Work Permit

Most foreign nationals need a work permit to work in Canada. The government categorizes work permits under two categories: those who must complete the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and those who are exempt from requiring an LMIA.
Working in Canada

More Details on Work Permits

For Canadian immigration purposes the definition of “work” is very broad and is defined as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market, no matter the duration of the intended activity. Generally speaking, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required, indicating that the proposed employment will not adversely affect Canadian workers. In most cases a job offer from a Canadian employer is required to apply for a Canadian Work Permit. In limited situations, Canadian immigration regulations allow for Open Work Permits, which are not employer-specific. A work permit is always temporary in nature, but can often be extended from inside Canada. Below is a guide on how you can pursue a Canadian temporary work permit.

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Labour Market Impact Assessment

What is a Labour Market
Impact Assessment?

What is a Labour Market
Impact Assessment?

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.

If the employer needs an LMIA, they must apply for one.

Once an employer gets the LMIA, the worker can apply for a work permit.

To apply for a work permit, a worker needs:

  • a job offer letter
  • a contract
  • a copy of the LMIA, and
  • the LMIA number

Work Permit Program

Work Permit Program

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Skilled Canadian work experience in Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) categories 0, 1, 2 or 3 that is gained through the PGWP Program helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian experience class within Express Entry.

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Post-graduation Work Permit Eligibility Requirements

Only 1 post-graduation work permit is issued during the lifetime of an applicant. To obtain a post-graduation work permit, the applicant must currently have valid temporary status in Canada or have left Canada. They must have graduated from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI). They further must submit clear evidence that they meet all of the criteria noted below:

  • They have completed an academic, vocational or professional training program at an eligible institution in Canada that is at least 8 months in duration leading to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • They have maintained full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the program or programs of study they have completed and submitted as part of their post-graduation work permit application. Exceptions can be made only for the following:
  • They have received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that they have met the requirements to complete their program of study.Note: The transcript and official letter must be included in a post-graduation work permit application.

Within 180 days of the date of applying for the post-graduation work permit, applicants must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • They hold a valid study permit.
  • They held a study permit.
  • They were authorized to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
Bridging Open Work Permit

Bridging Open Work Permit
(for Permanent Residence Applicants)

Bridging Open Work Permit
(for Permanent Residence Applicants)

A bridging open work permit (BOWP) lets you keep working while you wait for the results of your permanent residence application. You may be eligible if you applied to one of the permanent residence programs below.

Work Permit Eligibility for
Family Members of Foreign Workers

Work Permit Eligibility for
Family Members of Foreign Workers

Commensing January 30, 2023, family members of most foreign workers can apply for an open work permit. A few exceptions may apply to family members of low-skilled workers.

You may be eligible for this temporary measure if you’re a family member of a principal foreign worker in Canada who is any of the following:

  • High-Skilled Worker
  • Low-Skilled Worker
  • Work permit holder who has applied or will apply for permanent residence through an economic immigration program
Family Work Permit
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