How to Get a Work Permit in Canada: A Complete Guide
Canada is one of the most popular destinations for foreign workers who want to live and work in a diverse and prosperous country. Whether you are looking for a temporary or permanent job, Canada offers many opportunities for skilled and qualified workers in various sectors. However, before you can start working in Canada, you need to obtain a work permit that allows you to legally work for a specific employer or in an open labor market. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about how to get a work permit in Canada, including the types of work permits, the eligibility requirements, the application process, and the fees.
Types of Work Permits in Canada
There are two main types of work permits in Canada: employer-specific work permits and open work permits. Each type has different conditions and requirements depending on your situation and the purpose of your work.
Employer-Specific Work Permits
An employer-specific work permit allows you to work for a specific employer in Canada for a limited period of time. This means that you can only work for the employer that is named on your work permit and in the location and occupation that are specified on your work permit. You cannot change employers or jobs without applying for a new work permit.
To apply for an employer-specific work permit, you need to have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer who has obtained a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). An LMIA is a document that shows that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do it. However, some jobs are exempt from requiring an LMIA, such as those covered by international agreements, intra-company transfers, or Canadian interests.
Open Work Permits
An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, except for those who are ineligible or who offer services that are contrary to public policy. This means that you can change employers or jobs without applying for a new work permit. However, you still need to comply with the conditions of your work permit, such as the validity period, the province or territory where you can work, and the type of work you can do.
To apply for an open work permit, you need to meet one of the following criteria:
- You are an international student who graduated from a designated learning institution in Canada and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
- You are a spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker or international student who has a valid work or study permit in Canada.
- You are a refugee, refugee claimant, protected person, or their family member.
- You are under an unenforceable removal order.
- You are a temporary resident permit holder.
- You are a participant in one of the International Experience Canada (IEC) programs, such as Working Holiday, Young Professionals, or International Co-op.
- You are a citizen of Hong Kong who graduated with a Canadian post-secondary credential in the last 5 years or hold an equivalent foreign credential.
- You are a Ukrainian national who meets the eligibility requirements for the Francophone Mobility Program.
Eligibility Requirements for Work Permits in Canada
To be eligible for a work permit in Canada, you need to meet the following general requirements:
- You have a valid passport or travel document.
- You have enough money to support yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada.
- You have no criminal record or security issues that would make you inadmissible to Canada.
- You are in good health and may need to undergo a medical exam if required.
- You plan to leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.
In addition, depending on the type of work permit you are applying for, you may need to provide additional documents or information, such as:
- A copy of your job offer letter or contract from your employer in Canada.
- A copy of your LMIA or proof of LMIA exemption from ESDC.
- Proof of your qualifications, skills, experience, and education related to your job.
- Proof of your relationship with your spouse or common-law partner if you are applying as their dependent.
- Proof of your participation in an IEC program if you are applying under one of its categories.
- Proof of your graduation from a Canadian post-secondary institution or an equivalent foreign credential if you are applying as a Hong Kong citizen.
Application Process for Work Permits in Canada
The application process for work permits in Canada varies depending on where you apply from and how you apply. You can apply online or on paper from outside Canada, inside Canada, or at a port of entry.
Applying online is the fastest and most convenient way to apply for a work permit in Canada. To apply online, you need to follow these steps:
- Create an account on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and sign in.
- Answer some questions to determine your eligibility and get a personalized document checklist.
- Gather all the required documents and scan or photograph them to create electronic copies.
- Fill out the online application form and upload your documents.
- Pay the application fees using a valid credit or debit card.
- Submit your application and wait for a confirmation email.
Applying on Paper
Applying on paper is an alternative option if you cannot apply online or prefer to submit a paper application. To apply on paper, you need to follow these steps:
- Download the application package from the IRCC website and print it out.
- Read the instruction guide carefully and fill out the application form by hand or on a computer.
- Gather all the required documents and make photocopies of them.
- Pay the application fees online or at a bank and get a receipt.
- Mail your completed application form, documents, and fee receipt to the appropriate visa office or processing center.
Applying at a Port of Entry
Applying at a port of entry is a special option for some foreign workers who are eligible to apply for a work permit when they arrive in Canada. To apply at a port of entry, you need to follow these steps:
- Make sure you have all the required documents and information with you, such as your passport, job offer letter, LMIA, or LMIA exemption letter.
- Inform the border officer that you are applying for a work permit and present your documents.
- Answer the questions that the border officer asks you and undergo any security checks if required.
- Pay the application fees using cash, credit card, or debit card.
- Receive your work permit and enter Canada.
Fees for Work Permits in Canada
The fees for work permits in Canada depend on the type of work permit you are applying for and whether you are applying alone or with your family members. The fees are as follows:
- Work permit fee: $155 CAD per person
- Open work permit holder fee: $100 CAD per person (only applicable for open work permits)
- Biometrics fee: $85 CAD per person or $170 CAD per family (only applicable for some applicants)
- Restoration of status fee: $200 CAD per person (only applicable for some applicants)
You can pay the fees online using a credit or debit card when you apply online or at a port of entry. You can also pay the fees online or at a bank and get a receipt when you apply on paper.