04 Aug, 2017 Work Permits | Canadian Immigration FAQs
Thousands of people come to Canada each year to work temporarily. Some of them leave when their work permit expires, while others choose to apply for permanent residence. Here’s everything you need to know about Canadian work permits!
- What is a work permit?
- How do work permits differ from Express Entry?
- What are the types of work permits in Canada?
- Can anyone be issued an open work permit?
- How can I apply for a work permit?
- Is it mandatory to have a job offer?
- What is a LMIA and why is it important?
- What are the language requirements for a work permit?
- Can one bring family members when entering on a work permit?
- What is the duration of a work permit?
A Canadian work permit is a document issued to foreigners who want to work in Canada. Except for jobs that are specifically exempted, a foreigner seeking employment in Canada must apply for and obtain a work permit before entering the country.
While a work permit is a temporary residence visa, Express Entry is the application system for skilled workers seeking permanent residence in Canada. Work permits are issued to high-skilled and low-skilled workers seeking to do a job in the country provided they demonstrate their intention to leave after expiry of the permit.
While Canadian work experience gained through the work permit can be beneficial for future application under Express Entry, the temporary permit cannot be automatically converted into permanent residence.
Canada issues two types of work permits—open work permits and employer-specific work permits.
Employer-specific work permits, as the name suggests, grants permission to a foreign worker to work in a specific position under a specific employer. Holders of such a permit will have to apply for a new work permit in order to either undertake new or additional responsibilities under the same employer or work under a different employer.
An open work permit allows the permit holder to work for any employer in Canada, provided the employer:
- Is not ineligible due to failure to comply with conditions/responsibilities/requirements under the Temporary Foreign Worker program or the International Mobility Program; and,
- Doesn’t offer regular services directly pertaining to adult entertainment.
No. Open work permits are only issued to:
- Applicants for permanent residence already in Canada and their spouses,
- Spouses of foreign individuals with Canadian study permits,
- Individuals who are in Canada on a work permit, who have already applied for permanent residence, whose work permit will expire soon,
- Individuals in Quebec who have received a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ),
- Other eligible categories of foreigners including those without means of support, those seeking entry for humanitarian reasons, participants in exchange programs, those on a working holiday program, etc.
The applicant must fulfill basic eligibility requirements including intention to return upon expiry of the work permit, adequate financial resources to take care of self and family members till, and including, departure from Canada, good health, a clean criminal record, etc.
If the Canadian job is not exempt from requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), then the employer offering the job to the applicant must apply for and obtain a positive LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
The employer must issue a valid job offer with detailed information about the position along with the positive LMIA to the applicant.
The applicant must submit the above-mentioned documents along with the work permit application and requisite fee.
Yes. Unless you are eligible to apply for an open work permit, you must have a job offer. Further, unless the work permit is LMIA-exempt, the employer must secure a positive LMIA as well for the applicant to qualify for the work permit.
The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement protects the Canadian labour market by ensuring foreign workers are hired only for those jobs that cannot be performed by Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The LMIA process involves assessment of numerous factors like wages, job responsibilities, scope for transfer of knowledge into Canada, extent of creation of domestic jobs, and overall impact on the Canadian labour market and economy.
To work in Canada, all applicants must have a valid work permit and a positive LMIA, except for jobs that are exempted from the LMIA requirement.
The applicant must be proficient in one of the official languages of Canada to the extent necessary for him or her to perform the job duties properly. The language requirements may be laid out in the LMIA process, the National Occupational Classification as applicable to the job, and upon review of the application by the immigration officer
Yes. Spouse and dependent children can either accompany or subsequently join the work permit holder in Canada. Such family members can qualify for an open work permit or study permit provided they fulfill other applicable conditions.
Work permits are temporary visas, which means they will not be valid for an indefinite period of time. There is no set maximum validity period of a work permit. The validity period will depend on:
- The job offer from your employer;
- The length of time listed on your LMIA, if your employer needed to get one to hire you; and
- How long your passport is valid for.
As long as your work permit is still valid, you can also apply for an extension. If you apply for an extension before your work permit expires, you will be allowed to keep your status in Canada and continue to work under the same conditions until a decision is made.