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The Canadian government has established laws regarding the entry of foreign workers into the country. These laws can seem complex and intimidating at first, but they really aren’t that difficult to navigate once you know what information you need to provide to get your work permit approved. If you’re applying for your first Canada work permit, keep reading to learn more about the application process and what paperwork you’ll need to submit before you can apply.
What is a work permit?
Simply put, a work permit is issued by your country’s embassy to allow you to live and work in another country. Typically, a work permit is accompanied by some sort of visa (such as a student or tourist visa), but it can be issued without one. The work component may seem obvious, but many people forget that travel visas don’t always grant permission to work; some require you to maintain financial self-sufficiency while visiting.
Different Types of Work Permits in Canada
Which One is Right for You?: Before you apply for a work permit, it’s important to understand all of your options. The two main types of work permits available in Canada are open and closed. An open work permit allows you to take any job and as soon as you arrive in Canada, while a closed work permit requires that you find an employer willing to hire you before being granted permission to work in Canada. Which option is right for you depends on your unique situation: do you have a specific job offer, or do want to remain flexible?
Are you eligible for a work permit in Canada?
The first step in applying for a work permit is to make sure you’re eligible. Not all international students are eligible to apply for a work permit. If you’re an international student and want to work in Canada, it’s important that you check with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) first to see if you qualify. Find out how much money can I earn while on a co-op or internship program?: Before you apply for a work permit, be sure to find out whether your intended employment is approved by IRCC.
The application process
If you wish to apply for a job in Canada as a foreign worker, you must first obtain a work permit. There are two ways to do so: by applying directly at an embassy or consulate abroad or by applying online through Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Express Entry System. In either case, however, once you’ve been granted your work permit, you must then apply for a temporary resident visa (TRV) before entering Canada. If all goes well and your TRV is approved, that means only one thing: it’s time to start packing your bags! However, with multiple permits required in addition to complicated paperwork along with significant fees and application processing times involved, it can be difficult deciding which option is best suited for each unique applicant.
Timeframe and fees involved with applying for a work permit in Canada.
To obtain a work permit in Canada, you have to submit your application for a work permit to Human Resources and Skills Development within your country of residence. Processing times will vary depending on which office or jurisdiction handles your application. The fee associated with obtaining a work permit can range from $100-$1,000. It is recommended that you gather all relevant documents such as previous employment history, educational certificates, and other information to submit with your application in order to expedite processing times. If you are staying in Canada temporarily and plan on working while there, check out our guide on how to apply for a temporary resident visa while visiting Canada: Temporary Resident Visa: Can I Get One?
Applying under different categories
There are two basic categories under which you can apply for a work permit in Canada: Through an employer and as a self-employed worker. Unless you’re going to be working for a big company, you should probably apply through a temporary employer, or an umbrella company. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get approved if you go it alone—it just means that there are fewer hoops to jump through if your employer has applied on your behalf.
Tips on how to make the application process less overwhelming.
First, start with understanding your options when it comes to working in Canada. Do you have a job offer from a Canadian employer? If so, do you need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an Invitation to Apply (ITA)? Or, if you’re applying for permanent residence, then what is an LMIA-exempt employer and how does that apply to your application process? Once you figure out which type of work permit is best suited for your situation, things get easier from there.