How to Apply for a Work Permit in Canada

As a foreigner who wants to live and work in Canada, you need a Canadian work permit to do so. Without one, no employer will take a chance on hiring you.

A Canadian work permit is a piece of paper that says you are allowed to work and make money in Canada. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) usually give out work permits for Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP).

Work Permit Categories in Canada

There are two kinds of work permits for Canada.

  • Openwork permit and
  • Employer-specific work permit

Open Work Permit

The holder of an openwork permit can work for any company they want, except in the following cases:
  • If the employer is on the list of those who aren’t eligible because they didn’t meet the rules,
  • If the company offers erotic dance, striptease, erotic massage, or escort services.

Employer-Specific Work Permit

As the name suggests, this type of work permit only lets you work for one company. With this kind of work permit, you can work in Canada as long as you follow the rules on your work permit. This includes the name of the employer, how long you can work, and sometimes where you can work.

When you apply for this kind of work permit, your employer must give you an offer of employment number or a copy of LMIA to include with your application.

Who needs a Work Permit to work in Canada?

Most people from outside Canada who want to work in Canada need a work permit. The Canadian government will let a foreign worker work as long as the work permit is still valid.

There are, however, some jobs that don’t need a work permit.

  • Working on campus as an international student
  • Business visitors
  • Clergy
  • Athletes
  • Aviation inspector
  • Military personnel
  • Emergency service provider
  • Public speakers
  • Referees or other similar officials
  • Some categories of farmworkers
  • Convention organizers
  • News reporter and media team
  • Performing artistes
  • Foreign government officers

How long can I work in Canada with a valid work permit?

Most work permits for Canada are good for 12 to 24 months. But a Canadian visa officer can change the length of time a work permit is valid based on when the applicant’s travel document or passport expires.

A visa officer can’t give a person a work permit that is good for a long time after their travel document has run out. Work permits that have run out can be renewed.

What You Need to Do to Get a Work Permit

Here is a list of the paperwork you will need to get a work permit in Canada.

  • A valid passport or travel document with at least 6 months of validity remaining
  • Proof of funds (IEC visa applicants)
  • Two photos of yourself and photos of any accompanying family member
  • Evidence indicating that you meet the requirement of the job being offered
  • Marriage certificate, Birth certificate, or any other proof of relationship between spouses, children, or common-law partners.

Depending on the Canadian work permit program you qualify for and why you want to apply, you may need to send in more documents.

If your work permit program requires LMIA, you will need a copy of your employment contract and an offer of employment ID number.

How to Get a Work Permit for Canada

Most of the application processes have been moved online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, all you have to do is give and send in all the documents that the program you are applying for asks for.

After you send in your application, you may be asked to meet with an immigration officer in the country where you want to live. You may also be asked to provide a medical report, though this is usually not necessary.

Once you’ve sent in your application and reached the point where your biometrics are needed, you’ll get a message telling you where to do it. Both the application and the biometric process cost money.

Once you are approved, you will get a letter letting you know that you can work in Canada and telling you what the rules are for your work permit. This is not, however, your work permit. You will get that when you get to Canada.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Canada?

As long as all of your paperwork is in order and your application is complete, you can get your Canada work permit in as little as two weeks.