Work Permit Application

General Information

Most people need a work permit to work in Canada. There are 2 types of work permits: open work permits and employer-specific work permits.

An open work permit (OWP) allows you to be self-employed or work for any employer in Canada, except for an employer who is listed as ineligible on the list of employers who have failed to comply with the conditions or who regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages. Open work permits can only be applied in specific situations.

 Types of Open Work Permits:

  • Temporary Work Permits for Spouses or Partners
  • Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
  • Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)
  • World Youth Program Permit
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program Spousal Permit
  • Regular Open Work Permit
  • Bridging Open Work Permit

An employer-specific work permit or a regular work permit (WP) allows you to work according to the conditions on your work permit including employer, duration, and location of the work.

Generally, employers need to apply for a Labour Market Impact (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada or ESDC (a department of  Service Canada) for an employer-specific work permit except the work permit is LMIA-exempt.

When should I apply for an employer-specific WP?

 You should apply as soon as you have:

  • a written job offer or employment contract and
  • your LMIA decision letter that your employer received from ESDC

If you do not need an LMIA, you may apply when you get your Offer of employment number from the employer to be included in the WP application.

Where can a work permit be applied from?

 Generally, a work permit should be applied from outside Canada. It can only be applied from inside Canada or at a port of entry (POE) when certain additional requirements are met.

LIMA-exempt Situations:

  • International agreements
  • Canadian interests
  • No other means of support (foreign nationals who are subject to an unenforceable removal order and cannot support themselves but are otherwise eligible for an open work permit)
  • Permanent residence applicants in Canada
  • Vulnerable workers
  • Humanitarian reason

Work Permit Exemption:

The following people may be permitted to work in Canada without a work permit:

  • Athlete or coach competing in Canada
  • Aviation accident or incident investigator
  • Business visitor
  • Civil aviation inspector
  • Clergy
  • Convention organizer
  • Crew member
  • Emergency service provider
  • Examiner and evaluator
  • Expert witness or investigator
  • Family member of foreign representative
  • Foreign government officer or representative
  • Health care student
  • Judge, referee or similar official
  • Military personnel
  • News reporter or film and media crew
  • Producer or staff member working on advertisements
  • Performing artist for performances in Canada for a limited period of time
  • Public speaker for events less than 5 days
  • Short-term highly-skilled worker (NOC 0 or A), up to 15 consecutive days once every 6 months or up to 30 consecutive days once every year
  • Short-term researcher (can work for 120 or fewer consecutive days - must have not worked in Canada under this exemption in the last 12 months)
  • Full-time student of a 6 months or longer program with a valid study permit working off-campus (up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.)
  • Full-time international student working on-campus

Work Permit Application:

 Eligibility (for all applications):

To show that you are eligible for a work permit, you must:

  • satisfy an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires
  • show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family during your stay in Canada and to return home
  • be law-abiding and have no record of criminal activity (a Police Clearance Certificate may be requested)
  • not be a danger to the security of Canada
  • be in good health and complete a medical exam, if needed
  • not intend to engage in employment with an employer on the List of Ineligible Employers
  • not plan to work with an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages
  • give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country

Eligibility to apply from inside Canada:

 A work permit can only be applied from inside Canada if:

  • you have a valid study or work permit
  • your spouse, common-law partner or parents have a valid study or work permit
  • you’ve graduated from a program at a:
    • Canadian university
    • community college
    • CÉGEP
    • publicly funded trade/technical school, or
    • other eligible school
  • you have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more
  • you’re waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence from inside Canada
  • you made or will make a claim for refugee protection
  • you’ve been recognized as a convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • you’re allowed to work in Canada without a work permit but you need a work permit to work in a different job, or
  • you’re a trader, investor, intra-company transferee or professional under NAFTA

Eligibility to apply at a port of entry (POE):

 It's recommended to apply for a work permit before travelling to Canada. However,  you can apply at a port of entry if you don't need a visitor visa to come to Canada and you are applying for an open work permit (OWP) or your employer has completed all of your required steps for your employer-specific work permit. Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program is not eligible.

You may need to take a medical exam before you come to Canada.

Application Process:

 (For any work permits, you should apply at least 30 days before your status expires.)

 Prepare documents

  • Submit documents
  • Wait for processing
  • Have medical exam
  • Receive work permit

Related Expenses:

Government Fees:

Open work permit: $255

Regular work permit: $ 155

LMIA application: $1000  (the employer pays)

 

Other third party expenses (if applicable): biometrics, medical exam, translation, notary, etc

 Application Documents:

 Inside-Canada Application Documents:

  • Document Checklist (IMM 5556)
  • Inside-Canada application form (IMM 5710)
  • Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476), if applicable
  • Authority to Release Personal Information form (IMM 5475), if applicable
  • Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409), if applicable
  • Proof of payment (work permit processing fee, open work permit holder fee if applicable)
  • Photocopies of the information pages of your valid passport
  • Photocopies of you travel or identity document if you did not use a passport to enter Canada
  • Photocopy of your current immigration status (if you have one)
  • Photocopy of your Marriage Certificate/License
  • If you are the dependant of another applicant, provide the Unique Client Identifier (UCI) of your family member who is the primary applicant.
  • A copy of the LMIA and a copy of the job offer letter from your employer, if an LIMA is required.
  • The Offer of Employment number to be included in your work permit application, if your employer is LMIA-exempt
  • If you are working in the Province of Quebec, provide a valid CAQ
  • If you are a caregiver (e.g. home support worker, homecare provider, live-in caregiver), provide a photocopy of your signed employer contract between you and your employer
  • If you are a student, provide proof of your academic standing including your enrollment letter and/or photocopies of transcripts from your last two periods of study.
  • If you are a provincial nominee: your nomination letter (work permit support letter), and offer of employment from your employer.
  • If you are the spouse or the common-law partner of an open work permit holder [such as post-graduate work permit, working holiday, bridging open work permit under federal skilled worker class, federal skilled trades class or caregiver class (e.g. home support worker, homecare provider, etc), provide an employment letter from the primary foreign worker's current employer or a copy of their employment offer or contract, a copy of the primary foreign worker's last 3 pa stubs, and a copy of the primary foreign worker's open work permit
  • If you are the spouse or the common-law partner of an open work permit holder i.e. Canadian experience class or provincial nominee class (any NOC occupation), provide a copy of the primary foreign worker's work permit
  • If you are the spouse or the common-law partner of a skilled worker who hold a work permit of is authorized to work without a work permit, provide a letter or copy of the offer of employment or contract form the primary foreign worker's current employer (NOD 0, A, or B occupation), a copy of the primary foreign worker's work permit, and evidence that the primary foreign worker physically resides or plans to resides in Canada while working
  • If you are the spouse or the common-law partner of a full-time student who holds a study permit, provide a copy of the student's study permit and evidence such as enrollment letter showing the student is engaged in full-time studies in an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada
  • Any other documents needed (specific to the type of work permit you are applying for)

Outside-Canada Application:

Application Documents:

  • Document Checklist (IMM 5488)
  • Outside-Canada application form (IMM 1295)
  • Use of a Representative form (IMM 5476), if applicable
  • Family Information form (IMM 5707)
  • Visa Office requirement form
  • Authority to Release Personal Information form (IMM 5475), if applicable
  • Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409), if applicable
  • Fee payment receipts in acceptable formats (work permit processing, open work permit holder fee, biometrics, etc. if applicable), Visa offices don't accept payment receipts from Canadian banks.
  • Two color or black and white photos meeting the requirements (On the back of two photos, write your name and date of birth); not required to include paper photos if you are required to provide biometric fingerprints and photo.
  • Photocopies of the information pages of your valid passport or travel document
  • Proof of your current immigration status (if your country of residence is different from your citizenship)
  • Photocopy of your Marriage Certificate/License
  • Proof that you meet the requirements of the job being offered
  • A copy of the LMIA and a copy of the job offer letter from your prospective employer, or An Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact (IMM 5802) or the Offer of Employment ID number
  • If you are working in the Province of Quebec, provide a valid CAQ
  • If you are a provincial nominee: your nomination letter (work permit support letter), and offer of employment from your employer.
  • If you are applying for a post-graduate work permit, provide a final transcript and a letter from the institution and/or the formal notice of graduation.
  • Any additional documents required by the responsible visa office.