit

There are numerous options by which you can obtain a Canadian work permit. Some work permits entail getting a job offer from a Canadian employer and for some, the employer will provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), while for the rest, the person is required to have some sort of connection to Canada either through previous education, spousal sponsorship, and so on.

Kindly take a look at the below categories to determine the work permit that is most suitable for your qualifications.

 (LMIA- here a Labour Market Impact Assessment is required)

This implies that a Labour Market Impact Assessment confirms that there is a vacant position that has to be filled by a foreign worker and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

 Here, a Labour Market Impact Assessment is required. This implies that a Labour Market Impact Assessment confirms that there is a vacant position that has to be filled by a foreign worker and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.

  • LMIA Work Permits
  • Facilitated LMIA (Quebec)
  • Global Talent Stream

International Mobility Program (IMP)

IMP work permits do not require an LMIA as a criterion for obtaining a work permit. Nevertheless, you still need a job offer or employment contract which requires the employer to submit an employment offer under their employer portal.

  • LMIA-Exempt Work Permits
  • NAFTA Work Permits
  • CETA Work Permits
  • Intra-Company Transfers

Open Work Permits (here you don’t need  any job offer or LMIA)

An open work permit is different from a regular work permit because no particular job or employer is specified.  It permits you as a holder to work for any employer in Canada, nevertheless, they are issued only in specific conditions.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)
  • Spousal Sponsorship from Inside of Canada
  • International Experience Canada (IEC)
  • Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
  • Spouse Accompanying International Student

Exemptions To Canadian Work Permit

 Certain occupations are exempted from getting a work permit and you may also qualify for a Canadian work permit exemption in one of the following circumstances:

Foreign representatives.

Family members of foreign representatives

Athletes and team members

Performing artists

News reporters, media crews

Public speakers

Convention organizers

Business Visitors


Judges, referees, and similar officials

Examiners and evaluators

Expert witnesses or investigators

Foreign government officers

Health care students

Civil aviation inspector

Transportation Crew

Aviation accident or incident inspector

On-campus employment

Military personnel

Implied Status

Please note that  Canadian permanent residents do not need to obtain a work permit before they are allowed to work in Canada. Permanent resident status automatically gives you the legal right to live and work anywhere within the country. You can find out more about permanent immigration options for professional and skilled workers.

How Can You Apply for a Canadian work permit?

Getting a Canadian work permit depends on which type of work permit a person is applying for. For Instance, a foreign student schooling in Canada will most likely be automatically issued authorization to work part-time as part of their study permit authorization.

To obtain a Canadian work permit, there are majorly two steps you ought to take.

Step 1

This approach is taken in the majority of cases. You have to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

This requires that a Canadian employer that is supported by an LMIA will give you a job offer that is after the employer certifies that no permanent resident or citizen is qualified for the said position and this implies that you must remain working for the employer at the same location unless the work permit is changed. 

Also note that, usually, work permits are employer-specific unless a worker is in possession of an open work permit

An employer-specific work permit involves conditions such as:

  • Name of a specific employer,
  • How long a candidate can work,
  • The location of a candidate’s work.

Moreover, those who are LMIA-exempt should have knowledge of the unique documentation they need to prepare in order to make sure they are granted entry to Canada.

Step 2

After you must have been issued an LMIA, you can go ahead to apply for a Canadian work permit on that basis.

Duration Of Work Permit 

You should note that all Canadian work permits have an expiry date. There is just one way you can work permanently in Canada or for an unspecified duration and that is by acquiring a permanent resident status.

There is a limit to the length of Canadian work permits as well as the accumulated time duration a foreigner can work in the country which is usually put by the Canadian government. Also, Non-Canadians can work in Canada- consecutively or in between permits for 48 months or four years in total.

On the expiration of four years, foreign workers will have to leave Canada and remain outside of the country for a minimum of 48 months (4 years) before they are eligible to work in Canada again.

Advantages of Working in Canada

By now, you may be wondering why people apply for Canadian jobs. Working in Canada has numerous advantages. The labor law in Canada ensures that there is a high degree of safety in workplaces and that all employers obey the laws and regulations to ensure the well-being of their employees.

 Furthermore, Canadian wages are competitive and foreigners, by law, are paid just the same wages as their Canadian counterparts.

Conclusively, some Canadian work permits allow the spouse and children of workers to join them in Canada. Another important advantage for those intending to migrate permanently to Canada is that by acquiring Canadian work experience, a foreign national may improve their eligibility for a number of Canadian permanent residency programs. Here are some programs that  award value, in different degrees, for Canadian work experience:

  • 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

We hope that by now, you must have gained insight into all that has to do with the application for a Canadian work permit.

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