Work Permit

Canada boasts a strong and diverse economy with a high standard of workplace safety, competitive wages, and many opportunities for professional growth and development.  Canada is actively seeking foreign workers and professionals to help grow its strong workforce.

Nearly 300,000 foreign workers come to work in Canada every year on temporary work permits. 

Types of work permits

  • LMIA based work permit.
  • Intra Company Transfer.
  • International Agreements.
    • Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) – formerly known as North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
    • Canada-Chile FTA / Canada-Peru FTA / Canada-Colombia FTA / Canada-Korea FTA
    • Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
    • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
    • Canada–Panama Free Trade Agreement
    • Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

An open work permit is neither employer nor job-specific, therefore it allows the holder to work for almost any Canadian employer, without first having to obtain a confirmed offer of employment.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
  • Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
  • International Experience Canada (IEC)
  • Spousal Open Work Permit
You may be eligible for an open work permit if you:
  • are a spouse/common-law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program.
  • are a refugee, refugee claimant, protected person, or their family member.
  • are under an unenforceable removal order.
  • are a temporary resident permit holder.
  • are a young worker participating in special programs.
  • Prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires. You can include many supporting documents to support this claim. For example: your family ties, employment etc.
  • Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home. You can include your financial documents.
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (IRCC may ask you to provide a police clearance certificate)
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security,
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed,
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers.
  • Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
  • Give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.

You may apply for a work permit on arrival at a port of entry (POE) in Canada if the following applies:

  • You are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa and your job falls within the International Mobility Program (i.e., you are not required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment [LMIA]).
  • You are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa and your job falls within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (i.e., you are required to obtain an LMIA) and a positive LMIA has been issued by the time you arrive, and your employer has completed all the steps for your type of work permit.
  • You are a national or permanent resident of the U.S., Greenland or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon regardless of whether your job falls with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program.
  • You will not be working as a live-in caregiver or as a seasonal agricultural worker.
  • In addition to the above, you must have completed your immigration medical examination, if required, before your arrival. If you are a citizen of an eTA-required country, you will need to get an eTA if you plan to fly into Canada. IRCC recommends that you apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada.

In certain unique circumstances, a foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit. Following jobs may not require a work permit to engage in Canadian employment. However, to qualify for a work permit exemption, the job must be on the list and they must meet the additional exemption criteria for their specific job as per International Mobility Program (IMP).

  • Business visitor
  • Foreign representatives and Family members of foreign representatives
  • Military personnel
  • Foreign government officers
  • On-campus employment
  • Performing artists
  • Athletes and team members
  • News reporters, media crews
  • Public speakers
  • Convention organizers
  • Religious leaders
  • Judges, referees, and similar officials
  • Examiners and evaluators
  • Expert witnesses or investigators
  • Health care students
  • Civil aviation inspector
  • Aviation accident or incident inspector
  • Crew
  • Emergency service providers
  • Implied status
  • Off-campus work
  • Off-campus work (transition to post-graduation status)
  • Registered Indians
  • Assessing farm work
  • Short-term work permit exemption
  • Researchers

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