Author: Brock Immigration Services Inc. |

In Canada, thousands of Work Permits are issued to Foreign Nationals each year. This helps our local businesses meet their labour needs as well as offers pathways for Foreign Nationals to gain valuable experience in Canada. Many Foreign National workers integrate into the Canadian society and eventually naturalize to become Canadian Permanent Residents and Citizens.

For a large majority of skilled trades and professionals, a Work Permit is needed by Foreign Nationals to work in Canada. There are some exceptions to this rule – speak with our licensed consultants to learn more about specifics.

Work Permits

A Work Permit is an authorization granted by IRCC that allows a Foreign National to work legally in Canada. A Work Permit can either be issued for a specific employment opportunity (i.e. named employer, occupation & wage, duration of employment, and location of employment), or alternatively, it can be issued ‘open’ with very few restrictions on employment.

A Work Permit is a form of temporary residency and typically has an expiration date. In working under a Work Permit, a Foreign National may be eligible to use their Canadian-obtained work experience towards applying for a Permanent Residency in Canada.

A Foreign National may apply for a work permit from either the Visa post abroad, Port of Entry, or from within Canada, each scenario would depend on various factors.

For instance, the following persons may apply at the Port of Entry:

  • US citizens (or PR of the US)
  • Residents of Greenland and St. Pierre and Miquelon
  • Persons who do not require an *LMIA to work
  • Persons who require an LMIA to work, as long as the LMIA confirmation has been issued before the worker seeks entry.

*LMIA – Labour Market Impact Assessment, a document that a Canadian employer would obtain prior to hiring a Foreign National.

The following persons must apply from their designated visa office(s) abroad:

  • Persons who require Temporary Resident Visas (TRV’s) to enter Canada
  • Persons who require a medical examination for entry
  • Participants in an international youth exchange program
  • Seasonal agricultural workers
  • In-home Caregivers

Other situations allow persons to apply from within Canada if for example they hold valid working permits and wish to change their conditions or renew their permits.

Work without Work Permit

While most occupations require Work Permits, some occupations do not. Those occupations that do not require Work Permits include the following (each with classifying definitions) – Contact our office to speak with our consultants to determine your options and navigate these requirements.

  • Business Visitors
  • Athletes and coaches
  • Expert witnesses or investigators
  • Foreign representatives
  • News reporters
  • Health care students
  • Family members of foreign representatives
  • Public speakers
  • Civil aviation inspectors
  • Military personnel
  • Convention organizers
  • Aviation accident or incident inspectors
  • Foreign government officers
  • Clergy
  • Crew (international transportation)
  • On-campus employment (Students)
  • Judges and referees
  • Emergency service providers
  • Performing artists
  • Examiners and evaluators
  • Implied status

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

In general, in order to apply for a Work Permit, a Foreign National requires government approval in the form of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) – if the occupation demands one. This LMIA is required to ensure that no qualified Canadians are overlooked in favour of the Foreign National, and that the Foreign National is offered the standard salary/wage for that occupation.

The employer is the party required to apply for this LMIA and once a positive LMIA determination has been obtained, the worker will use this positive LMIA to apply for a Work Permit.

While an LMIA is required for most occupations, there are some that do not require an LMIA to apply for a Work Permit. Some examples of occupations/positions that are exempt from LMIA confirmation (and in these cases require Work Permits) include the following:

  • Post-doctoral fellows
  • Research award recipients
  • Eminent individuals (e.g. leaders in various fields)
  • Guest lecturers
  • Visiting professors
  • Citizens of the US and Mexico were appointed as professors under the International Mobility Program (Canada-International Trade Agreements).

Here is a reference guide to occupations that require an LMIA

LMIA’s issued to employers will be valid for a maximum of 6 months from the date of issuance and if the LMIA is not used to support a Work Permit within this time, the employer will be required to apply for a new LMIA.

Application procedures for LMIA’s will vary based on the categories of the positions being offered as follows:

  • Agricultural Workers
  • Live-In Caregivers
  • Lower-Skilled Occupations
  • Higher-Skilled Occupations

Instruction on applications is constantly shifting, our licensed case managers will assist with the eligibility and application process.

Once the Foreign National obtains sufficient experience, they can apply for Permanent Residency through various streams. Such a category is the Canadian Experience Class that allows qualified Temporary Foreign Workers to apply for Permanent Residency once they have obtained sufficient experience in Canada. This category (as with most other categories) requires proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing either English or French.

The information above is meant for information purposes only.  Requirements and procedures regularly change, oftentimes without notice, and it is strongly advised to use the services of an experienced licensed immigration consultant for all immigration matters. 

Contact our offices today for services related to immigration and Citizenship work.