Canadian Work Permit
& Visa Process


A work permit is a legal document permitting a foreign national to engage in employment while inside of Canada. Each year, Canada issues about half a million work permits to temporary foreign workers around the world.

Canada is a prime destination for many foreign nationals who are seeking employment opportunities. Working in Canada is also an excellent first step for those seeking to immigrate to the country permanently.

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To apply for a work permit, most candidates will require a Canadian job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment(LMIA). There are some exceptions to this requirement, where foreign workers can apply for a work permit without an LMIA, or a job offer. Examples of exceptions include a recent graduate from a Canadian Designated Learning Institute(DLI), or the spouse of someone already on a Canadian work or study permit.

Candidates who qualify to apply for a work permit must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Demonstrate their intent to leave once their work authorization expires; and
  • Prove they have sufficient funds to support them and their family in Canada and to return home; and
  • Are not criminally or medically inadmissible to Canada; and
  • Plan to work with an eligible employer; and
  • Can provide any requested documents that may prove their eligibility to enter Canada

Types of Canadian Work permits

There are many different options for obtaining a Canadian work permit. Some work permits require a job offer from a Canadian employer, some require that the employer provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), while others require that a person has some sort of connection to Canada (previous education, spousal sponsorship, etc). Please refer to the following categories below to determine the work permit which best suits your qualifications:

Requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program(TFWP)
  • Facilitated LMIA(Quebec)
  • Global talent stream

LMIA-Exempt but requiring a job offer or employment contract

  • International Mobility Program(IMP)
  • NAFTA work permits
  • CETA talent stream
  • 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

How to obtain a Canadian work permit

The process for obtaining a Canadian work permit varies greatly depending on which type of work permit a person is applying for. For example, an international student studying in Canada will oftentimes be automatically issued authorization to work part-time as part of their study permit authorization.

Most closed work permit applications require that a foreign national has an official job offer from a Canadian employer which is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Even those who are LMIA-exempt or exempt from requiring a work permit should be aware of the unique documentation they need to prepare in order to ensure they are granted entry to Canada. There are two general pathways for obtaining a Canadian work permit: a closed (restricted) work permit and an open work permit.

Closed work permits are tied to specific employers, this means that a foreign national issued a closed work permit must remain working with the same employer at the same location unless they change their work permit.

If I have a Canadian job offer, am I eligible to apply for a work permit?

Having a Canadian job offer does not necessarily mean you are eligible to apply for a work permit. A job offer must meet certain requirements to be considered valid for certain work permit applications. In most cases, in order to be eligible for a work permit, an applicant’s job offer must be either:

  • Supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA); or
  • Exempt from requiring an LMIA.
  • What am I allowed to do on a Canadian work permit?

    Your physical work permit outlines the specific restrictions attached to your authorization. These limitations will mainly be determined by the type of work permit you are eligible for. Conditions may include the type of work you can engage in, where and for whom you can work, and how long you can work in Canada. All work permit holders are prohibited from working at a business where is are grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitations of some workers.

    Work permit holders are not permanent residents of Canada and must leave the country by the end of their authorized stay. However, if you are working in Canada and would like to remain permanently, complete our free assessment form to receive a full evaluation of your immigration options.

    Can my family be included on my work permit application?

    If you are applying for an employer-supported work permit, you may be eligible to have your spouse and dependent children accompany you to Canada.

    If your children are school-aged and are in Canada, they may attend Canadian educational institutions without requiring a separate study permit. Your spouse or partner may also be eligible to apply for an open work permit, allowing them to work for any employer in Canada.

    How much does a Canadian work permit cost?

    The processing fee for a closed work permit is $155 CAD per person or $255 per person for an open work permit. If you are restoring a work permit or applying as a group of performing artists, additional fees will apply.

    Work in Canada: Canadian Work Permit & Visa Process

    A work permit is an official document that allows a foreigner to be employed in Canada. Canada issues around half a million temporary foreign workers work permits each year.

    Canada is the top destination for foreigners who are looking for employment. For those who want to permanently immigrate, working in Canada can be a great first step.

    Some exemptions apply to foreign nationals who wish to work in Canada.

    Most candidates must have a job offer in Canada, accompanied by a Work Market Impact Assessment. There are exceptions where foreign workers may apply for a permit without a LMIA or a job. This includes recent graduates from a Canadian Designated Learning Institute or spouses of people already on a Canadian study or work permit.

    Who is eligible to work in Canada?

    Candidates who are eligible to apply for a permit of work must also meet these eligibility requirements:

    • Show your intent to leave when your work authorization expires.
    • Prove that they have enough money to support themselves and their families in Canada, and to return to their home country;
    • You are not inadmissible to Canada due to criminal or medical reasons.
    • Work with an employer who is eligible;
    • They can provide any documents requested to prove their eligibility for entry into Canada

    Types of Canadian work permits

    You have many options when it comes to obtaining a Canadian Work Permit. Work permits can be obtained in different ways. Some require an employer to offer a position, others ask for a Labour Market Impact Assessment, and still others demand that the applicant has a connection with Canada (previous studies, spouse sponsorship, etc.). Refer to the categories below to find the right work permit for you:

    • Requiring an Impact Assessment on the Labour Market (LMIA).
    • * Temporary foreign worker program (TFWP).
    • * Facilitated LMIA in Quebec
    • Global Talent Stream
    • LMIA exempt, but requires a job contract or offer of employment
    • International Mobility Program
    • * NAFTA Work Permits
    • * CETA Work Permits
    • * Transfers within the same company
    • Open Work Permits are available without a job offer or LMIA.
    • Permits for Post-Graduation Employment (PGWP).
    • * Spousal sponsorship from within Canada
    • Working Holiday Visa for International Experience Canada
    • * Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
    • The Spouse of an International Student or Worker

    Canadian permanent residents don't need a work permit in order to work. A permanent resident is a legal status that allows a person to work and live anywhere in Canada. Learn more about the permanent immigration options available to professionals and skilled workers.

    How to obtain a Canadian work permit

    It is important to note that the process of obtaining a Canadian Work Permit varies depending on what type of permit you are applying for. As an example, a international students studying at a Canadian university will be automatically granted authorization to work part-time in conjunction with their permit authorization.

    The majority of closed work permit applications will require a foreign national to have an official job offer made by a Canadian employer, which must be accompanied by a labour market impact assessment. It is important that all applicants, whether exempted from the LMIA or not required to obtain a work permit, are aware of what documents they will need to provide to be granted entry into Canada. The two main paths to obtaining a Canadian Work Permit are a closed work permit (restricted work permit) and an open work permit.

    Closed work permits can only be issued to specific employers. This means that foreign nationals who have been granted a closed permit are required to continue working for the same employer in the same location, unless they decide otherwise.

    If I have a Canadian job offer, am I eligible to apply for a work permit?

    A Canadian job offer is not a guarantee that you will be eligible to apply for work permits. For certain work permit applications, a job offer must be valid. To be eligible for a permit in most cases, the job offer of an applicant must either:

    • If a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment is available;
    • Exempted from the requirement of an LMIA.

    The province of Quebec uses its own system to determine the validity of a job offer.

    What am I allowed to do on a Canadian work permit?

    The physical work permit will outline the restrictions that are attached to your authorization. The type of work permit that you qualify for will determine the main limitations. The conditions may include what type of work is allowed, who and where you can work for, and how long it's possible to work in Canada. All work permit holders cannot work at any business where there is a suspicion of sexual exploitation of workers.

    The holders of work permits are not considered permanent residents of Canada, and they must leave Canada at the end of the period of time that is authorized. If you're working in Canada, but would like to stay permanently, fill out our free assessment form for a complete evaluation of your immigration choices.

    Can my family be included on my work permit application?

    You may be able to bring your spouse or dependent children to Canada if you apply for an employer-sponsored work permit.

    Your children can attend Canadian educational institutes without needing a separate permit if they are of school age and in Canada. You or your partner may be eligible for an open work visa, which allows them to work with any employer in Canada.

    How much does a Canadian work permit cost?

    Processing fees for closed work permits are $155 per person, or $255 for open work permits. Additional fees apply if you're restoring an expired work permit or submitting a request as a performing artist group.

    How do I apply for a work permit?

    The application process is different based on the type of work authorization you require. First, you need to decide which type of work permit suits you best. If you are having trouble figuring out how to apply, you can Contact us a member of the team who will help you schedule a consultation.

    What documents are required to apply for a Canadian work permit?

    Documents required to apply for a Canadian Work Permit will vary depending on the type. As part of the work permit application, applicants may be required to submit these documents:

    • Fill out the application form
    • Please provide proof of your status as a Canadian citizen (if applicable).
    • Proof of family member's status (if applicable).
    • Labour Market Impact Assessment
    • Offer of Employment in Writing
    • CV/ Resume
    • Marriage Certificate (if applicable).
    • Certificate acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) (if applicable)
    • You must provide proof that you have the required qualifications for the position.d
    • Copy of your passport
    • Copy of Education Credential
    • Results of medical examinations (if requested).
    • Financial means to remain in Canada or return to the home country
    • Payment of applicable fees
    • Recent passport-sized photos

    Biometrics for Canadian work permits

    IRCC has a temporary measure that allows applicants to apply for a Canadian work permit without having to submit biometrics. Candidates who are not Canadian citizens must still provide biometrics after receiving the biometrics instructions letter.

    You can find instructions on how to provide your biometrics by visiting the page dedicated to Canada.

    Police clearances for Canadian work permits

    You may be asked to submit police clearance certificates by the visa officer who is reviewing your application. This document could be included in your initial application checklist, depending on where you're applying from.

    The applicant for a work permit may be asked to submit a police clearance from whichever country they lived in at least 6 months after turning 18.

    Medical exam for Canadian work permit

    Foreign nationals who apply to work in Canada might need to undergo a medical examination, depending on the length of their stay, where they've lived and what they plan to do.

    You will not need a medical examination if you plan to work in Canada less than six months. However, there are some exceptions. If you plan to work in an occupation that puts you in close contact with other people, or if you are an agricultural worker who has visited certain countries you will require a medical examination.

    If you plan to work in Canada longer than six months, you may be required to undergo a medical examination if you meet one of the conditions listed below:

    • You've lived or traveled in one of the countries on Canada's Find Out if you Need a Medical Exam' page for 6 months or more,
    • You plan to work in a occupation in which you will have close contact with the people mentioned in the hyperlink above

    IRCC has designated a list of panel physicians who can perform medical exams. On IRCC's Locate a Panel Doctor webpage, you can search for a panel doctor near you.

    The applicant can choose to undergo an initial medical examination. The panel physician will contact you directly to schedule the exam. You can submit your work permit application after the exam. The IRCC will provide instructions to you on how to complete your medical examination and a deadline to submit it.

    Photo requirements for Canadian work permit

    For foreign nationals who are applying for a Canadian Work Permit, they must submit a passport sized photo along with their application. The photo must meet IRCC specifications.

    How long will it take to process my work permit application?

    The processing time of a work permit depends on both the type of permit and the country of residence of the applicant at the time of the application. Processing times can range from a few days to several months.

    How long will it take to process my LMIA application?

    There are two different Labour Market Impact Assessment applications. The regular LMIA application and the simplified LMIA application. The simplified LMIA can only be used in Quebec. The regular LMIA will be processed case by case, with a wide range of processing times. It takes at least five months for a regular LMIA to be processed.

    Employers who are eligible for Canada's Global Talent Stream may be eligible for expedited LMIA. The LMIA for Quebec is typically processed within two to three weeks.

    What is the rate of success for work permit/LMIA applications?

    As each application is handled on an individual basis, it's impossible to provide a success rate for work permits/LMIAs. The application of a candidate who meets the LMIA requirements should be approved. Individual officers are responsible for assessing each application and deciding whether to approve or deny it.

    How can I check the status of my work permit application?

    You can check the status of your online work permit by logging into your account. You can check the status of a paper application by connecting it to your online IRCC account.

    Reasons a work permit application is refused

    Refusal of a work permit can be devastating. A work permit may be denied for many reasons. If you are unsure why your application was denied, GCMS notes can give you a better understanding. They will also help address any concerns raised by the officer if and when you decide to reapply.

    These are some of the most common reasons why a work permit is denied:

    • The officer wasn't convinced that you can perform the work as intended;
    • The officer wasn't convinced that you would be returning to your country of origin at the end your authorized stay in Canada.
    • The work permit that you applied for does not meet your criteria

    How can I include my spouse and dependents on my work permit application?

    Your spouse may be entitled to an open Canadian work permit if you apply for a closed Canadian permit.

    Your spouse will be required to apply for a work permit if they are eligible. Most of the time, this permit must be applied for online.

    How do I activate my work permit?

    The way you apply and where you come from will determine how to activate your work permit.

    How to activate your work permit after you have applied from Canada

    If you are approved for a Canadian work permit after applying from Canada, IRCC will send you an approval letter. If you submitted your application online, it will be available in your account. If you applied on paper, the letter will arrive at your postal address. After you receive your letter of approval, your actual work permit will be mailed to you. You can work in Canada with the permit that you receive.

    How to activate your work permit if you applied from outside Canada

    You will receive an email with instructions for obtaining your work permit from the Canadian Port of Entry (POE) if your application was approved. If you applied online, your account will show the letter of instructions. If you submitted your application on paper, the letter would be sent to your postal address.

    How to activate your work permit from the port of Entry

    Certain applicants may qualify to apply for a permit to work at the Canadian port of entry. You will need to provide documents that prove your eligibility when applying for a permit at the border. The officer can print out the work permit at the border if it is approved. The work permit is immediately usable.

    How to find a job in Canada

    You may find it difficult to start the job search in Canada. There are a number of resources available to those who want an official job from a Canadian company. Canadim has a number of resources that can be used to help you with your job search. Before sending any applications, take some time to tailor your social media profile and prepare your resume.

    • Canadian Resume Guide
    • Social Media Presence Guide

    Some positions in Canada require that a person know their National Occupation Classification Code. This code is used by Canadian standards to classify every type of employment. Canadim also has a tool that will help you find your NOC Code.

    Benefits of working in Canada

    There are many advantages to working in Canada. Canadian labour laws guarantee a safe workplace and ensure that employers adhere to certain laws and regulations in order to protect their employees. Canadian wages are also competitive, and foreigners are required by law to receive wages that are equivalent to those of their Canadian counterparts.

    Some Canadian work permits allow spouses and children to come to Canada with the worker. By gaining Canadian experience, foreign nationals can increase their eligibility to a number Canadian permanent residence programs. These programs offer varying levels of value for Canadian work experience.

    • Express Entry
    • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
    • Federal Skilled Worker
    • Federal Skilled Trades
    • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
    • Quebec Immigration Programs
    • Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

    How can I extend my work permit?

    In general, foreign temporary workers who are eligible for an extension of their work permit will need to apply online. It is recommended that you extend your work permit at least 30 calendar days before your current permit expires. Although this is only a recommendation, an applicant can technically request an extension until the day before the expiration date.

    Contact us for more information about whether or not you qualify to extend your work visa.

    Do Canadian work permits have an age limit?

    For foreign workers to be eligible for a Canadian work visa, they must be 18 years old. The maximum age of applicants for a work permit is 18 years old unless they apply under the International Experience Canada program.

    Can I apply for Canadian health insurance while on a work permit?

    Each province and territory administers its own health insurance plan. Applicants with work permits are eligible to apply for health insurance in certain provinces. In most provinces, residents must be physically present in the province for a specified number of days to qualify for health insurance.

    What is the difference between a Canadian work permit and visa?

    A Canadian work permit allows foreign nationals to be employed in Canada. However, a visa is an entry document used to enter Canada.

    The temporary resident visa (TRV) is a sticker that you place in your passport. It acts as a travel document and allows foreign nationals to enter Canada, or transit through an airport.

    You cannot enter Canada without a valid Visa or eTA Even if your work permit is valid.

    Do I need IELTS to apply for a Canadian work permit?

    Canada does not require applicants for work permits to take the IELTS exam or any other English language or French language test. If the job offers require French or English language skills and the applicant comes from a non French or English speaking country, the officer may ask for proof of language ability, such as a test.

    How long are Canadian work permits valid?

    Canadian work permits usually last between 1-2 years. However, there are exceptions. Visa officers will not usually issue work permits for more than the validity period of a passport or the duration indicated in the Labour Market Impact Assessment. Work permits will not be granted for any longer than the period of time the foreign national applied to remain in Canada or the length of time required by the job offer. A work permit's length may be reduced depending on which program an applicant applies for.

    Do I need my Canadian work permit to enter Canada?

    You will also need a valid travel document if you are traveling outside Canada. Work permits allow you to work and travel in Canada. You will also need a valid passport and either a temporary residence visa or Electronic Travel Authorization.

    Can my employer sponsor me to work in Canada?

    Employers in Canada do not "sponsor", but they can help bring foreign workers to Canada by obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment or submitting a job offer electronically (in categories exempt from the LMIA).

    Canada requires any Canadian employer that wishes to hire an overseas worker, obtain an LMIA. An employer can apply for a Canadian Work Permit once they have obtained an LMIA (or the "A" Number, which is an electronic job offer) or an LMIA.