How to Obtain a Canadian Work Permit: Temporary Foreign Workers and Open Work Permits

Canadian work permits allow foreign nationals to work in Canada for a specified period. There are two main types of work permits: employer-specific work permits and open work permits. In this article, we will discuss the application process and requirements for both temporary foreign worker permits and open work permits.

Temporary Foreign Worker Permits
  • Overview Temporary foreign worker permits, also known as employer-specific work permits, allow foreign nationals to work for a specific Canadian employer for a set duration. The employer must obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before the foreign worker can apply for the work permit.
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) An LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that demonstrates the need for a foreign worker to fill a specific job position and confirms that no suitable Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available for the role.
  • Applying for a Temporary Foreign Worker Permit Once the employer has obtained a positive LMIA, the foreign worker can apply for a work permit, providing a copy of the LMIA and a job offer letter from the employer. The application can be submitted online or at a Canadian visa office.
Open Work Permits

Overview Open work permits allow foreign nationals to work for any employer in Canada, with a few exceptions for specific job positions. These permits are generally issued to individuals who are already in Canada or have a specific reason to be exempt from the LMIA requirement.

Eligibility To be eligible for an open work permit, the applicant must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker or international student in Canada
  • Be an international student who has recently graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution
  • Be a participant in specific programs, such as International Experience Canada (IEC) or the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)
  • Be a refugee or protected person, or a family member of one
  • Have applied for permanent residence in Canada and be awaiting a decision

Applying for an Open Work Permit Eligible applicants can apply for an open work permit online or at a Canadian visa office. In some cases, applications can be submitted upon arrival in Canada or from within the country.

General Requirements and Application Process

Requirements To be eligible for a work permit, applicants must:

  • Prove that they will leave Canada when the work permit expires
  • Demonstrate sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents during their stay
  • Have a clean criminal record and provide a police certificate if required
  • Be in good health and pass a medical exam if required
  • Not pose a threat to Canadian security

Application Process Applicants must complete the required application forms, submit supporting documents, and pay the processing fees. Biometrics may also be required for certain applicants. Processing times vary depending on the type of work permit, the applicant’s country of residence, and the completeness of the application.

Obtaining a Canadian work permit, whether as a temporary foreign worker or through an open work permit, is a crucial step for foreign nationals seeking employment opportunities in Canada. By understanding the eligibility requirements, application process, and specific conditions associated with each type of work permit, applicants can increase their chances of success and secure their place in the Canadian workforce.