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To work legally in Canada, the majority of foreign nationals require a work permit. These permits are offered in various categories based on factors such as the individual’s employment, province of residence, education, and country of citizenship. Work permits are broadly categorized as either employer-specific or open work permits.
Previously known as NAFTA Work Permit, this type of permit is available for American and Mexican citizens who wish to enter to work in Canada.
Free Trade Agreements may grant temporary entry for nationals of certain countries (for example UK, EU, Chile, Columbia, etc.) such as business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, traders and investors.
Intra-Company Transferee work permits apply to employees who are temporarily transferred from international companies in certain countries to work in Canada.
This type of work permit limits your work conditions in Canada to a specified employment. You are usually allowed to work for one specific employer in a pre-defined position.
This type of work permit generally does not have additional conditions imposed on it, which means that you can work for any employer in Canada except for those employers who have failed to comply with the conditions or employers who offer striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.
To qualify for an employer-specific work permit, you must obtain a copy of the employment contract and one of the following:
If you are LMIA-exempt, your employer needs to use the employer portal to apply for an offer of employment number.
Many LMIA-exempt work permits are based on your employers, country of citizenship, professional background, etc. We listed the following primary types of LMIA-exempt work permits:
To qualify for an open work permit, you must meet specific criteria:
The majority of work permit applications can be submitted online. When submitting an online application, we complete the application forms and compile all supporting documents based on your provided information.
After a positive decision is rendered:
Nationals of certain countries may be able to apply for a work permit directly at a Canadian port of entry. Your lawyer will compile the necessary documents and provide the final package to bring with you. An officer will examine your package at the port of entry. If a positive decision is rendered, you will receive your work permit then and there.
Processing times differ depending on the country you apply from and the method of application. Online work permit applications may take up to 6 months to process, while port-of-entry applications are usually obtained immediately.
For up-to-date fees, please visit the Government of Canada’s Fee List.
If you have questions about the Canadian Work Permit process or are ready to start your application, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can provide you with the guidance and support you need to complete the process successfully.
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document employers need to apply for with the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to show the need to hire a temporary foreign worker because no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available for this position. Once a positive LMIA is received by the employer, they can provide you with a copy of the LMIA confirmation letter and the LMIA number. For certain types of LMIAs, you can apply for an LMIA-based work permit from the IRCC along with your employment contract, job offer and other supporting documents.
There are mainly 6 types of LMIAs:
In most cases, yes. If you are a foreign national and you want to work in Canada, you will need to apply for a work permit. There are some exceptions, such as for people who are exempt from the requirement to obtain a work permit (e.g. business visitors, students working on campus).
To apply for a work permit, you will need to complete an application form and provide supporting documents, such as proof of your job offer, proof of your qualifications, and evidence of your ability to support yourself while in Canada. You will also need to pay a processing fee.
The processing time for a work permit application can vary depending on the location where you apply and the volume of applications being processed. It is generally recommended to apply for a work permit as early as possible to allow enough time for the application to be processed.
It is possible to bring your family with you to Canada while you work. Your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children may be eligible to apply for an open work permit or a study permit, depending on their circumstances.
Yes, it is possible to apply for permanent residence while you are working in Canada. There are several programs through which you may be able to apply for permanent residence, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Provincial Nominee Program.
Yes, if you are a student studying in Canada on a valid study permit, you may be eligible to work in Canada while you study. There are some restrictions on the type of work you can do and the number of hours you can work, but you may be able to work on or off campus.
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