Temporary Work Permits vs. Permanent Residency

Temporary Work Permits vs. Permanent Residency

This article is meant to compliment my previous post, New Canadian Immigration Program for Filipino Nurses where I outline the advantages of the Quebec Skilled Worker program. We got a lot of feedback from the community and many of you were very interested in immigrating here as permanent residents, but I also received a lot of questions regarding temporary work permits.

The concept of a Canadian temporary work permit can sound very appealing. Often there is less paper work required and the processing times are faster when compared to a permanent residence application. All of which means, generally speaking, you can come to Canada faster.

What people often don’t consider is the temporary and inflexible nature of a work permit. With very few exceptions you are typically granted a closed work permit.

What does this mean for you? If granted a closed work permit you would be restricted to work for the same employer, at the same position until the employer no longer requires your services or when your work permit expires, whichever comes first. Or let’s say your employer no longer needs your services, what do you do? You would have to secure a new job offer with a new employer and again apply for a new work permit that might not even be successfully approved.

As an immigration attorney I hear so many sad stories of foreign workers that get fired from their jobs or their work permit expires and they lose their status and gainful employment in Canada. But most importantly to me, is that so many foreign workers are forced leave their families behind and don’t get to see their children grow up.  It is a very noble sacrifice to leave your family behind to ensure that they have what they need but what if you could do both. Make the salary you need to support your family while also having your family with you while you’re doing it.

So what’s the alternative? Canadian Permanent Residency. 

Being a Canadian Permanent Resident means you are able to live and work in Canada with the same freedoms as a citizen. You don’t have to look for a Canadian job offer and put forth the extra effort of obtaining a new work permit. Additionally, Canadian Permanent Residency rights are also granted to your dependent family, which is NOT the case when dealing with temporary work permits.

For all intents and purposes, Canadian Permanent Residence is equivalent to a US Green Card. Do most people want a temporary work permit to the USA or do they want permanent status there? From my experience it tends to be the latter.

So why the obsession with Canadian work permits? The short answer is, I don’t know. But I don’t think that taking foreign workers into our country, allowing them to work (at salaries typically less than a Canadian would be entitled to), pay taxes and contribute to our society only to send them packing back to their home country is a very Canadian ideal. Could you imagine if that is how it always was? Our population would be rapidly declining, our economy shrinking and the prosperity enjoyed by so many in Canada today, would be only for the few.

For the reasons mentioned above my office does not deal temporary work permits. The majority of my clients are nurses applying from outside of Canada, for permanent residency, based on their employment and educational credentials. Many of my clients ask “do I have to be a nurse when I come to Canada? What if I want to be a doctor or stay at home and raise my children?” I am always proud to tell them that as a Canadian Permanent Resident no one can restrict your lawful employment and no employer has the power to control your status in Canada.

As a permanent resident you can be a nurse, doctor, stay at home parent or even an astronaut, the choice is yours! 


Renaud Dery,

Canadian Immigration Attorney

With 15 years of experience in the Canadian Immigration field we are now leading experts in this program. Please visit our website to take our free online assessment and check us out our Facebook page to keep updated and find out about our next immigration seminars abroad as well as to see pictures and the stories of our many successful clients. Become part of our community, and then let us help you become part of the Canadian community!