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Canada Visa


How many kinds of work permit are there in Canada?

“Work” is defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) as “an activity for which wages or commission is earned, or that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market”. In most cases, anyone who wishes to work in Canada must apply for a Canadian work permit.

In general, there are two kinds of work permits in Canada – those that require the approval of the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (“HRDC”) and those that are exempt from this requirement.

How can I get a work permit in Canada?

First, you must obtain a valid job offer from an employer in Canada. Thereafter, HRDC must provide a labour market opinion for your job offer. Lastly, you must fill out an application form and send it to CIC (along with the required supporting documentation and a fee). For most work permits, you must apply to the Canadian visa office in your country of citizenship.

Who can I get to assist me in processing my work permit?

You can enlist the help of two types of individuals – compensated individuals (considered by CIC to be “authorized representatives”, such as a licensed Canadian lawyer) or uncompensated individuals (such as a family member or friend). In case there are complications with your application, it is best to consult with an authorized representative.

What are the documents I need to submit?

Depending on the type of work permit you are applying for, the requirements may differ. Typically you will need to submit the following:

How long do I have to wait for my work permit to be processed?

Most work permits that are filed out of Canada may be issued within a short period of time but this depends on the particular visa office to which you applied. However, you must always keep in mind that there are no guarantees with any application.

Where can I check on the status of my application?

You can track the processing times for your application on the CIC website:

What will the proof of my work permit be?

Once CIC has approved your application, you will receive a work permit – a document that allows you to work at a specific job for a specific employer.

Are there any conditions on my work permit?

Work permits may contain the following conditions:

How long is the validity of the work permit before it expires?

As of April 1, 2011, you will be able to work in Canada for a maximum period of four years (with a few exceptions).

If my work permit expires and I want to stay in Canada, what do I do?

If your work permit has expired and you would like to remain in Canada, you must apply to do so. You may apply to stay in Canada if your employment has been extended or changes, if you are offered a new job, you would like to live in Canada permanently or if you would like to leave and re-enter Canada.

What if I lose my work permit or it is stolen or destroyed?

A lost, stolen or destroyed work permit may be replaced. You must apply for a certified copy or replacement of the document by filling out an application form and paying a fee.

What happens when an employer asks me to work immediately without a work permit?

You should tell your employer that you are not allowed to work in Canada without a valid work permit.

How can I transfer my work permit from one employer to the next?

A work permit is typically tied to a specific employer for a specific job. In general, if you wish to change employers, you must apply for a new work permit. Do not start your new job without a new work permit.

Aside from obtaining a work permit, how else can I reside in Canada?

There are numerous other immigration options that may be available to you. You should consult a licensed Canadian lawyer to assess the options available to you.

How can I apply for permanent residency and acquire citizenship when I get my work permit?

A Canadian work permit only lets you work in Canada on a temporary basis. If you wish to stay in Canada on a permanent basis, you must apply under a valid permanent resident category. Again, you should consult a licensed Canadian lawyer to assess the more permanent options available to you.

Can my spouse / dependent child(ren) also work in Canada?

If your spouse or dependent children would also like to work in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit. However, in certain circumstances, they may be eligible for an open work permit, which will allow them to accept a job with any employer.

Where can I find more information on residency and citizenship?

You can find more information on residency and citizenship in Canada at the CIC website:

NOTE: The content above is only intended to be general information and should not be taken as legal advice. If you would like to seek specific legal advice about Canadian immigration or would like more information, please contact me. nor the author guarantee the accuracy of the information on this page. It is recommend that particularly prior to your travels you check with the relevant government authority. Please contact us with any updates you may have. Last updated 26 September 2011.

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