Canadian Work Permit

Understanding the Canadian Work Permit

Are you planning to work in Canada? If yes, you need to secure a work permit first. This article provides an overview of the Canadian work permit system, including its types, eligibility criteria, and application process. We also answer some frequently asked questions at the end to guide you through the process.

What is a Canadian Work Permit?

A Canadian work permit is a legal document that allows foreign nationals to work in Canada temporarily. It authorizes individuals to engage in specific occupations and activities for a specific period, usually up to two years. Holders of work permits can renew their permits or change their employers during their stay in Canada, subject to certain restrictions.

Types of Canadian Work Permits

Canada offers two types of work permits: employer-specific work permits and open work permits.

– Employer-specific work permits: As the name suggests, these permits are tied to a particular Canadian employer and a specific job offer. Individuals who secure an employer-specific work permit can only work for the employer named in the permit. The permits usually expire when the job ends, and the worker must leave the country at that time.

– Open work permits: Open work permits do not link to a specific employer or job offer. These permits allow individuals to work for any Canadian employer in any occupation, except for those that pose a risk to public health or security. Open work permits usually have a shorter validity period than employer-specific work permits, but they offer more flexibility.

Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Work Permits

To be eligible for a Canadian work permit, you must meet certain requirements:

– A valid job offer from a Canadian employer;
– Meet the criteria as a temporary foreign worker, including health and security requirements;
– Provide evidence that you will leave Canada once your work permit expires (e.g., return ticket, financial means);
– Submit a complete application package, including all required documents and fees.

Application Process for Canadian Work Permits

The application process and required documents vary depending on the type of work permit you apply for and the country of citizenship. In general, the following steps apply:

– Obtain a job offer from a Canadian employer and a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if required;
– Complete the application form and gather all necessary documents, such as passport, photographs, and proof of qualifications;
– Pay the application fees;
– Submit the application online or at a visa office;
– Attend an interview if requested by the visa officer;
– Receive a decision on your application.


Q: When should I apply for a Canadian work permit?

A: You should apply for a Canadian work permit as soon as you receive a job offer from a Canadian employer. The processing time varies, but it usually takes several weeks or even months, depending on the workload of the visa office and the complexity of your application.

Q: Do I need a job offer to apply for a Canadian work permit?

A: Yes, in most cases, you need a valid job offer from a Canadian employer to apply for a work permit. The employer must obtain a positive LMIA from the Canadian government unless they are exempt from this requirement.

Q: How long can I stay in Canada on a work permit?

A: The duration of your work permit depends on the type of work permit you hold and the job offer you received. In general, employer-specific work permits are valid for the duration of the job offer, up to two years, while open work permits have a shorter validity period, usually up to one year.

Q: Can I change employers while on a Canadian work permit?

A: Yes, you can change employers if you hold an employer-specific work permit, but you must apply for a new work permit and receive approval before starting to work for the new employer. If you have an open work permit, you can work for any Canadian employer without needing to apply for a new permit.

Q: Can I bring my family with me to Canada on a work permit?

A: Yes, you can bring your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children with you to Canada on a work permit. Your family members may be eligible for an open work permit or study permit, depending on their age and educational background.


Applying for a Canadian work permit can be a lengthy and complicated process, but it is necessary if you wish to work in Canada legally. Understanding the types of work permits available, eligibility criteria, and application process is crucial to avoid delays or rejections. Keep in mind that the rules and regulations regarding work permits in Canada are subject to change. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a licensed immigration lawyer or consultant to ensure that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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