Canada offers two broad types of work permits for foreign workers: job-specific work permits and open work permits, both of which are intended to be temporary.
All work permits have a set duration, and a foreign worker may only work four years, continuously or cumulatively, at which point they will have to remain outside of Canada for four years before being allowed to work in Canada again. However, obtaining a work permit may help you along the route to permanent residence through the Express Entry program or the Skilled Workers Program, as these programs require multiple years of experience and working in Canada give you clear advantages in these immigration programs.
Most types of work permits require an application fee. However, this may be waived or paid by the employer depending on the specifics of the job being offered. If you are approved for a work permit, you will receive an approval letter (and a temporary resident visa depending on your citizenship), and your work permit will be issued at the point of entry in Canada. Your work permit will state which employer you may work for, the type of occupation you may be employed for, as well as the duration for which you may work in Canada. At the end of this duration, you must leave Canada.
Job Specific Permits
Most work permits in Canada are job-specific permits. A job-specific permit is exclusive to the employer offering the job. To work for a different employer in Canada, the employee will need to obtain a new job-specific permit. In most cases, the employer will need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which is used to ensure there are no qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada to fill the role. A positive LMIA is required for an application to be considered for approval. To obtain a job-specific work permit, you must have a copy of the positive LMIA notice, as well as a valid job offer from the employer.
Intra-Company Transfer work permits do not require an LMIA. These permits are restricted to the transfer of executives, senior management, and skilled workers with specialized knowledge from a foreign company to a related Canadian company. In order to be eligible for an Intra-Company Transfer permit, the employee must have been a full-time employee of the company for at least a year. Employees who are hired via an Intra-Company Transfer permit may also be eligible for permanent residence via the Express Entry system.
Open Work Permits
Open work permits are not specific to any employer or job, allowing the holder to work in most jobs available in Canada. Open work permits do not require an LMIA or a valid job offer. However, the eligibility requirements are quite restrictive, and open work permits are only available to those that meet the eligibility criteria. You may be eligible for an open work permit if you are:
- A post-grad recently graduated from certain post-secondary institutions in Canada
- A spouse of a temporary foreign worker in Canada
- An applicant for permanent residence under certain immigration programs
- A dependent family member of a permanent residence applicant
Sobirovs Law Firm
The business immigration process is complex, but our team is skilled at understanding your specific goals and navigating the right path for moving them forward. There is no need to go at it alone, especially when there are risks in application denials, mistakes, and extending of timelines. We’re here and ready to help make that first step to ensure your transition to Canada is as seamless as possible.