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Canadian Work Permit and Visas

Canadian Work Permit and Visas

Canadian Work Permit and Visas

You need a Canada work permit and visa if you plan to work in Canada. A work permit permits you to take a job in Canada if you are from another country. Foreign nationals typically require a work permit and a job offer before beginning work in Canada, although, in some cases, foreign nationals can work without a work permit. A work permit is not the same as a visa, and you will also need a visitor visa to enter Canada.

What Is a Work Permit?

Work permits allow qualified business owners, students, caregivers, and temporary workers to seek legal residence in Canada for the purpose of employment. Most people need this document before moving to the country to start working. In certain limited circumstances, an individual may work in Canada without being in possession of a work permit. For example, a study permit holder may work in Canada for up to 20 hours per week.

Types of Canadian work permits

You must apply for the correct type of work permit depending on your reason for coming to Canada which can include: 

  • Temporary foreign workers
  • Business people, including professionals, investors, traders, and individuals transferring from another branch of the same international company
  • Caregivers, including those applying through the nation’s Live-in Caregiver program
  • Agricultural workers
  • Students
  • International Experience Canada

Eligibility Requirements

Specific requirements apply depending on where you are when you apply for a work permit. However, regardless of whether you apply from inside Canada, outside Canada, or at a port of entry, all work permit applicants must meet the following general eligibility requirements:

  • All applicants will need to prove that they will leave the country when the work permit expires.
  • All applicants must obey the law in Canada and have no past criminal activity. You may need to submit a police clearance certificate as part of this proof.
  • All applicants must be in good health. You may need to have a medical exam to provide proof.
  • Applicants must give an immigration officer any additional documents requested to prove they can enter Canada.

General requirements also exist governing what work permit applicants cannot do. Applicants cannot present a danger to Canada’s security. Applicants cannot obtain a work permit for an employer listed with ineligible status or work for an employer that offers erotic dance or massages, escort services, or exotic dancing regularly.

Eligibility requirements for applying from inside and outside Canada, and port of entry

Requirements vary depending on where you apply for your work permit. The Canadian government allows anyone to apply for a work permit before entering Canada. You must check visa office requirements that pertain to the country or territory from which you are applying.

However, only certain applicants are eligible to apply for a work permit from inside Canada. You can apply for a work permit from inside the country if:

  • You already have a valid work permit or study permit, or your parents, spouse, or common-law partner has a valid work permit or study permit.
  • Your study permit is still valid, and you are eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  • You have a temporary resident permit; that permit must be valid for six months or longer.
  • You are awaiting a decision on your CEC or Provincial Nominee permanent residence application.
  • You made a claim for refugee protection that is undecided, or the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has already recognized you as a convention refugee or protected person.
  • You are permitted to work without a work permit but subsequently need a work permit for a different job (it does not apply to business visitors).
  • You are an intra-company transferee, investor, professional, or trader under CUSMA, the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement.
  • As of August 24 2020 have valid visitor status in Canada, and have a valid job offer from a specific employer with an LMIA or LMIA exempt job offer

While the Canadian government encourages most applicants to apply for a work permit before travelling to Canada, some applicants can apply for a work permit when entering the country. You are only eligible to apply for a work permit at a port of entry, a POE, if:

  • You are eligible for eTA (an electronic travel authorization), or you are eligible to travel to Canada without a visitor visa.
  • You are entering Canada directly from the United States when COVID-19 travel restrictions are in effect.

You must also meet certain requirements when applying at a POE, depending on the work permit type for which you are applying. For example, open work permit applicants must have a valid job offer (for an essential purpose) while travel restrictions related to COVID-19 are in effect. Employer-specific work permit applicants should ensure the employer has completed all required steps for this type of work permit. If you plan to work in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, you cannot apply for a work permit for Canada at a port of entry.

Renewing Your Work Permit in Canada – Update

Canada’s immigration department recently added a new feature to facilitate proof of applied status for people renewing their work permits in Canada. If you apply to extend your status using the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada portal, you will automatically receive an acknowledgement of receipt letter from the immigration department. This letter will confirm that you are allowed to continue to work, stating a specific date up to which you can work. You can attach the letter to your expired work permit as proof of legal status in Canada and show that you have permission to work.

Receiving the letter allows you to prove your ability to continue to work within the same terms and conditions as your original work permit. However, you must apply before your current work permit expires to take advantage of this benefit. Additionally, this benefit is available only for as long as you remain physically in Canada for the applied status period.

Work in Canada: Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Process of Acquiring a Working Visa?

Canada offers two types of work permits: an employer-specific work permit and an open work permit. An employer-specific work permit applies to foreign nationals who have received a job offer from a specific employer. Your employer must complete specific steps and give you either an offer of employer number, or a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment. If you receive an employer-specific work permit, you will be able to work in the country according to the name of the specific employer, time period, and location listed on your work permit.

An open work permit allows you to work for any employer, as long as the employer is not listed as ineligible because it has not complied with the Canadian government’s conditions. You also cannot work for an employer that regularly offers exotic dance or massages, escort services, or striptease. Only certain people are eligible for an open work permit.

How long can I work in Canada on a work permit?

The length of time you can work as a temporary worker depends on the job offer you received, the length of validity of your passport, and the length of time listed in your Labour Market Impact Assessment (if your employer needed to obtain one to hire you).

Can I study with an open work permit in Canada?

You need to have a study permit if you wish to study in Canada and cannot study for more than six months with only an open work permit. However, you may apply for a study permit while in Canada before your work permit expires.

Can a visitor apply for a work permit in Canada?

Visitors cannot typically apply for a work permit while inside Canada unless they are eligible under a IRCC Covid-19 policy dated August 24 2020. You can apply to change your temporary status from visitor to worker, but you must obtain a work permit. If ineligible to apply from inside of Canada, the time it takes to get the work permit often exceeds the time permitted to stay in the country as a visitor. You may have to leave Canada before your work permit is approved.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Work Permit?

In most cases, applications are processed in about four to six weeks to get a Canadian work permit. When you need a medical appointment, however, the Canada work permit processing time may take an additional three months to be approved by the nation.

How To Renew a Work Permit in Canada?

An application to renew a work permit inside of Canada should be done electronically/online on Canada’s official immigration website.  Supporting documents are required along with the appropriate government fee.  The documents should show that you have been complying with any terms and conditions of  work permit previously issued (such as working for the Canadian employer performing appropriate duties).

How We Can Help

Often, obtaining a work permit begins after an applicant has received a job offer in Canada. After the applicant has obtained a job offer, the Chaudhary Law Office can help in the temporary work permit application process. We are here to answer your questions about all immigration matters and guide you as you apply for a work permit. Contact us today.

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