Work Permits

Regulations and application process

Canada is a very popular destination for skilled workers, with over 300,000 foreign professionals coming to work each year. This section describes the requirements, procedures and other regulations regarding Canadian work permits.

The institution of Employment and Social Development Canada  (ESDC) allocates visas depending on the need for skilled workers and the benefit that they are expected to provide to the Canadian economy. Almost all cases of temporary work in Canada require the worker to possess a valid work permit.

What is a work permit?

A work permit is a document that officially allows individuals to work and live in Canada. There are two main types: open and employer specific work permits.

Open work permits

These permits allow individuals to work for any employer throughout Canada and are only granted in the following a few cases:

Employer specific work permits

These permits allow individuals to work for specified employers according to their employment contracts. Before the individual applies for or is granted one of these permits, the prospective employer must request and be issued a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment  (LMIA) by Employment and Social Development Canada.

To be issued one of these, the employer must prove that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available to fulfil the role. The employer then sends the positive LMIA to the potential employee alongside the official temporary job offer.

However, there are a few cases in which employers need not obtain this assessment if the prospective employee is:

Quebec-based employers hiring foreign skilled workers for jobs not included on the list found in the link above must secure a Certificat d’Acceptation du Quebec (Certificate of Acceptance to Quebec, CAQ) as well as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) .

Fees and Timeline

As getting a work permit is (generally) a two-fold process, the application processing time varies greatly. Application fees remain the same for all countries; $155 CAN.


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