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Work Permit

The Work Permit Process in Canada. A Comprehensive Guide

A work permit is an authorization from an officer that allows Foreign Skilled Workers who are neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident to engage in employment in Canada. 

What is the process of getting a work permit for Canada? 

The standard process for a foreign national to obtain a work permit visa comprises of two steps:

  1. A positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) needs to be obtained  by the employer from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) before hiring a foreign worker. 

  2. Once a positive LMIA is received by the Canadian employer, the foreign worker must apply for a work permit through the Canadian Visa office in their country of residence. 

Who needs a work permit to work in Canada?


Not everyone is required to obtain a work permit in order to work in Canada. Here are some exemptions: 

  • Business Visitors

  • Diplomats

  • Foreign Athletes

  • Military Personnel

  • Crew members

  • Clergy

  • Performing Artists

  • Public Speakers

  • News Reporters

  • Expert Witnesses, examiners and evaluators

  • Students engaging in part-time work on campus.

What are the eligibility requirements for work permit for Canada?

There are specific requirements you need to meet depending on where you are when you apply for your work permit.


In general, you must: 

  • convince the assessing officer that you will leave Canada once your work permit has expired;

  • provide sufficient proof of funds to take care of yourself and your family members (inside or outside Canada) during your stay in Canada and to return home;

  • prove that you are admissible to Canada and have no record of criminal activity;

  • prove that you will 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 who failed to comply with the conditions; or in other words, you must convince the officer that you will not participate in unauthorized work;

  • not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages; and

  • provide the officer sufficient documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.

What are the Different Types of Work Permits for immigration to Canada?

Canadian Work permits primarily fall under the following categories: 

Open Work Permit: An open work permit authorizes a foreign national to work in Canada for any employer and in any location. A restricted open work permit may restrict a industry or occupation but allows you to work across Canada. All open work permits are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment(LMIA).

Post-Graduate Work Permit: Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is for international students who have graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI). Post-graduate work permits allow students to gain Canadian experience after completing their study program. A post-graduate work permit is valid for up to 3 years, and the duration is based on the length of your study program.

The Intra-Company Transfer Program allows an international business with a parent, subsidiary, branch or an affiliate of that enterprise in Canada to bring an executive, senior manager or an employee with specialized knowledge to Canada on a temporary work permit.

Inland Spousal Sponsorship Open Work Permit: Allows spouses or partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to apply for unrestricted work permits while the outcome of their application is still pending. You must have a valid temporary residence permit and an application for permanent residency under process to be eligible to apply. 

Bridging Open Work Permit: You may be eligible to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit(BOWP) if you have already applied for permanent residency under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class Program, Provincial Nominee Program, Agri-Food Pilot, Home Child-Care Provider Pilot or Home Support Worker Pilot Programs.

It is an open work permit, which allows you to continue to work while your permanent residency application is processing.

What are LMIA exempt work permits? 

You may be exempt from applying for an LMIA and can apply directly for a work permit if you are part of one of the following categories:

  • International Experience Canada participants (Working holiday, young professionals, co-op students)

  • Intra-company transferees

  • CSQ holders in Quebec who already have a work permit

  • Spouses and common-law partners of full-time students

  • Spouses and common-law partners of workers who hold a job in NOC category 0, A or B

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Francophone mobility (skilled work outside of Québec)

  • International mobility program

  • Bridging open work permits (applicants who already applied for permanent residence

A Canadian work permit may open possibilities for a foreign worker towards Canadian immigration (Permanent Residency) under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), or by means of one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

How can I apply for a Permanent residence without an LMIA approved job offer?


We have tried to list the possibilities in the below video. Watch the complete video to make a better decision.

What is the processing time for Work Permit applications?

The processing time for a work permit application depends on the type of work permit and the applicant’s country of residence at the time of application. Processing times range anywhere from a few weeks to several months.


Most work permit applications are processed and issued within a matter of days or weeks, depending on whether or not a medical examination is required and the workload at the particular visa office to which the application was submitted.


What are the programs under which I can apply for an open work permit?

Open Work Permits (no job offer or LMIA required) can be applied under: 

  • Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)

  • Spousal Sponsorship from Inside of Canada

  • International Experience Canada (IEC)

  • Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

  • Spouse Accompanying International Student

Can I apply for a work permit for Canada as an entrepreneur?


As an entrepreneur if you wish to come to Canada temporarily in order to start or operate a business, you may be eligible for an LMIA exempt temporary work permit if you are able to satisfy the immigration officer that your work in Canada is temporary.


As an entrepreneur you will have to demonstrate that your business will make significant contribution to the Canadian economy. A significant contribution may mean creation of jobs, innovation and development etc. If you have already applied for Canadian permanent residence you may also qualify for LMIA-exempt work permits in this category. 

On what grounds can my work permit application to Canada be refused?

Based on subsection 200(1) of the IRPR, an immigration office may refuse your application if:

  • You were not able to demonstrate that you will be able to adequately perform the work you seek

  • The officer is not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, based on the purpose of your visit.

  • The officer is not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, based on your family ties in Canada and in your country of residence.

  • The officer is not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, based on your travel history.

  • The officer is not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, based on your immigration status.

  • The officer is not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, based on your family ties in Canada and in your country of residence.

  • The officer is not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, based on the purpose of your visit.

  • The officer is not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, based on your current employment situation.

How Can I Avoid a Canadian Immigration Refusal?

Refusal or denial can be painful and stressful. Most people think that they know what they're doing and will do it right. Not all of them can actually claim that they will not make a mistake. Immigration applications to Canada are a 1-time opportunity. A mistake can lead to irreparable damage to your profile. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring a professional immigration consultant who has the knowledge and expertise in matters of Canadian immigration laws. 

Contact us now to connect with our Regulated Canadian  Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

  • What are the Language Requirements for Express Entry to Canada?
    To be eligible for Express Entry, you must prove your English or French language ability: take an approved language test (IELTS - G or CELPIP-G) get the minimum results required by your program include the results when you complete your Express Entry profile First official language Minimum level for all four (Listening, Writing, Speaking, Reading) abilities English - CLB 7 French - NCLC7 Second official language: Minimum level of CLB or NCLC 5.
  • What is a Valid Job offer for Immigration to Canada?
    A valid job offer for Express Entry is one which is: full-time and non-seasonal, for at least one year, in a skilled job listed as Skill Type 0, or Skill Level A or B in the 2016 National Occupational Classification. is supported by a positive LMIA from the ESDC. A job offer must be in writing, and must set out details of the job they are offering you, such as: your pay and deductions your job duties conditions of employment, like your hours of work.
  • If i have a valid job offer, how many additional points do i get?"
    The points can range from an additional 50–200 points, depending on the type of job offer you receive.
  • Can i make changes to my Express Entry Profile?
    If your profile was found eligible for the pool, you can still update it after you’ve submitted it. On the other hand, if your profile is found ineligible, you won’t be able to make changes to your profile. You’ll have to create a new profile. Be sure to do so if your circumstances have changed and you now have enough points to qualify.
  • Do I need a job offer for Express Entry?
    You do not require a job offer for Express Entry. Additional points for job offers are only awarded to candidates who have a valid and positive LMIA based job offer from an approved Canadian employer. Simply having a job offer won't gain you any additional points. It needs to be LMIA approved.
  • What is the fee requirement to apply for Express Entry for Canada?
    Language tests: Average cost – $300 per test. Educational Credential Assessment (ECA): Average cost – $200 Biometrics: $85 per person Government fees: $1,325 per adult & $225 per child Medical examination fees: average cost – $450 per adult & $250 per child Police clearance certificates varies with country of residence. You need to provide police clearance certificates for all countries where you have resided for more than 6 months since turning 18 years of age.
  • How many points do I need to immigrate to Canada through express entry?
    You need to score a minimum of 67 points to be eligible to apply through the Express Entry system for permanent immigration to Canada.
  • What is the age limit to apply for permanent residence in Canada?
    There is no specific age limit requirement for any Canadian immigration program.If you are between 25-35 years of age, you score maximum points for that selection factor. Once you cross that age, you start to lose points in the selection factors.
  • Can I have 2 express entry profiles?
    No, you cannot have two Express Entry applications for the same applicant at the same time. However, if you are married, you can submit an application under your spouse if they are eligible.
  • Is ielts mandatory for spouse in express entry?
    A language test report for your spouse is a not mandatory requirement while submitting express entry application. However, your spouse's language skills can earn your additional points.
  • How long is my IELTS test result valid for Canadian immigration purposes?
    Your language test results are valid for 2 years after the date of the test result. If your results expire before you submit your application, you should take the test again.
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