Work Permit – Canada | Types, Requirements and Application Process
With a large number of immigrant workers being added to the skilled workforce of Canada, the provision of a work permit is very important. A Canadian work permit is an authorization for offshore workers issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to apply for a job or take one within Canada. You usually need a work permit to work in Canada, but you can even work without a permit or job offer in Canada.
Let us discuss Work Permit in detail in the following sections.
What is a Canada Work Permit?
Canadian Work Visa or Work Permit is issued to eligible and innovative individuals from other countries to work in the country for a certain time period. It is a temporary way to get entry into the country.
Work permits are given mainly in areas where the Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) show that there are less number of workers to work as business people, students, caregivers and agricultural workers. Previously, these assessments were very crucial for the final approval for both temporary or permanent permission to stay in the country. But now, Canada offers several work permit avenues that do not require an LMIA. They are facilitated through free trade agreements between Canada and other countries which allow young people and business people from such countries to gain Canadian work permits. People who want to immigrate need to apply for a Work Visa only after securing a job offer or an employment contract from a Canadian employer.
There are many advantages of a work permit besides being able to work in Canada. After getting your work visa approved, you can travel across the country. If you are a family person and have left your dear ones at home country, you can apply for a dependent visa to call your family members. But the most important facility is that you can apply for permanent residence after gaining some work experience. It will boost your chances for a PR.
Types of Work Permit
Commonly, there are two types of work permits – Open Work Permit and Employer-specific Work Permit.
Open Work Permit
Types, Conditions, and Who can apply:
As the name suggests, this type of permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada. It does not specify any location, job or employer to work under. So, the candidate does not need a job offer or LMIA. He/she can choose to work with any company except those listed as ineligible on the list of employers as they have failed to follow the labour conditions and companies associated with escort services and similar jobs. But it can come with certain conditions which will be written on it like the type of work, the location and the duration.
Open Work Permits are of two types- Unrestricted and Restricted Open Work Permit. The names themselves will tell you about them. So, while Restricted Open Work Permits regulate the occupation or the location of the person, an unrestricted open permit allows a person to work in any location and job. The difference between the Restricted Open Permit and the Employer-specific Work Permit is that the former does not have limitations regarding the employee, so people applying for these work permits do not have to qualify the LMIA.
The open work permit is very conducive to the workers, but it is available under specific conditions. Given below are the conditions needed for an open work permit:
- You have to prove that you have enough financial resources to support your stay along with your family in Canada while your work permit is valid.
- Unless you prove that you do not have a record of criminal activities or related to any illegal activity, you will not receive the permit.
- You have to undergo medical tests to show that you are in good health so that you do not create an extra burden on the government healthcare facilities.
- You have to meet the eligibility criteria like language proficiency, proper insurance and adaptability.
Applicants who are part of the following Permits can also avail the Open Work Permit:
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program Spousal Permit
- Bridging Open Work Permit
- Post-Graduation Work Permit
- Temporary Work Permits for spouses
- Temporary Resident Permit
- World Youth Program Permit
Employer-specific Work Permit
An Employer-specific permit allows an applicant to work in Canada on the conditions mentioned on the permit, like the name of the specific employer he/she to work for, the duration of the work and the specific location, if any. Before the person submits the application, the employer has to follow certain rules and provide you with a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment or an offer of employment number. It has to be included in your application to showcase your employment opportunity.
Dependent Work Permit
Requirements and Documents Needed:
Besides these two popular types of work permits, there is another kind. It is known as the Dependent Work Visa. The Canadian government permits immigrant workers to bring their family members who are dependent on them. For that, the primary applicant needs to have an open work permit for him/herself. Based on this permit, the children can join the Canadian educational institutions, and the partner/spouse can apply for their own open work permit. It has to be noted that only dependent children and spouse/partners are allowed to avail this permit. Parents, grandparents or other relatives can only be sponsored by the primary applicant when he/she achieves permanent residency.
There are certain details you need to keep in mind while sponsoring your family members for Dependent Visa for Canada. They are as follows:
- You have to submit evidence of your financial condition for the past 12 months to show that you are financially capable of meeting the basic needs of yourself and your family.
- In case of a dependent child/children, you have to be careful that –
- The child/children should be less than 22 years of age. The child/children can be your biological or adopted ones.
- You have to provide a birth certificate or adoption papers in order to confirm your relationship with the dependent/adopted child/children whom you have sponsored.
- They should be completely dependent on you as the primary provider.
- If the child/children is/are not able to provide for his own needs due to certain reasons, then you have to substantiate that and provide for him/her.
- The dependent members need to provide medical and police certificates to show that they are physically fit (and not be a burden to the healthcare system in Canada), do not have any criminal record, and cannot cause any harm to the country.
As a result to provide evidence and support one’s application, the candidate must submit the following documents:
- Passport & travel history
- Background documentation
- Spouse/partner documentation, including marriage certificate
- Other proof of relationships like birth certificate or adoption certificate
- Completed application & consulate fees
With the increasing number of facilities and conditions, the types of work permits have also increased. While some work permits need a job offer from a Canadian employer, some require that the employer provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). There are others which call for the person to have some sort of connection to Canada, like previous education or work experience, spousal sponsorship, and others. Let us have a look at the types.
- Requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
- Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) which provides LMIA Work Permits.
- LMIA-Exempt but requiring a job offer or employment contract
- International Mobility Program (IMP) – This will provide the following:
- LMIA-Exempt Work Permits
- NAFTA Work Permits
- CETA Work Permits
- Intra-Company Transfers
Open Work Permits
It does not need any job offer or LMIA.
- Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)
- Spousal Sponsorship from Inside of Canada
- International Experience Canada (IEC)
- Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
- Spouse Accompanying International Student
Requirements for Work Permit
Just like any other Program for immigration to Canada, the Work Permit Visa also has some requirements. The conditions are almost the same. So, let us have a quick look at the list so that you can remember all the details whenever needed.
If you are applying from outside of Canada:
- The first and foremost precondition is to prove that you will move out of Canada as soon as the validity of the Work Permit ends. You have to convince the officer in charge who is checking the documents.
- Funding is of utmost importance. So, you have to prove through required documents that you will not be a financial liability to the country and can provide for yourself and your family if they accompany you.
- You have to validate that you do not have any plan to work for any employer who is on the list of ineligible employers prepared by the government as they have failed to follow certain guidelines. Moreover, you do not consider to work for employer who has any relation with escort services, erotic dance or message or stripetease.
- You should have a record of criminal activity and establish the fact that you or your family are not harmful to the country’s well being.
- You should be able to produce a medical certificate to certify that you and your dependents have a sound health condition and will not create pressure on the healthcare system of the country.
Finally, you must be ready to show all the required documents at the port of entry to the officers to demand it. Only after they validate and approve can you enter the country.
What are the documents required for entry?
- A passport with a validity of more than 6 months from the planned date of arrival in Canada.
- Valid work permit for you and your partner, if applicable
- Two recent passport-sized photographs
- Certificates for educational qualification
- Proof of professional qualifications and work experience
- Proof of having adequate financial resources to pay for the expenses during your stay in the country
- Medical examination required to be done from registered hospitals and Biometrics.
- Application fee
If you are applying from inside of Canada:
You apply for a work permit while staying in Canada, when you have/are:
- A valid study or work permit
- Eligible for a post-graduation work permit while your study permit is still valid
- A temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more
- Waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence from inside Canada;
- Made a claim for refugee protection
- Recognized as a convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
- Allowed to work in Canada without a work permit, but you need a work permit to work in a different job, although it does not apply to business visitors
- A trader, investor, intra-company transferee or professional under the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)
Process of applying for Work Permit
The process of applying for a Work Permit depends on the type of work permit you have applied for. A foreign student studying in Canada will automatically receive permission to work part-time as part of their study permit authorization.
For most closed work permit applications, the applicant needs to have an official job offer from a Canadian employer, which is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Even if you are applying for an open work permit or an LMIA-exempt one, you should prepare the documents you might need to be granted entry to Canada.
There are provisions to fill your Work Permit Application both in offline and online mode. Usually, it is done through a form available in Pdf format on the IRCC site. You have to download it, fill it up with the details and take a printout. You will also have to give your biometric with the application.
After you have mailed your work permit application and paid your visa fee along with the necessary documents, it will be checked to ensure if any information is missing or not. If the application is incomplete, it will be sent back to you. You have to undergo a medical and police examination which can take three more months. An officer will check the information you have provided in the application and enquire about the employer (if you have supplied the employer details).
The processing time depends largely on the country. It normally takes 1-27 weeks to process a Canadian Work Permit. After all the checks have been completed, you will be provided with a letter of permission to work in Canada. You have to carry it with you when you arrive and receive your work permit at the entry point.
So, getting a Canadian Work Permit can be easy compared to the Sponsorship Programs or the Express Entry. But do your own research of the type of jobs and have strong financial support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to take the IELTS exam for a work permit in Canada?
Are there any restrictions on my work permit?
What is the LMIA exemption?
How much does the Canadian work permit cost?
How many different kinds of LMIA are there in Canada?