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Work permit visa

Obtaining a Canadian temporary work permit is a multi-step process that can take several weeks. There are a number of different ways to secure a work permit. Depending on one’s nationality, occupation, and intended work in Canada, there may be possibilities for expediting the process.

Canadian Temporary Work Visa

In order to be granted a temporary work permit, Canadian employers will need to provide foreign workers either an approval from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) or an Offer of Employment number issued by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Depending upon their country of citizenship, foreign workers may need to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to travel to Canada.

Following are the steps to apply for a Canadian Work permit

Step 1: Employer applies for Labour Market Impact Assessment, if necessary

Canadian employers who wish to hire temporary foreign worker must obtain a neutral or positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from ESDC, which is issued if ESDC is satisfied that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident available to do the job.

Further, if the Canadian employer is hiring for a position located in the province of Quebec, the foreign worker will need to obtain a Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) in order to work temporarily in Quebec.

In a limited number of situations foreign workers may obtain a work permit without the need for a LMIA. These work permits are typically referred to as LMIA Exempt Work Permits.

Step 2: Employer extends Temporary Job Offer

Once a positive or neutral LMIA is granted, the Canadian employer must provide a copy of the LMIA approval letter along with a detailed job offer letter to the foreign worker, who will need those documents to apply for a work permit.

Step 3: Foreign Worker applies for Work Permit

With the LMIA approval letter, the job offer letter (and the CAQ if applicable), the foreign worker can submit an application for a Canadian temporary work permit to IRCC. Depending on their country of citizenship, the foreign worker may need to obtain a TRV to travel to Canada, and would therefore need to submit the temporary work permit application at a Canadian visa office abroad.

Step 4: Work Permit is issued

The Canadian temporary work permit, will be issued at the point of entry by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer at the time the foreign worker arrives in Canada.

A temporary work permit may be issued for a period of time ranging from a few days to a few years.

Most Canadian work permits are employer specific, otherwise referred to as “closed” work permits, and are granted for a specific job in Canada. Consequently, a foreign worker may only work for the employer specified on the work permit. As such, if the foreign worker finds a different employment and does not yet have permanent resident status, the foreign worker must apply for and receive a new work permit prior to changing employers or their position in Canada.


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