A Canadian work permit is permission to take a job within Canada if you are from a foreign country. You usually need a work permit to work in Canada.
Applicants need to apply for a Work Visa only after getting a job offer or an employment contract from a Canadian employer. The employer must obtain from ESDC (Employment and Social Development Canada) an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment), which gives them permission to recruit foreign skilled workers for occupations that cannot be filled in by citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
Type of Work Permit
Employer-specific work permit
An employer-specific work permit lets you work in Canada according to the conditions on your work permit, such as:
- The name of the specific employer you can work for
- How long you can work
- The location where you can work (if applicable)
Before you submit your application for an employer-specific work permit, the employer who wants to hire you must complete certain steps and give you either a copy of a Labour Market Impact Assessment or an offer of employment number to include in your application.
Open work permit
An open work permit lets you work for any employer in Canada, except for one that:
- Is listed as ineligible on the list of employers who have failed to comply with the conditions or
- Regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages
You can only get an open work permit in specific situations.
Not sure which one you should get? Find out what type of work permit you need for your situation.
Work Permit Duration
All Canadian work permits have an expiry date. The only way to work in Canada permanently, or for an unspecified length of time, is to acquire permanent resident status.
The Canadian government puts limits on the length of Canadian work permits as well as the accumulated length of time that non-Canadians can work in Canada. The total number of months individuals may work in Canada—whether worked consecutively or with gaps between permits—is 48, or four years total.
Once the maximum of four years work has been accumulated, foreign workers will have to leave Canada and remain outside of the country for at least 48 months (4 years) before being eligible to work in Canada again.
General Eligibility Requirements
- Give proof to an officer that you will move out of Canada on the expiry of your Work Permit
- Have documents showing that you have enough funds to support yourself and your family during your stay in Canada
- Have no record of any criminal activity and submit a police clearance certificate as proof
- Are not a danger to Canada’s security
- Must have good health and take a medical exam if required
- Have no plans to work for an employer listed as ineligible by the government because they failed to comply with certain conditions
- Have no plans to work for an employer who offers erotic dance, escort services, striptease, or erotic massages
- Must be ready to provide any documents demanded by officers to qualify your entry to Canada.
Can You Turn a Work Visa into Permanent Residency?
If you are currently working in Canada and you have applied for permanent residence, you may be eligible for a bridging open work permit if your work permit will expire in four months or less. This means you can keep working while we make a decision on your permanent resident application. To qualify, you must have applied under the:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program,
- Canadian Experience Class,
- Federal Skilled Trades Program,
- Provincial Nominee Program,
- Caring for Children Class, or
- Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class.
You must also:
- currently be in Canada,
- have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within four months,
- select “Open Work Permit” as the type of work permit when you complete your work permit application, and
- pay the work permit processing fee and the Open Work Permit Holder fee.