Work Permit and how to Apply?
Canada uses the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). The difference between the programs is that: TFWP requires a labor market test known as the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Navigating Canada’s work permit options can be difficult, but we seek to make it as easy for you as possible.
What is a Work permit
Work permits allow individuals to travel to another country to work there.
In most cases, a work visa or permit is mandatory to accept employment in a foreign state. There are some exceptions, such as in blocs of countries with freedom of movement policy (like the EU).
Work permits are usually temporary but may be renewed. Some countries issue permanent work permits or allow holders to change to a residence visa after a certain period.
Various countries have different systems in which foreign nationals must first apply for a long-stay visa and then obtain a work permit once they arrive.
Open Work Permit
An open work permit enables a foreign worker to work for any employer in Canada. Available work permits do not require foreign nationals to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment or a job offer when applying to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada for a work permit.
Closed Work Permit
Closed work permits require a foreign worker to only work for the employer who has obtained a positive LMIA and provided them with a job offer. If a foreign worker is no longer going to work for this employer, they need to apply to change the conditions of their work permit if they wish to continue to work legally in Canada.
Types of Work permit
There are two types of work permit programs in Canada:
- Temporary Foreign Worker Program: A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required for a foreign national to obtain a work permit
- International Mobility Program: An LMIA is not required for a foreign national to obtain a work permit
The purpose of the LMIA is for employers to demonstrate to the Canadian government that hiring a foreign worker will not harm Canada’s existing workforce. The federal department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) wants to ensure that the hiring of foreign workers will not displace existing workers in Canada nor place downward pressures on their wages. Workers that need an LMIA fall under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
Although the LMIA process is the rule, many different LMIA-exempt work permits result from free trade agreements, such as the former North American Free Trade Agreement, now known as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA. These free trade agreements enable foreign workers to apply for a work permit without their employer having to obtain an LMIA. In addition to these employer-sponsored work permits, there are several work permit options available to foreign workers who do not yet have a job offer, including working holidays, post-graduate work permits, and open spousal work permits. Workers who do not need an LMIA fall under the International Mobility Program (IMP).
How to get a Work Permit
Two Canadian federal departments are responsible for work permits. Suppose a Labour Market Impact Assessment is required. In that case, the department of Employment and Social Development Canada will review the LMIA application and decide whether it approves the application.
The Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) handles obtaining a work permit. Once an LMIA has been approved, you submit a work permit application to IRCC. If an LMIA is not required, you also apply to IRCC to get a work permit. The work permit provides you with the legal authority to work in Canada for a temporary period.
These are among the typical scenarios under which one can work in Canada:
LMIA Required: These work permits require the employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment as part of the process.
LMIA Exempt: Certain circumstances allow for individuals to work in Canada without first obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
CUSMA: These are issued under the Canada-United-States-Mexico Agreement (formerly NAFTA), allowing work without an LMIA.
Intra-Company Transfers: These permits will allow a company to bring certain employees to Canada from its offices abroad without a LMIA.
Business Visitors: In many cases, business visitors may work in Canada without a work permit, so long as they meet certain conditions and don’t enter the Canadian labour market.
Post-Graduation Work Permits: After graduating from a Designated Learning Institution, international students in Canada may work for up to three years.
What you need to apply for work permit?
There are general requirements that all applicants must fulfill and specific ones they need to complete based on the work permit stream they are applying under. For example, if you are applying under a work permit stream that requires an LMIA, you need to submit the following documents to IRCC as part of your work permit application:
- a job offer letter
- employment contract
- a copy of the LMIA
- the LMIA number
Generally speaking, all applicants need to demonstrate they will leave Canada when their work permit expires, they have enough money to support themselves in Canada financially, and they do not pose a risk to public health and safety. They will not work for ineligible employers or in ineligible occupations.
How to renew your work permit in canada
If you have a work permit that is about to expire or need to make changes to the conditions of your work permit, you need to submit a new application at least 30 days before your work permit expires. You cannot extend your work permit beyond your passport’s expiry date.