As a foreign national aspiring to immigrate to Canada and work there, you need a Canadian work permit to do so otherwise no employer will risk employing you.
Canadian work permit is a document that qualifies you to be gainfully employed and earn a living in Canada. A Canadian work permit is usually issued by Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP).
While TFWP offers work permits to candidates whose employer provide a positive LMIA (LMIA shows that there is no available Canadian worker to fill the position hence the need for a foreign worker), IMP does not require LMIA.
IMP only requires the employer to submit an employment offer under the employment portal.
Types of Canada Work Permit
Canada work permits are of two types
- Openwork permit and
- Employer-specific work permit
Open Work Permit
Openwork permit allows for the holder to work with any employer of their choice except in the following situation
- If the employer is listed among the list of ineligible employers that failed to measure up to the conditions
- If the employer offers erotic dance, striptease, erotic massage or escort services.
Employer-Specific Work Permit
This type of work permit as the name implies permits you to only work for a particular employer. This type of work permit allows you to work in Canada based on the conditions stated on your work permit. This includes the name of the employer, how long you can work and sometimes the location where you can work.
When turning in your application for this type of work permit, the employer must give you an offer of employment number or a copy of LMIA to add to your application.
Who needs a Canadian Work Permit?
Most foreign nationals need a work permit to work in Canada. The Canadian Government will allow a foreign worker to work for the period of time in which the work permit is valid.
There are however some work situations where a work permit is not a requirement, examples of such situations include
- Working on campus as an international student
- Business visitors
- Aviation inspector
- Military personnel
- Emergency service provider
- Public speakers
- Referees or other similar officials
- Some categories of farmworkers
- Convention organizers
- News reporter and media team
- Performing artistes
- Foreign government officers
How long is Canada Work Permit Valid for?
Canadian work permits are usually valid for 12-24 months. However, the validity period of a work permit can be changed by a Canadian visa officer according to the date of expiry on the travel document or passport of the applicant.
A visa officer cannot issue a work permit that will be valid long after an applicant’s travel document has expired. Expired work permits can be renewed.
The requirement to apply for Work Permit
Here is a list of documents you will need to provide when applying for a work permit in Canada.
- A valid passport or travel document with at least 6 months of validity remaining
- Proof of funds (IEC visa applicants)
- Two photos of yourself and photos of any accompanying family member
- Evidence indicating that you meet the requirement of the job being offered
- Marriage certificate, Birth certificate or any other proof of relationship between spouses, children or common-law partners.
Additional documents may be required according to the Canadian work permit program you qualify for and your intent for applying.
If your work permit program has LMIA as a requirement, you will need a copy of your employment contract and an offer of employment ID number.
How to Apply for Canada Work Permit
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the application processes have been shifted online. So, all you need to do is provide and submit all the documents required of you based on the program for which you are applying for.
After submission of your application, you may be invited for an interview with an immigration officer in your country of application and also provide a medical report although these are often not required.
Once your application has been submitted and has gotten to the stage where your biometrics are needed, you will be sent a notification on where to get it done. There are fees attached to the application and biometric processes.
Once you successfully get approval, you will get a confirmation letter that states that you are allowed to work in Canada and the conditions of your work permit. This, however, is not your work permit, it will be issued to you on arrival to Canada.
How long does it take to process a Canadian work permit?
So long as your documents are complete and your application is in order, in as little as two weeks, you can get your Canada work permit.