Steps to apply for a Canadian Work Permit


Canadian Work Permit
Step for Canadian Work Permit

All Foreign Nationals (barring a few exceptions), need a Work Permit (WP) to be able to work in Canada legally.


It is the responsibility of the applicant to apply for a WP(work permit). The basic process of applying for a work permit can be highlighted in the following 4 steps:


  1. The Employer needs to apply for a LMIA* – Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada(ESDC). The ESDC will decide whether the employer can hire a foreign worker to fill the job.

  2. The Employer then extends a temporary offer letter to the applicant. This has to be a genuine offer of employment.

  3. The applicant applies for a Work Permit based on the LMIA approved job offer.

  4. The applicant secures the WP after approval.


*There are some exemptions wherein an LMIA is not required. These exemptions apply to:

  • Skilled Workers covered under the NAFTA agreement;

  • Intra-Company Transferees;

  • International Experience Canada participants (also known as Working Holiday Permit holders);

  • Post-Graduate temporary work permit holders;

  • Bridging Open Work Permit holders; and

  • International Mobility Program applicants.


The applicant needs to be mindful of the following (basic) eligibility requirements (for a more comprehensive list click here):


Irrespective of the country you apply from, you must:


  1. prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires,

  2. prove your financial independence as well as your accompanying or non accompanying family members,

  3. prove that you are not criminally or otherwise inadmissible to Canada

  4. provide proof of being of sound health,

  5. satisfy the assessing officer that do not plan to work for an ‘ineligible’ employer or occupation.


A work permit is not an authorization to travel. Therefore, it must not be confused with one either. Applicants who do not have an ETA(electronic travel authorization) or do not belong to a visa exempt country, need to apply for a Visa to travel to Canada.


Can I Apply for a Work Permit from inside Canada?


You can only apply for a work permit from inside Canada if you:

  • are currently in Canada and have a valid study or work permit, or your spouse or parents have a study or work permit, or

  • have recently graduated from a program at a Canadian university, community college, CÉGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school, or another DLI (designated learning institute),

  • have applied or been included in an application for permanent residence from inside Canada (you will have to pass certain stages in the main application process to be eligible for a work permit),

  • have asked for refugee status in Canada and are waiting for a decision from the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada,

  • have been recognized by the RPD as a convention refugee or protected person,

  • have had your refugee claim turned down by the RPD but you cannot be removed from Canada for reasons beyond your control

Securing a Canadian work permit brings you one step closer to becoming a Canadian Permanent Resident. Once you have accumulated relevant and qualifying work experience over a period of 9-12 months, you can certainly apply for a Canadian Permanent Residence.


The most common pathway to Canadian Permanent Residence for a foreign national working inside Canada is through the Canadian Experience Class.


If you are planning to apply for a Work Permit or any other Canadian Immigration Program, contact us now.




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