How to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit

You'll need a Canadian work permit to work legally in the country. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will issue you a work visa for Canada, depending on your job title, occupation, or field of study.

How to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit

Many skilled foreign workers from throughout the world find working in Canada to be an appealing alternative. On Temporary Canadian Work Permits, about 200,000 foreign skilled workers arrive in Canada each year. There is no reason why you can't experience this as well!

Foreign skilled employees must have a temporary job offer from a Canadian business to work temporarily in Canada. And Human Resources and Skills Development Canada must issue them a Temporary Foreign Worker Permit. In addition, if you're looking for work, you might need to know your National Occupation Classification Code (NOC Code) in Canada. By Canadian standards, this code is used to categorize all forms of employment.

What is a Canadian Work Permit?

A work permit is a legal document permitting a foreign national to engage in employment while inside Canada. Canada annually issues about half a million work permits to temporary foreign workers worldwide. If you are from a foreign country, you need a Canadian work permit to be able to work there. To work in Canada, you usually require a work permit. Although, you may occasionally be able to work in Canada without a license or job offer.

A work permit is typically necessary for foreign nationals who desire to engage in temporary employment in Canada. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program are significant initiatives to issue work permits (IMP).

Candidates whose employers receive a favorable Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) are eligible for work permits from the TFWP. A successful LMIA verifies that a foreign worker is required to complete the task at hand and that no Canadian workers are available to carry it out. A favorable LMIA is not necessary for IMP work permits. Instead, they demand that the company post an offer of employment through their employer portal.

Who is Eligible to Work in Canada?

With a few exceptions, the majority of foreign nationals need a permit to be able to work in Canada. Therefore, most applicants will need a Canadian job offer and a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to apply for a work permit.

With some limitations, foreign employees may apply for a work permit without an LMIA or a job offer. A recent graduate from a Canadian Designated Learning Institute (DLI) or the spouse of someone currently possessing a work or study permit in Canada is two examples of this.

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 Work Permits in Canada

Canada issues two types of work permits: employer-specific and open work permits. 

A Canadian work visa can be obtained in a variety of ways. For example, some work permits require a job offer from a Canadian employer; some require that the employer provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and others demand that the applicant have some link to Canada (previous education, spousal sponsorship, etc.).

Employer-Specific Work Permit

An employer-specific work permit includes conditions such as:

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

Candidates applying for an employer-specific work permit must have from their employer a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an offer of employment before using it.

Open Work Permit

An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, but they are issued only in specific circumstances.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The TFWP is designed to assist Canadian firms in filling labor market gaps by hiring foreign workers. TFWP consists of four streams: live-in caregivers, seasonal agricultural workers, and high-skilled and low-skilled workers.

Before entering Canada under the TFWP, foreign employees must obtain a work permit and an accepted job offer. By utilizing the LMIA, IRCC collaborates with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to prevent foreign workers from claiming positions that belong to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

General Eligibility Requirements for a Canadian Work Permit

It would be best if you met the following criteria no matter where you apply:

  • Prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires,
  • show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home,
  • obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (we may ask you to give us a police clearance certificate),
  • not be a danger to Canada's security,
  • be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed,
  • not plan to work for an employer listed with the status "ineligible" on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions,
  • not plan to work for an employer who regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
  • give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.

How to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit

Depending on the kind of work permit a person is looking for, the procedure for getting one in Canada varies considerably. For instance, as part of their study permit authorization, international students in Canada frequently receive automatic permission to work part-time.

For most secure work permit applications, a foreign applicant must have a formal job offer from a Canadian business accompanied by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Even individuals exempt from the LMIA or not required to obtain a work visa should be aware of the special paperwork they must prepare to guarantee they are admitted to Canada. A closed (limited) work permit and an open work permit are the two main ways to obtain a work permit in Canada.

A foreign national with a closed work permit must continue to work for the same employer at the exact location unless their work permit is changed because closed work permits are linked to specific employers.

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

Specific documentation may be needed depending on the type of work permit you are seeking. The following records may need to be submitted with the application for a work permit:

  • Completed application forms
  • Proof of status in Canada (if applicable)
  • Family member's proof of status (if applicable)
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (if relevant)
  • A written offer of employment (if applicable)
  • CV/ résumé
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) (if applicable)
  • Proof that you meet the job requirements
  • A valid copy of your passport
  • Copy of education credential
  • Medical exam results (if requested)
  • Evidence of financial means to stay in Canada and return to home country
  • Proof of payment for applicable government fees
  • Recent passport-sized photos


Furthermore, here are some frequently asked questions about Canadian work permits.

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

The type of work permit requested, and the applicant's current country of residence affect how quickly a work permit application will be processed. The processing process can range from a few weeks to many months.

How long will it take to process my LMIA application?

Applications for a standard LMIA and a simplified LMIA are the two different sorts of LMIAs. Only in the Canadian province of Quebec is the LMIA streamlined and accessible. Processing periods for the normal LMIA vary substantially from application to the applicant and are determined on a case-by-case basis. A conventional LMIA application typically requires a minimum of five months for a response.

Employers can be eligible for accelerated LMIA processing if they meet Canada's Global Talent requirements. For example, the streamlined LMIA completed for employment in Quebec is typically processed in two to three months.

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

If you applied for a work permit online, you could check the status by logging into your online account. Likewise, you can track the status of a paper-based application you submitted by connecting it to your online IRCC account.

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

Your spouse can be qualified for an open work permit if you are for a closed Canadian work permit. If your partner qualifies, they must apply for a work permit. They must typically submit an online application for this permit.

How can I extend my work permit?

In general, temporary foreign workers who want to extend their work permits must submit an online application. It is advised to apply for a new work permit at least 30 days before your existing one expires if you want to do so. Although this is only a suggestion, an applicant must submit an extension request until the final day of the expiration.

Can I get a Canadian work permit without a job offer?

To apply for a work visa, foreign people who want to work in Canada often need to receive a documented job offer from a Canadian business. However, to work anywhere in Canada for any company, foreign workers may occasionally be able to apply for an open work visa without having received a job offer.

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

A visa is a travel document used to enter the country, whereas a Canadian work permit allows foreign citizens to work there. A visa, also known as a temporary residence visa (TRV), is an actual sticker affixed to your passport and serves as a means of transportation that enables foreign citizens to enter Canada or through a Canadian airport. Even if you have a current work permit, you cannot reenter Canada without a current visa or eTA.

How long are Canadian work permits valid?

With rare exceptions, Canadian work licenses usually last between one and two years. Typically, a visa officer won't provide a work permit for a while longer than the passport's expiration date or the period specified on the applicant's Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Additionally, a work visa will not be granted for a period that exceeds the duration the foreign national has sought to remain in Canada or the job offer needs that. Depending on the program the applicant is applying under, the work permit period could also be shortened.

Do I need my Canadian work permit to enter Canada?

If you leave the country, you must return with a valid travel document and work permit. You can travel to Canada without a work permit, but it does allow you to work there. You will need a current passport, a temporary resident visa, or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada.

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Final Thoughts

A work permit is not necessary for Canadian permanent residents to work there. A person who has been granted permanent resident status can live and work anywhere in the nation. Starting your job search in Canada may seem intimidating. Fortunately, persons looking for a formal job offer from a Canadian employer can access a wide range of services. Before submitting any applications, take the time to prepare your resume and customize your social media presence!

As we said earlier, certain positions in Canada may require a person to know their National Occupation Classification Code (NOC Code). This code is used to classify all types of employment by Canadian standards.

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