Many skilled and unskilled foreign workers worldwide are attracted to the Canadian work experience, with up to 200,000 foreign skilled workers receiving temporary Canadian work permits each year.  If you want to join this stream of workers, here is everything you need to know about getting a Canadian work permit.

What is a Canadian Work Permit?

A Canadian work permit allows foreign workers to obtain jobs within Canada. Usually, you need a permit to work in Canada, but there are situations where you can accept a position within the country without one.

Types of Canadian Work Permits

Those looking to work in Canada can apply for any one of the following types of Canadian work permits:

Open Work Permit

This work permit allows immigrants to work for any employer-based anywhere in Canada. However, the employer must adhere to certain conditions. Otherwise, they will be deemed ineligible to hire a foreign worker with an open work permit.

Employer-Specific Work Permit

This type of permit comes with a set of conditions that the holder must adhere to;

  • You will be working for a specific employer based in a particular location
  • You can only live and work in Canada for a set amount of time

Getting an employer-specific work permit usually requires you to collaborate with your Canadian employer. You will need an offer of employment number or a copy of your Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before you can start your application process.

An LMIA is a document proving that a Canadian citizen cannot fill the job you’re applying for. The process of obtaining one is fairly complex, but fortunately, your employer is required to apply for an LMIA on your behalf. Once they do, they will send you a copy that you can use in your visa application process.

Occupations that bring economic, cultural, and other advantageous benefits to Canada do not require an LMIA.

Who is Eligible for a Canadian Work Permit?

There are many types of work permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program.

International Mobility Program

Foreign nationals can apply for open or closed worked permits. Since you don’t require an LMIA, permits are usually processed within two weeks. 

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Work permits under the TFWP are strictly limited and will usually require a Labor Market Impact Assessment document. Therefore, it will take quite a while to receive a TFWP work permit.

Following are the work permit streams covered by the TFWP:

  • High Wage Worker Stream: Foreign workers in this stream earn the equivalent or an excess of the average hourly wage of the Canadian province they will be working in. 
  • Low Wage Worker Stream: Temporary foreign workers earn less than the median hourly wage of the Canadian province or territory they’ll be working in.
  • Global Talent Stream: Workers in this talent stream must be deemed to possess unique and specialized talents.
  • Seasonal and Non-Seasonal Agricultural Worker Stream: Foreign workers under this stream work in the agricultural sector.

The type of permit you qualify for is influenced by factors such as your age, skills and qualifications, immigration status, home country, and the kind of work you intend to do in Canada.

Application requirements

When applying, you must show/prove that you:

  • Will have enough money to support yourself and your family during your period of stay and that you plan to return home when your permit expires
  • Are in good health. Sometimes, you will be required to undergo a medical examination
  • Do not plan to work for an ineligible employer
  • Are a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record
  • Meet the requirements of the job position being offered in Canada

You will need to present certain documents for your work permit to be considered. The papers you present will depend on the type of work permit you are applying for. Generally, here is everything you will need for your work permit application:

  • A valid passport or travel document, with at least six months of validity remaining
  • Two identical photos of yourself and any accompanying family members
  • A police clearance certificate not older than six months to show that you have not been convicted of any crime. If you have resided in another foreign country for at least six months within the past ten years, you are also required to present a police clearance certificate from that country
  • If you’re traveling with family members, you have to provide documents proving your relationships to them, such as birth and marriage certificates
  • If your work permit requires an LMIA, you have to give a copy of the LMIA document and the job offer from your employer
  • If your work permit doesn’t require an LMIA, you need to use a copy of your employment contract and the Offer of Employment ID number or the IMM5802 document

You will also have to complete and sign forms provided by the IRCC, including an IMM 5707 (Family Information Form). If you are applying from outside Canada, you must complete form IMM 1295 (Application for Work Permit made Outside of Canada).

How to Apply

Applications for work permits are made online. However, if you are applying from outside Canada, you will be required to undergo biometrics at the Canadian consulate or another designated agency in your home country. If you have ever traveled to Canada within the past ten years and provided your biometrics during the visit, you won’t be required to provide them again.

Before submitting your application, make sure that there are no mistakes or missing information. You may also receive an interview invitation with an immigration officer or need to provide results from a complete medical examination. After that, your work permit application will be processed. If approved, you will receive a confirmation letter informing you that you can now work in Canada.

In Canada

Once in Canada, your work permit will be issued by customs officials. It will outline your employer, occupation, location, and period of work in Canada.

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