Canada is a prime destination for many foreign nationals who are seeking employment opportunities. The country boasts a strong and diverse economy with a high-standard of workplace safety, competitive wages, and many opportunities for professional growth and development. In addition to this, working in Canada is an excellent first step for those seeking to immigrate to the country permanently.
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 categories below to determine the work permit which best suits your qualifications: Requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)LMIA Work Permits
- Facilitated LMIA (Quebec)
- Global Talent Stream
LMIA-Exempt but requiring a job offer or employment contract
International Mobility Program (IMP)LMIA-Exempt Work Permits
- 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)
- Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
- Spouse Accompanying International Student
Immigration Tip: Canadian permanent residents do not require a work permit to work in Canada. Permanent resident status gives a person the legal right to live and work anywhere in the country. Find out more about permanent immigration options for professional and skilled workers.
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 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 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.
Not necessarily. A job offer, if required for certain work permit applications, must meet certain requirements in order to be considered valid. For most temporary work permits, 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.
It should be noted that the province of Quebec has its own process for determining the validity of an offer of employment.
The application procedure is different depending on which type of work permit you need. The first step is determining which work permit is best for you. If you need help figuring out the application, simply contact us and a member of our team will assist you with scheduling a consultation
The processing time for a work permit application depends on the type of work permit and the applicant’s country of residence at the time of application. Processing times range anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
There are two types of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications: a regular LMIA and a simplified LMIA. The simplified LMIA is only available in the province of Quebec. The regular LMIA is processed on a case-by-case basis with processing times varying greatly from applicant to applicant. Generally, it takes a minimum of five months to receive a response on a regular LMIA application.
If an employer is eligible for Canada’s Global Talent Stream, they may qualify for expedited LMIA processing. The simplified LMIA completed for Quebec employment is usually processed in approximately two to three months.
It is impossible to give a rate of success for work permit/LMIA applications, as all applications are processed on a case-by-case basis. If an applicant meets the requirements of the LMIA, their application should be approved. However, applications are assessed by individual officers, each exercising their own discretion in choosing whether or not to approve a work permit application.