How to Get a Work Permit: Work in Canada

There are over 60+ different work permit options in Canada. Find out what your alternatives are.

Hundreds of thousands of work permits are issued by Canada each year to people from all over the world.

This is due to Canada’s ambition to attract international talent to help it achieve its economic and social goals. Canada offers work permits to foreign workers in order to meet the country’s economic and labour market demands.

Work permits are often issued for social purposes, such as keeping families together in Canada and strengthening cultural relationships with partner nations.

More than 60+ different work permit options are available in Canada to fulfill these policy objectives.

The paths are divided into two categories. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program are the two programmes in consideration.


The TFWP was created to alleviate Canada’s labour shortages. Employers must show the Canadian government that hiring a foreign worker is necessary owing to a lack of qualified workers in Canada. They must pass a labour market exam to demonstrate this.

It’s known as the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (LMIA). The Canadian government must then determine if the foreign worker’s hiring will have a positive or neutral influence on the Canadian labour market. Once this is confirmed, the foreign worker can proceed to the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada to apply for a work permit (IRCC).

The International Mobility Program (IMP) was created to promote Canada’s many economic and social objectives. The IMP does not require an LMIA. Instead, under the IMP, qualifying foreign workers can apply for a work visa through the IRCC.

Some foreign workers may be able to skip this phase entirely and come to Canada to work for a limited time.

The IMP’s numerous paths are the outcome of Canada’s numerous free trade agreements and domestic policy goals. For example, the Canada-United States-Mexico Deal (CUSMA, formerly known as NAFTA) is a well-known free trade agreement that permits Americans and Mexicans to work in Canada without the need for an LMIA.

Due to youth mobility agreements between Canada and partner industrialised nations, youth from all around the world are able to work in Canada under the IMP.

Under the IMP, Canada also allows its citizens, such as international graduates and qualifying spouses/partners, to get work permits in order to gain local work experience and support themselves financially while living in the country.

How do You get a Canadian work permit under the TFWP?

Employers are in charge of obtaining a work permit under the TFWP. An employer must have a job opening and assess that no appropriate personnel are available in Canada to fill it. After that, the employer must apply for an LMIA and wait for a positive or neutral response.

Once this is in place, the foreign worker can apply for a work permit by submitting their employment offer letter, LMIA letter, and all other supporting documentation to IRCC.

Employer-specific work permits, often known as “closed” work permits, are issued under the TFWP. This means that the foreign worker can only work for the company that hired them and for a period of time that the Canadian government has permitted.

How do You work in Canada under the IMP?

An employer or a foreign worker can lead the process of obtaining a work permit under the IMP. If a business has a vacancy and a foreign worker qualifies for an IMP stream, the foreign worker can be hired.

Furthermore, unlike the TFWP, a foreign worker covered by the IMP can, in principle, work for any employer of their choice (although this is not the case for everyone).

The following are some of the most common grounds for being qualified to work in Canada under the IMP:

  • CUSMA: When applying for work in Canada, citizens of the United States and Mexico may be eligible for expedited processing.
  • Intra-Company Transfers: This enables certain employers to transfer employees to their Canadian offices.
  • Television and Film: Canada invites employees from the entertainment industry to help support the country’s burgeoning television and film industries.
  • Business Visitors: Foreign employees who match specific criteria, such as being in Canada for less than six months and not intending to enter the Canadian labour market, may be permitted to work in Canada without a work visa.
  • International Experience Canada: Canada has bilateral agreements with more than 30 nations that allow young people to work in the country.
  • Bridging Open Work Permit: While their permanent residence application is being processed, eligible skilled worker applicants living in Canada can apply for a BOWP. If they live in Canada, eligible spouses/partners of Canadian citizens/permanent residents can also apply for a BOWP.
  • PGWP (Post-Graduation Work Permit): The PGWP (Post-Graduation Work Permit) is the most popular work permit under the IMP. PGWPs can be obtained for up to three years by eligible international graduates of Canadian authorised learning institutions (e.g., colleges and universities).

These are just a few of the many options for legally entering and working in Canada. It’s fair that negotiating Canada’s work permit systems can be intimidating at first, but you don’t have to be. There is a lot of help available to assist you in determining the best option for you.

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