Canada Work Permit Visa

A work permit is an essential legal document which permits a foreign national to be involved in employment in Canada. This article provides a comprehensive guide to navigating Canada’s work permit system, including significant steps, requirements, important considerations and many other aspects.

A Canadian Work Permit is a unique document issued to specific non-Canadian individuals. Possessing a work permit allows you to work in Canada until the expiration date specified on the document.

Understanding Canada Work Permits

The Canadian government offers different kinds of work permits to temporary immigrants who want to work in Canada with a valid employment offer letter. These work permits can be employer-specific or open work permits. In the case of employer-specific work permits, the job is tied to a specific employer and job, whereas open work permits allow working for any employer in Canada.

Canada’s Shifting Immigration Policy

The welcoming attitude of immigrants in Canada is a key element of its national identity, influencing various aspects such as policies, institutions, and the beliefs of its people. Canadian immigration policy is driven by two main objectives: nation-building and economic development. The former focuses on creating unity and a collective identity, while the latter highlights the significance of immigrants in boosting the country’s economy and international standing.

Who is Eligible To Work In Canada?

Most foreign nationals need to obtain a work permit to be eligible to work in Canada, although there are some exceptions to this rule.

The majority of applicants will need a Canadian job offer backed by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to apply for a work permit. However, some individuals may apply for a work permit without needing an LMIA or a job offer, such as recent graduates of a Canadian Designated Learning Institute (DLI) or the spouse of someone already in Canada on a work or study permit.

The applicants who qualify to apply for a work permit must also meet other eligibility requirements:

  • Candidates must demonstrate their intent to leave the country once their work authorization expires.
  • They must demonstrate sufficient proof of funds to sustain themselves and their family in Canada.
  • Candidates must demonstrate a clean criminal record and be medically admissible to Canada.
  • The employers must be eligible to provide jobs to foreign nationals.
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Types of Canadian Work Permits

Various temporary work permits are available for foreign workers, and each permit has its eligibility criteria. For example, some work permits demand a job offer from a Canadian employer, some require LMIA, while some demand a sponsorship. Here are some categories of work permits:

Requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

LMIA Work Permit is issued to individuals after their future employer has completed a Labour Market Impact Assessment. This assessment demonstrates a need to bring this foreign worker to Canada and that a Canadian could not fill the role.

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): The TFWP lets Canadian employers temporarily hire foreign skilled workers to meet labour market demands in Canada. Different types of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permits exist under the TFWP.
  • Facilitated LMIA (Quebec): It is similar to the federal government’s LMIA but is designed explicitly for the Quebec province. It allows employers to apply for LMIAs without showing evidence of efforts made to recruit a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the job.
  • Global Talent Stream is part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). It is for employers looking to hire highly skilled foreign workers for positions in in-demand occupations under the GTS. Employers may also be referred to designated partners to hire skilled workers with specialized knowledge.
  • LMIA-Exempt but requiring a job offer or employment contract

International Mobility Program (IMP)

In Canada, the International Mobility Program (IMP) enables employers to bring in foreign workers without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The primary goal of this program is to facilitate the entry of foreign workers into Canada for employment purposes, all while addressing the economic and social demands of the country.

Facilitated LMIA-Exempt Program

  • Employers can hire foreign workers without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • This stream provides flexible access to potential employees by exempting employers from the LMIA process.
  • It allows for faster processing times and lower entry requirements for foreign workers.

Reciprocal Employment Program

  • Canadians can work abroad in countries that have a reciprocal agreement with Canada.
  • This program fosters international cooperation and exchange, allowing Canadians to gain work experience in partner countries.
  • It promotes cultural exchange and strengthens economic ties between nations.

Specific Agreements and Initiatives

  • International Experience Canada (IEC): A reciprocal youth exchange program that facilitates work permits for foreign nationals.
  • United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA): Allows for streamlined mobility of professionals across North American borders.
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Enhances labour mobility among participating countries.
  • Canada–European Union Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CETA): This agreement promotes economic cooperation and mobility between Canada and EU member states.

Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)

  • Purpose: PGWPs allow international students who have completed a program of study at a designated Canadian educational institution to work in Canada.
  • Eligibility:
    • Must have completed a full-time program of at least 8 months in duration.
    • Must have graduated from a designated learning institution.
    • The application must be submitted within 180 days of receiving the final marks or graduation.
  • Validity: PGWPs are typically issued for a duration equivalent to the length of the study program (up to a maximum of 3 years).
  • Example: An Indian student who completed a master’s degree in computer science at a Canadian university can apply for a PGWP to gain work experience in Canada after graduation.

Spousal Sponsorship from Inside of Canada

  • Purpose: Allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner for permanent residence from within Canada.
  • Eligibility:
    • The sponsor must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
    • The sponsored spouse or partner must be in Canada and have valid status.
  • Process: The sponsor applies to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to sponsor their spouse or partner.
  • Example: A Canadian citizen married to a foreign national currently residing in Canada can sponsor their spouse for permanent residency.

International Experience Canada (IEC) (Working Holiday Visa)

  • Purpose: IEC allows young people from partner countries to work and travel in Canada.
  • Eligibility:
    • Age requirements vary by country.
    • Must be from a country with a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada.
  • Validity: Work permits issued under IEC are usually valid for up to 12 or 24 months.
  • Example: A French citizen aged 25 can apply for an IEC working holiday visa to explore Canada while working part-time jobs.

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

  • Purpose: BOWPs allow temporary residents (such as international students or workers) to extend their work permit while waiting for a decision on their permanent residence application.
  • Eligibility:
    • Must have a valid work permit that is expiring soon.
    • Must have applied for permanent residence.
  • Example: An Australian worker in Canada whose work permit is expiring can apply for a BOWP to continue working while their permanent residence application is in process.

Spouse Accompanying International Student or Worker

  • Purpose: Allows the spouse or common-law partner of an international student or worker to accompany them to Canada.
  • Eligibility:
    • The student or worker must have a valid study or work permit.
    • The accompanying spouse must apply for an open work permit.
  • Example: A Japanese student studying in Canada can bring their Japanese spouse along by applying for an open work permit for the spouse.

How to Obtain a Canadian Work Permit Visa?

In the context of Canadian immigration, the term “work” covers a wide range of activities, including those that involve payment of wages or commission or that directly compete with Canadians or permanent residents in the labour market, regardless of the length of time involved.

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is typically needed to ensure that the proposed job will not harm Canadian workers. In most cases, a job offer from a Canadian employer is required to apply for a Canadian Work Permit.

Under Canadian immigration regulations, open work permits are allowed in some circumstances. These permits are temporary and not tied to a specific employer, but they can often be renewed while in Canada.

What is an Open Work Permit?

In Canada, an open work permit lets foreigners work for any employer without requiring a specific job offer or Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Unlike employer-specific permits restricting individuals to a particular job, open work permits offer more flexibility and job opportunities in Canada.

Open Work Permit Restrictions: There may be some restrictions depending on the type of job. For example, some jobs require proper medical certification before joining.

Location can also be a restrictive component in your open permit, especially if you have an open permit under the provincial nominee class.
Open permits are not permissible for employers who have failed to comply with federal conditions.

What are the Benefits of a Canadian Work Permit?

A Canadian work permit offers various benefits to international workers seeking employment in Canada. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Access to the Job Market: The most significant benefit is the legal authorization of work in Canada. With a work permit, a candidate can access the vast job market in Canada and find opportunities in various industries and sectors. This will help explore various job prospects and earn valuable job experience.
  2. Pathway to Permanent Residency: A Canadian work permit can often serve as a route to obtaining permanent residency in Canada. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and various Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are examples of immigration pathways that consider work experience in Canada as a key eligibility criterion.
  3. Quality of Life: Canada strongly focuses on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, providing residents with a high standard of living. Employment in Canada can grant individuals and their families access to social benefits, healthcare, education, and recreational activities.
  4. Family Reunification: Certain Canadian work permits grant permission for family members, including spouses and children who are dependents, to join foreign employees in Canada. This promotes family reunification and creates a supportive atmosphere for individuals employed in Canada.
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Canadian Work Permit Visa Fees

  • LMIA-Based Work Permit Application Fee: 155 CAD/person
  • Open Work Permit: 255 CAD/person
  • Post-Graduate Work Permit Fee: 155 CAD + 100 CAD (Open Work Permit fee)
  • Spousal Open Work Permit Fee: 155 CAD + 100 CAD (Open Work Permit fee)

Canada Work Permit Processing Time

The Canadian work permit processing time varies based on multiple factors, including the place from where you are applying and the type of work permit, open or employer-specific. If we ignore the recent changes in the processing times due to Covid-19, most applications take between 1-14 weeks to process. The best way to check the latest work permit processing times changes is to check it online here.

Canadian Work Permit to PR (WP2PR)

Many foreign skilled workers transition from Canadian Work Permit to PR by getting skilled work experience. You may apply for Express Entry programs or any other economic immigration program based on the work experience you gained throughout your Canadian work permit duration. Some of the WP2PR programs you may consider after acquiring at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada are:

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Step-By-Step Canada Work Permit Visa Process

Here is the step-by-step process for Canada Work Permit Visa:

Step 1: Be eligible to work in Canada

To be eligible to work in Canada, you must satisfy one or more conditions mentioned below:

  • Obtain a job offer from a Canadian employer
  • Complete your studies in Canada
  • Apply for an open work permit as a Spouse or common-law partner of a permanent resident, temporary foreign worker or international student
  • Obtain a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV) valid for six months or more
  • Apply while waiting for your permanent residence application decision
  • Apply as a Refugee Claimant
  • Under the Intra-Company Transfer

Apart from that, you must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Being in good physical and mental health
  • Having no record of criminal activity
  • Having enough funds to live in Canada with your family
  • Not being dangerous to Canadian security
  • Not planning to work for an employer in the field of sexual services
  • Not planning to work for an employer ineligible to hire foreign workers

The company you will work for must have an LMIA

  • Once you’ve secured employment, the business must request a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Government of Canada.
  • The government issues an LMIA, which the business can use as authorization to hire temporary foreign employees.
  • You must apply for the position and provide proof that the employer is not displacing Canadian citizens or legal permanent residents by offering you the position.
  • They must demonstrate that hiring foreign labour is necessary because there are no willing, available, or qualified Canadians for that post.
  • You must have the LMIA after they get it before you can apply for a work permit in Canada.

Step 2: Gather Documents

To complete your online application for a Canada work permit visa, you must provide:

  • Completed application forms
  • Passport (valid for more than 6 months after your planned entry date into Canada)
  • A photocopy of your passport and all its pages.
  • 2 photos
  • The LMIA document (if applicable)
  • Proof of status in Canada
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment
  • A written offer of employment
  • Updated CV or résumé
  • Marriage certificate
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)
  • Demonstrate their intent to leave once the work permit expires
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself and your family in Canada and to return home
  • Education diplomas and certificates
  • Complete the medical examination
  • Plan to work with an eligible employer

Step 3: Start Your Canadian Work Permit Application Online

  • Create an account here
  • Log in and Start your Canadian Work Permit Application.
  • Upload your scanned documents
  • Fill in the information, including:
    • personal details
    • employer details
    • passport details and more

Step 4: Paying Application Fees

  • You can use a credit or debit card to make payments
  • Work permit Application fee: 155 CAD
  • Open work permit: 155 CAD + 100 CAD (Addional Fee)
  • The Biometrics Fee: 85 CAD

Step 5: Complete Your Biometrics

Biometrics includes fingerprints and a digital photo for identification. In this step, you make an appointment with an approved Canada Work Permit Visa Application Center to submit your biometrics.

Step 6: Medical Examination

It is necessary to have a medical examination if you plan to stay for more than six months in Canada. Panel Physicians are medical doctors authorized to conduct your immigration medical evaluations.

Step 7: Move to Canada

After that, a visa officer will approve your TRV, and finally, you can fly to Canada and show your Canadian work permit visa at the airport to enter the country.

How ELAAR can help you?

If you want to apply for a work permit, you will require expert guidance to avoid any rejections. It becomes necessary as there are several types of work permits with specific requirements. ELAAR has a team of Canadian work permit experts with significant experience. We will ensure a hassle-free work visa process for you. Get in touch with our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants now.

FAQs: Canada Work Permit Visa

Here are some frequently asked questions about Canadian Work Permit Visa.

Who is the perfect candidate for the Canadian work permit?

There is no single type of ideal candidate for a Canadian Work Permit. You may be eligible in multiple work permit categories if you are highly educated and work in an occupation that would benefit Canadians.

How long will it typically take to process a work permit in Canada?

IRCC may take anywhere from 1 to 9 months to process a work permit. Prospective workers are advised to apply for their work permit as soon as possible.

What is the general processing fee for the Canadian work permit?

The work permit processing fee is currently $CAD 155.

How long does a Canada work visa last?

There is no standard duration for the validity of a Canada work visa. Some are set to expire within 6 months of being issued. Others may be valid for multiple years.

Is proof of funds required for a Canadian work permit?

You may be required to provide proof of funds for certain types of work permits.

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