Apply For A Work Permit in Canada
Working in Canada is a great way to immerse yourself in Canadian culture and determine if a future in Canada is best for you and your family. Foreign workers who have spent time working in Canada have many different options to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Temporary foreign workers require a work permit in order to work legally in Canada.
There are three main categories of Canadian work permit:
- Open work permits
- LMIA based work permits
- LMIA exempt work permits.
Within each of these categories, there are numerous subcategories and each has its own set of work permit requirements that must be met in order for the work permit to be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
There are various rules respecting where you can apply for a work permit, depending on the type of permit you are seeking. Some applications can only be submitted at a visa office overseas, some can be requested from Canada Border Services Agency as a Canadian port of entry, and certain work permit applications can only be made from inside Canada.
Open Work Permits
An open work permit means that you are entitled to work in Canada in any occupation, in any location and for any employer. This type of work permit allows you to apply for jobs in much the same way as a Canadian citizen, because the Canadian employer doesn’t need to get permission to hire you. An open work permit is a big advantage when seeking a job in Canada.
Open work permits are only available to people in specific circumstances – you can’t just apply for an open work permit because you want one. If everyone could get an open work permit, half of the world would be applying to work in Canada.
Currently, people in the following situations will qualify for an open work permit in Canada:
- A spouse, common law partner or child aged 18-22 of a foreign worker in Canada
- A spouse or common law partner of an international student with a valid study permit
- Principal applicants who have applied for several categories of permanent residence in Canada
- Spouse or common law partners who have applied for permanent residence via inland sponsorship
- International Experience Participants (Working Holiday visa)
- International graduates who completed a designated study program in Canada
- Refugee claimants
- Others who fall within specific public policies, like the current policy for Ukrainian citizens or Turkish and Syrian nationals
An open work permit can be issued for different lengths of time. If your open permit is based on your spouse’s status in Canada, it will be issued to match the expiry of your spouse’s work or study permit. A bridging open work permit, for those who have applied for Permanent Residence inside Canada, is issued for 12 months. An open work permit for spouse or common law partners being sponsored via the inland class is generally issued for 2 years.
The government fee for an open work permit application is $255 + biometrics ($85) if you have not already submitted biometrics within the past ten years.
LMIA Work Permits
In order to hire most types of foreign workers, Canadian employers must first obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment or LMIA. An LMIA is an application made to the government of Canada to show that there are no Canadian workers available to fill a position, and to seek permission to hire a foreign worker for the role. When this application is approved, a positive LMIA is issued and the foreign worker makes an application for a work permit using the LMIA.
When you apply for an LMIA work permit for Canada, work permit applicants need to demonstrate that you will be able to perform the duties of the job being offered, according to the requirements the employer mentioned in the Labour Market Impact Assessment application. You also need to demonstrate that you have a decent life outside of Canada and you intend to respect Canada’s immigration rules if you are approved to work here.
An approved LMIA based work permit is an employer specific work permit – it specifies the name of the Canadian employer, the location of the work and the job that you are authorized to perform. Work permit holders cannot change any of those aspects of your work in Canada, or start a different job, unless you have a new LMIA and obtain a new work permit. This is commonly referred to as a closed work permit. It is important to understand and comply with the conditions on your work permit.
An LMIA work permit is generally issued for 12-36 months, depending on the type of job being offered and the specifics of the Labour Market Impact Assessment approval.
The government fee for an LMIA work permit is $155 + biometrics ($85) if you have not already submitted biometrics within the past ten years.
LMIA Exempt Work Permits
Certain types of jobs and certain nationalities of foreign workers are eligible to apply for an LMIA exempt work permit in Canada. Types of LMIA exempt work permits include:
- Intercompany transferees
- Workers who are mentioned in an international trade agreement like CUSMA or GATS
- Young professionals or International CO-OP permits under the IEC program
- Provincial Nominee Work Permits
- Francophone Mobility Work Permits
- Researchers & post doctoral fellows
- Religious workers
- Reciprocal permits, where Canadians have the opportunity to also work internationally
- Entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Canada
Before the worker submits an LMIA exempt work permit application, the Canadian employer must register for the IRCC Employer Portal and submit an electronic job offer. The job offer must include the proper LMIA exemption code for the specific type of LMIA exemption that the worker is eligible for, as well as details about how the worker qualifies for the exemption. When a job offer has been submitted, IRCC issues a job offer number that must accompany the work permit application.
When you apply for an LMIA exempt work permit for Canada, you need to include evidence to show that you can perform the duties of the job being offered, but you also need to demonstrate how you meet the requirements of the LMIA exemption you are asking for.
An LMIA exempt work permit specifies the name of the Canadian employer, the job authorized, and the location where the temporary foreign worker can work. This is a type of closed work permit.
The government fee for an LMIA exempt work permit is $155 + biometrics ($85) if you have not already submitted biometrics within the past ten years.
How to Renew or Extend a Work Permit Canada
Many types of Canadian work permit can be renewed or extended before the expiry date, in order that you can continue to work in Canada until either your work project is finished or you qualify as a permanent resident. In most cases, you can apply online to extend your work permit while you are inside Canada, and you will benefit from maintained status that allows you to remain legally working until you receive a decision on your new work permit application from IRCC. The legalities of where to apply for which type of work permit and who receives maintained status can be complicated, so we recommend that you consult with an expert to ensure that you get it right according to your specific situation.
Increase Your Chances Of Success With Our Canadian Work Permit Application Process
Our firm has extensive experience in representing work permit applications both inside and outside of Canada. We have a solid understanding of the requirements for each different type of work permit, as well as a keen grasp of the subtle differences between the various Canadian visa posts worldwide. We tailor our application process to ensure the greatest chance of success by taking into consideration which visa office will be responsible for processing the application.
We can help you to work in Canada by first determining the type of work permit you may qualify for, and then building the unique case that increases your chances of being approved.