Step-by-step instructions to apply for a work permit in Canada
Updated: May 13
Many of our clients reach out to us and ask: “How can I get a work permit in Canada?” or “Do I need a work permit in Canada?” Read below to see our answers to these questions and step-by-step instructions for how to apply for a Canadian work permit.
STEP ONE: DETERMINE WHETHER YOU NEED A WORK PERMIT
For the vast majority of those interested in working in Canada, they will need to apply for a work permit in order to work in Canada. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule depending on the type of work you will perform and the amount of time you will spend working in Canada. Some positions that may be work permit exempt include athletes, emergency service providers, military personnel, students working on-campus, and more.
STEP TWO: IDENTIFY WHICH TYPE OF WORK PERMIT YOU NEED
There are two main types of work permits available for those wishing to work in Canada. These two permits include: open work permits and employer-specific work permits. An open work permit allows you to work any employer in Canada. Whereas, the employer-specific work permit requires you to work one specific employer throughout the duration of your stay in Canada.
STEP THREE: DETERMINE YOUR ELIGIBILITY
You must determine whether or not you are eligible to work in Canada. According to the Government of Canada, you must:
prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires,
show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home,
obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (we may ask you to give us a police clearance certificate),
not be a danger to Canada’s security,
be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed,
not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions,
not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.
There are also some different requirements for those applying from within Canada versus those who are applying from outside of Canada.
STEP FOUR: CHOOSE HOW YOU WILL APPLY
You may apply online or using a paper application. You may also apply from either inside or outside of Canada. If you choose to use a paper application, we recommend creating an online GC Key account and linking your application so that you can check on the processing status of your application and receive immediate notifications about your application.
STEP FIVE: APPLY
Now you’re ready to apply for a work permit to Canada! If you choose to apply online, you will need access to a scanner or camera to make digital copies of your documents. You will also need a valid credit or debit card to pay your application fees and biometrics fee.
If you choose to apply on paper, you will need to find the appropriate forms for you to use, depending on where you’re applying from (i.e. inside Canada, outside Canada, or as you enter Canada). It’s important to note that if you choose to apply for International Experience Canada or the Global Skills Strategy, you must apply online.
BONUS TIP: THE LABOUR MARKET IMPACT ASSESSMENT (LMIA)
A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that many employers must get before hiring a temporary foreign worker. If you want to apply for a Canadian work permit, you may need to have your employer complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to demonstrate the need for you to be hired instead of someone already living in Canada.
To apply for a Canadian work permit, you’ll need a job offer letter, a contract, a copy of the LMIA, and the LMIA number.
Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area.
We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.