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How do you get a Work Permit/Visa for Canada?

A nation known for its inclusive culture; Canada is one of the leading economies in the world. The country offers various opportunities for foreign nationals to work and live on its territory.  

Most foreigners will need a work permit to work in the country irrespective of the duration of the stay. However, under a new permit exemption authorized by the Canadian government, foreign citizens coming under certain high-skilled categories of work will be allowed to stay in Canada without a work visa.  

The duration of this exemption is for a short period of 15 to 30 days. Individuals can exit and re-enter the country during this period. This exemption will be based on the discretion of the immigration officials.  

Also, foreign citizens who are applying through the Canadian government’s Express Entry program for permanent residency do not need a work permit before crossing Canada borders. They can apply for jobs while living in the country. 

What is a Work Permit?  

A work permit is an official authorization granted by the Canadian government to citizens of foreign countries to work and live in Canada for a predetermined time period. This legal document allows foreign business people, students, temporary and permanent workers to engage in paid employment.  

What are the Types of Work Permits in Canada? 

Most foreign nationals who wish to work in the country require one of the two kinds of permits granted by the Canadian government.  

Employer-centric work permit: This permit allows its holder to work for an employer in Canada. Those applying for this type of work permit are required to submit the job offer from a Canadian company or a business registered in Canada. 

They also should present the location of the employment, its duration and name of the employer along with a copy of the labor market impact assessment (LMIA) which will be provided by the employer. 

The applicants should also demonstrate their intention to return to their home country after the validity of the work permit ends and should have enough funds to sustain themselves during their stay.  

Canada is a country with stringent immigration policies with regard to criminal and medical admissibility. So, the applicants must prove that they do not come under these categories.   

Open work permit. For this permit, the applicants need not submit an offer letter. They can work for any registered employer in the country with this. To be eligible for an open work permit the applicants must meet certain criteria such as the following:  

  • International students in Canadian universities
  • Foreign students who can no longer afford the course
  • Applicants of Canadian permanent residency and their family members
  • Partner or spouse of individuals applied for PR or have a PR
  • A legal refugee

If the applicants wish to bring their dependents, spouse or family members who are eligible to work in Canada, they can apply for the open work permit in most cases. If they land a job in Canada, their employer should apply for a LMIA.  

The dependents can also come to Canada on a visitor or a student visa. This later can be converted into a work permit.  

What is LMIA?  

In most international recruitments Canadian employers need to submit a LMIA, a document to show that there is a need to hire a foreigner to do the job and no Canadian citizen or permanent residency holder can fulfil the position.  

The employer should apply for a LMIA before giving an offer to an international employee. This document will be applicable to hire foreigners under the Canadian government's temporary foreign worker and global talent stream programs.  

While the former allows employers to compensate for the shortage in the labor force by hiring international workers, the latter helps in getting highly skilled talent.  

What is Facilitated LMIA?  

Canadian province Quebec enjoys a certain autonomy in immigration rules. The province has been granted some relaxations in hiring foreign employees through a program called facilitated LMIA. 

Under this program, the wage of the foreign employees determines whether the employer needs to file for a LMIA. Employers are also exempt from submitting proof of advertisement for the positions offered to foreign staff under facilitated LMIA.  

A facilitated LMIA should be approved by both the province and federal governments as a result the process takes a little longer than the general LMIA.  

What is the Process to Apply for a Work Permit in Canada? 

Foreigners planning to work in Canada have to apply for a work permit visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization. The application process varies depending on the type of permit. The application is processed online and foreigners are generally excluded from submitting biometric details while applying.  

The documents can differ based on the type of permit. The immigration authorities generally ask the applicants to submit the following documents.  

  • The completed application forms
  • A passport with a validity of over six months
  • Color photographs in passport size
  • Documents to prove education credentials
  • If the applicant is professionally qualified, he/she needs to present proof
  • Proof of funds required to sustain during the stay
  • Police certificate to show clear admissibility
  • Reports of medical examination from approved hospitals
  • Declaration to prove their intention to return once the visa expires
  • Proof of status
  • A copy of labor market impact assessment (depending on type of permit)
  • A copy of the offer of employment (depending on type of permit)

The Canada visa or eTA and the work permits will be issued at the same time and there is no separate fee for work permits.  

Can I Bring My Family to Canada on a Work Permit? 

Yes, foreign nationals on a work permit can bring their spouse, children, common-law partners and other family members.  

The applicants must be over 18 years old and should have financial means to support the family members during their stay.  

If the applicant is living in Canada on a work permit and his/her family members want to engage in paid employment, they need to apply for a permit to work or study in Canada.  

Once a foreign national is granted Canadian citizenship or permanent residency, he/she can sponsor the family members. The family members should not be criminally or medically inadmissible to Canada.    

How Long Can I Stay in Canada After My Work Permit Expires?  

The applicant can stay in Canada on various conditions once their work permit expires. It’s highly encouraged to apply for the new work permit at least 30 days before the expiry of the current permit. 

If they do so they can stay in Canada till the process is completed and can maintain their status. 

If the person is applying for the new permit after the original one expires, he/she can stay in Canada till a time allowed by the immigration officials. This is only if the applicant applies for the new permit within 90 days after the expiry of the original permit.  

However, the applicant must stop working until his permit is restored. Canadian immigration law does not guarantee the restoration of the work permit. In such cases, the applicant must leave the country or he/she will be deported.  

Still have some questions? Contact the Canadian embassy in your home country for up-to-date details. You can also visit Natvisa.com and our expert team will help you out.  



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