Canada is a forward-thinking country that boasts a wealth of opportunities, which explains why most foreign nationals would want to move to Canada. However, the ideal scenario would be to have a work permit in order to increase the chances of immigrating to Canada with more ease.
There are two Canadian work permit types:
- Employer-specific work permit
- Open work permit
Let’s take a closer look at the two main Canadian work permit types:
Step 1: Know which work permit you’ll require
Employer-specific work permit
This work permit allows you to work in Canada for a specific employer. The conditions of your work permit will comprise of:
- The name of the Canadian employer
- The stipulated period of time
- The location of where you’ll be based
Before you apply, make sure you know what you require from your employer. You will need a:
- Copy of your employment contract
- You may also need a copy of a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) from your employer
LMIA defined: This step refers to your employer, but you need to know it as well. An LMIA is a document that allows the Canadian employer to hire a foreign worker to fill the position.
What is an LMIA exemption? This is when the foreign worker doesn’t need to obtain an LMIA from their employer. In other words, there are instances when a Canadian employer doesn’t need an LMIA to hire a temporary foreign worker. In this case, the temporary foreign worker will then be exempted from an LMIA.
Open work permit
This work permit allows you to work for any Canadian employer except for two situations:
Non-compliant employers: Employers who have been found to be non-compliant with conditions. You can find out more about non-compliant employers here.
Employers involved in illegal work: for example, employers who offer striptease services, erotic dance, and escort services.
Who is eligible for an open work permit? You can find out more about eligibility for an open work permit here.
Step 2: Know your work permit eligibility requirements
All candidates applying for a Canadian work permit will need to ensure that they meet specific criteria. However, there are standard criteria for candidates irrespective of the work permit they’re applying for. We have taken the time to highlight some particular requirements:
- Applicants must be able to show that they’re willing to leave Canada after the expiry date of the stipulated period of time;
- Be able to prove that you have enough money to take care of yourself and a family member should they be incapable of taking care of themselves;
- Be compliant with the law and avoid any criminal activity – you may be required to produce a police clearance;
- The applicant should not pose a threat to Canada’s security;
- Be in physically good health as you may have to produce a medical exam;
- Ensure that you’re working for an employer who complies with the conditions of what the Canadian government sees fit as an eligible employer;
- Ensure that you’re not working for an employer that is offering striptease services, erotic dance, and escort services; and
- Provide any other outstanding or supporting documents that the officer is requesting.
It is worth mentioning that you may be subjected to visa requirements which depend on the territory or country you’re applying from. Therefore, applicants should check their work permit eligibility requirements and do thorough research on what’s required from them before applying.
Step 3: Apply for your work permit
At this point, you should know which work permit suits you best and whether or not you’re eligible to apply. Note that candidates applying for a work permit can only travel to Canada if they’re exempted from the COVID-19 travel restrictions. Remember, all candidates must qualify as fully vaccinated travellers.
A good place to start is to answer the necessary questions, get the application forms from the official government website, and follow the instructions.
Step 4: Post Application – what happens after you apply
Let’s look at what’s required under various circumstances and the process that follows after you’ve applied for your work permit.
- Individuals applying from outside Canada would need to submit their biometrics (fingerprints and photos).
- The application gets processed to ensure that all relevant information and supporting documents are there.
- The officer will also evaluate the list of employers to check if your employer complies with the conditions.
- The officer will check if you meet all requirements of your work permit.
- The officer may request more supporting documents depending on what’s required.
Once your work permit is approved, you should receive an approval letter that gives you permission to work in Canada. This letter plays a vital role when you arrive in Canada since it needs to be presented at the port of entry. Do not mistake this letter for your work permit, as you will only receive your Canadian work permit at the port of entry.
How to get a work permit in Canada if you’re in possession of a valid work permit in the last 12 months?
In this situation, you’re allowed to request permission to start working while your application is being processed. You should be under the following circumstances to apply for a work permit:
- Be present in Canada while you apply
- Have a valid visitor status, and be prepared to restore your visitor status in the event of an expiry status
- Previously applied for an employer-specific work permit between August 24, 2020, and February 28, 2023
- Make sure that your previous work permit was valid in the last 12 months
Step 5: Make sure you’re well prepared for your arrival
All travellers will be subject to testing and quarantine requirements to minimize the risk of COVID-19. The first thing you want to do when you arrive in Canada is to prepare your documents and make sure you print the following:
- Visitor visa, where applicable
- Any other extra documents
- Port of entry letter of introduction
- Any other proof of online communication that may be relevant
- Any other supporting documents such as your LMIA
What to expect when you arrive in Canada
- Talk to the border services officer and explain that you’ve come to work while showing the supporting documents as evidence.
- Once everything is in order, the officer will print the work permit for you.
The day has arrived for you to start working, and you would need to ensure that you’re able to meet and understand all conditions on your work permit. Also, familiarize yourself with Canada’s labour laws, and be sure to obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to access government programs and benefits
Whether you’re a skilled worker looking to nurture your professional growth, a fresh graduate, or a student looking to gain work experience, Canada has tailored immigration programs for your needs. Get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to advise and guide you through the process at mdccanada.ca.