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Home >> Before You Arrive >> Work Permits

Work Permits (Work Visas)

A Work Permit — or Work Visa — is required before you can accept most temporary jobs in Canada. The requirements and processing times for a Work Permit vary depending on the type of application you submit and the location (inside or outside of Canada) from where you submit your request. Information on anticipated processing times is posted online by the federal government (see For More Information links below).

In most cases, you should apply for a permit before entering the country. The application should include the following documents:

  • A detailed job offer from a Canadian employer.
  • Proof that you meet Canadian immigration requirements.
  • Written confirmation from Employment and Social Development Canada that your employer can hire a foreign worker in the form of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if an LMIA is required (see For More Information links below for more information on LMIAs).

You may need a medical examination if you plan to stay in Canada longer than six months. Generally, people in health services, child care, education and agricultural occupations need medical examinations to qualify for a Work Permit. A medical exam will probably lengthen the processing time for your Work Permit by approximately three months.

Work Permits are issued by immigration officers as you enter the country. If you are authorized to work by a visa office outside of Canada, you will receive a letter indicating you are allowed to work in Canada. You must show the letter, along with your passport and other documents, to an immigration officer as you come into Canada. The officer will give you a Work Permit that sets out the conditions of your stay and work in Canada.

Some people may be eligible to apply for a Work Permit from inside Canada or as they enter the country. Applicants from certain countries and territories may also require a temporary resident visa to work in Canada.

Work Permits are not required for some temporary jobs in Canada. For example, if they meet certain criteria, foreign students may work both on- and off-campus while completing their studies. The government of Canada maintains a list of job categories that may not require permits.

Extending Your Work Permit

Temporary work permits for Canada can be extended when necessary, but there is a four-year maximum limit on how long you can work in Canada. Before you can work in Canada temporarily again, you will need to wait another four more years. See the For More Information links below for details on how and when to apply for an extension and the time limitation.

For More Information

Study in Ontario — International Students
Information for international students interested in going to College or University in Ontario. Includes details on choosing a school and how to apply; what qualifications and admissions are required; getting credentials evaluated; and what tuition assistance options (scholarships, bursaries, and loans) are available. Also includes information on working on- and off-campus and work permits for students and post-graduates; obtaining university health insurance; bringing a spouse or a child; and options for living and working in Canada permanently. A video is also available.

Application to work in Canada — Work Permits
Government of Canada information about applying for a Work Permit to work temporarily in Canada. Includes a list of countries and territories whose citizens also need a Temporary Resident Visa and/or who need to provide biometric information. There is also a list and links to Canadian visa offices abroad.

Government of Canada Job Bank
Overview about working in Canada. Includes links to information on government, wages, taxes, important documents, challenges, and rights as well as videos and guides. Also features a number of useful tools for researching the demand and outlook for different occupations in locations across Canada as well as listing existing job opportunities.

Ontario Immigration: Work Permits
How and when to obtain a work permit, information for international students who want to work, and the special provisions for certain fields.

Determine your eligibility — Work in Canada
Government of Canada information on who is eligible to work in Canada. Includes details on the different application processes and eligibility requirements for those applying from outside Canada, inside Canada, and entering Canada.

Find out if you need a work permit to work in Canada
This is Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) list of job categories for which no work permit is required to work in Canada. Note that even when a work permit is not necessary, other rules and requirements may apply.

Find out if you need a medical exam
Applicants for a Work Permit must have a medical examination if they plan to be in Canada for more than six months or if they have been in certain countries for six months of the year prior to coming to Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)-list of countries for which a medical exam is required if visited.

Find out if you need a visa
Citizens of certain countries or territories require a visa to visit or travel through Canada. Biometrics, such as fingerprints and a photograph, may also be required. Includes links to information on biometrics, how to apply for various visitor visas, and extending your stay.

Do you want to come to Canada, or extend your stay?
A Government of Canada online tool that will walk you through your immigration options and help you submit an online or paper application. For those who wish to come to Canada or extend their stay.

Determine your eligibility – Canadian Experience Class
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a subcategory of the Express Entry skilled immigrant immigration program. CEC is specific to those individuals who already have a qualifying amount of work experience in Canada, who meet the required language levels, and who are not settling in Quebec. Note that self-employment and work experience gained while a full-time student does not count under this program and that there are other restrictions as well. An explanatory video specific to students applying under this category is available.

Working in Canada Videos
Canadian government videos about working in Canada. Includes videos on occupations in the tourism sector and various occupations as described by workers. Also include videos of newcomer’s stories about coming to Canada and information about Canada. A partner site to the Government of Canada Job Bank website.

Opportunities Ontario: Foreign Workers
Work permit information for businesses wishing to recruit and hire foreign workers. Includes information and links on both the General Category (including a video) and the International Student With Job Offer streams for employers and those seeking nomination as a foreign worker. Also lists the process and documents required of both employer and employee, and how employees may extend their stay in Ontario.

See if you need a Labour Market Impact Assessment
Information on when an employer needs to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire a foreign worker through the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Includes a list of worker categories for those who need a work permit but not an LMIA.

Stay in Canada after graduation
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to stay and work in Canada and gain valuable Canadian work experience. Skilled Canadian work experience helps graduates qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) immigration program. Criteria, requirements, and how to apply for this work permit are addressed. Includes a video on the Canadian Experience Class immigration stream for students.

Frequently Asked Questions: Studying in Canada
A FAQ with details on study permits and work permits for students. What is required to study in Canada, the process to obtain the required permits, and what are some study and immigration options available to students.

Planning to work in Canada? An essential workbook for newcomers
Foreign Credentials Referral Office workbook/guide with information about living and working in Canada (listed under the “Credential recognition” subcategory). It includes information on languages, finding a job, work-related documents and education/academic credentials.

Temporary foreign workers — Your rights are protected
A Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) pamphlet to inform temporary foreign workers of their rights under Canadian law. The exploitation of a foreign national may violate Canadian law and human rights. Includes information on payment, contracts, safety, changing your jobs, accommodation (housing), and human trafficking. Also available in Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, and Tagalog (listed under the “Working Temporarily in Canada” subcategory).

Living in Canada Tool
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) online tool that helps newcomers learn what they need to settle and live in Canada.

Reasons for inadmissibility
Information on why certain individuals may be denied a visa, denied entry to Canada, or removed from Canada.

Four year maximum – Work in Canada
Government of Canada information on this work permit limit and how it may affect you.

Build ON
Prepare to work in the skilled trades in Ontario. To help you find a job, this site offers one-on-one consultations with a coach, videos and documents in English and French.

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