A Canadian work permit is a legal document required for any person or entity intending to perform a paid job in Canada. It allows foreigners to come to Canada for employment purposes and remain for up to three years after they arrive. A work permit allows foreign nationals to live and work in Canada as well as their spouses and children under the age of 18, who are dependent on them for support.

Canada mostly issues work permits on the basis of a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This assessment identifies whether there is a shortage of workers with certain skills in a given occupation in Canada. If so, then the employer must seek an LMIA before employing the foreign national. An LMIA may also be required if the employer plans to use temporary foreign workers (TFWs) or contract out labor.

What are the General Eligibility Requirements to Obtain a Canadian Work Permit?

You may be eligible for a work permit if you meet all of the following criteria:


  • Be in good health and must have taken a medical exam if required
  • Have enough money to support yourself and your family members while in Canada;
  • Must be willing to obey Canadian law and must have no criminal record, you may be required to bring a police clearance certificate.
  • Must not be a danger to Canada’s security
  • Must not have intentions to work for employers listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the rules.
  • Provide the officials with any other documents they require to prove you can enter the country.
  • Must not have intentions to work for an employer who regularly offers striptease, escort services, erotic dance or erotic massages.

Global Skills Strategy applicants can benefit from two-week application processing if they apply from outside of Canada.

Stages Involved in the Canadian Work Permit Application

Stage 1: Employer applies for labor market impact assessment: 

The employer should fill out an online form at the website. You must provide basic information about your business, including its name, address, phone number, type of business, employees, hours of operation, turnover, profit, industry classification, past years records and employment history. Your personal information will be confidential.

Employers are encouraged to do so at least 30 days before they plan to hire foreign workers. It’s possible to start applying as soon as you decide to hire foreign workers. The application is usually reviewed within 2 weeks. After that

Stage 2: Employer extends a temporary job offer

The employer will submit a Temporary Foreign Worker Request Form (Form IMM 1000) with supporting documents and pay the fee. It is valid for up to one year. Documents submitted must include:


  • The name and address of the employer
  • Job description
  • The job title for the position
  • Information about start and end dates
  • Details about the salary

It is also possible to apply if you need to extend your temporary job offer more than once. A second job offer is valid for two years from the date of the first job offer. The maximum length of time a foreign worker can go without being granted a work permit is 4 years. Canada Service Agency will verify if the job offer is real and legit, then the CIC  will grant employment authorization for the organization’s future employees to work in Canada.

Stage 3: Foreign skilled worker applies for a work permit

Submit an online application form at the website and attach all required documents. Once approved, you can go to a Visa Office in your country to obtain a work permit or will be issued at the point of entry into Canada. However, there are restrictions on how many times you can extend your temporary work permit.

Stage 4: Foreign skilled worker gets his/her work permit after completing all stages of the hiring process.

Foreign skilled workers may face additional processing requirements such as obtaining an airway board visa before arriving in Canada. Failing to meet these requirements may lead to the refusal of your application.

Can I Apply for a Work Visa Outside of Canada?

Yes, anyone can apply for a Canadian work permit before they enter Canada. To get a work permit outside of Canada, you must prove that you have been working in Canada or an international equivalent in the past 2 years. Foreign skilled workers will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) through the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate abroad.


Can a Work Visa be Turned into Permanent Residency?

Yes, it is quite possible if you are presently working in Canada. After you have worked in Canada for more than two years, you can apply for permanent residency ( PR ). There are several steps involved, however, such as submitting proof of job offers, fulfilling language requirements, etc. To qualify for permanent residence it means you must have applied under the following immigration program:

  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Caring for Children Class, or
  • Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class.

Other requirements are

  • Must presently be in Canada
  • Have a legitimate status on a work permit that is about to expire within four-month
  • Be willing to pay the work permit and open work permit processing and holder fee
  • Must choose “Open Work Permit” as the type of work permit when you complete your work permit application.

Can I Apply for a Work Visa While I Am In Canada?

You can apply for a work permit if you are presently in Canada. You must submit proof of employment while you are in Canada or proof of being engaged in business activities that require your presence in Canada. Other requirements are:

  • Your employment should be stable and be recognized by Canadian law and labor laws. It should also provide income and support your needs.
  • Proof of identity (with at least one official form of ID such as driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  • Proof of financial stability and evidence of earnings. This could be pay stubs, bank statements, T4 statements, pension statements, or contract documents.
  • If you have any debts that could jeopardize your chances of gaining permanent residency, make sure that you resolve them before you apply for a work permit.

How Long Will It Take to Receive My Work Visa?

Processing time depends mainly on the completion of your application and the office you applied to. It is estimated to take between 1-27 weeks to process a Canadian work permit.