How To Get Work Permit In Canada: A Detailed Guide

Canada is the foremost stop for various foreigners looking for a decent job. Some of the most demanding jobs in Canada are IT and Support Desk Specialist, Cyber Security Specialist, Digital Marketing, Logistics/Transportation Managers, etc.

However, if you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you need a work permit in Canada to work there legally.

In general, you need to apply for a work permit from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or a Canadian visa office before you come to Canada. But there are a few things that the applicants should know before applying for a work permit in Canada.

To apply for a work permit in Canada, a worker needs the following documentation:

  • A job offer letter
  • A contract
  • A copy of the LMIA, and
  • The LMIA number

So without further ado, let us understand more about the process of obtaining a work permit in Canada

A. Different Types Of Work Permit In Canada

There are two types of work permit in Canada: Employer-specific work permit and Open work permit

1. Employer-Specific Work Permit

To obtain this specific work permit in Canada, one has to mention the furnish with the following information:

  • The name of the particular employer you can work for
  • How long you can work
  • The location where you can work (if applicable)

Before applying for Employer-Specific Work Permit, the employer who wants to hire you must complete certain steps and give you either a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA: a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker) or an offer of employment number to include in your application.

2. Open Work Permit

An open work permit allows you to work for an employer in Canada, except for one that:

You can only get an open work permit in Canada for a few specific situations, for example:

  1. If you are a dependent family member of someone who applied for permanent residence
  2. If you are a temporary resident permit holder
  3. If you are a young worker participating in special programs, etc.
Work Permit in Canada
Image by Infusionsoft, creative commons, copyright 2021

B. Conditions To Apply For A Work Permit In Canada

The eligibility requirements for a work permit in Canada are the same for all applicants. Still, if you are applying from inside Canada or outside, the requirements can be slightly different.

The following points are given to distinguish them:

  • Eligibility requirements for all applicants

You need to meet a few requirements depending on where you are and when you apply for your work permit in Canada. Nevertheless, from where you apply or which type of work permit you apply for, you must-

  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires;
  • show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home;
  • obey the law and have no record of criminal activity ( they may ask you to give them a police clearance certificate);
  • not be a danger to Canada’s security;
  • be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed;
  • not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions;
  • not plan to work for an employer who regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages; and
  • give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.
  • Eligibility requirements if you apply from outside Canada

Anybody can apply before they enter Canada. However, there may be visa office requirements that you need to meet depending on what country or territory you’re applying from.

  • Eligibility requirements if you apply from inside Canada

You can apply for a work permit from inside Canada, if

  • you have a valid study or work permit;
  • your spouse, common-law partner, or parents have a valid study or work permit;
  • you’re eligible for a post-graduation work permit, and your study permit is still valid;
  • you have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more;
  • you’re waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence from inside Canada;
  • you made a claim for refugee protection;
  • you’ve been recognized as a convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada;
  • you’re allowed to work in Canada without a work permit, but you need a work permit to work in a different job (this does not apply to business visitors); or
  • you’re a trader, investor, intra-company transferee, or professional under the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).


Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19), most applicants need to apply online for a work permit in Canada.

However, one should apply for a work permit before traveling to Canada. But you can also apply for a work permit when you enter Canada if you are eligible.

To apply at a port of entry (POE), you must be

  • eligible for an electronic travel authorization or to travel without a visitor visa;
  • entering Canada directly from the United States while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place
  • following other requirements depending on the type of work permit you’re applying for.


Due to COVID-19, the processing time cannot be given accurately by the authorities. But you can keep checking your application status to get updates.

  • If you are applying from outside Canada

If you are applying for a work permit in Canada from somewhere else, you need to give your fingerprints and photo (Biometrics) along with the other documents. Before processing your application, the authorities will check if you have submitted all the necessary documents, including biometrics. If it is incomplete, they will return your application without processing it.

An officer will also check

  • the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions to make sure that the employer can hire you, and
  • that you qualify for a work permit

They may also ask you to interview their officials in your country or ask for more information. You might need to give a medical exam before entering Canada. If you need to do it, an officer will send you all the instructions on what to do.

When your application is approved, you will get an approval letter saying that you can work in Canada. That letter is called the port of entry letter of introduction.

You should bring this letter with you when you travel to Canada and present it at the port of entry. This letter is not your work permit. You’ll only get your work permit at the port of entry the day you arrive in Canada.

The work permit will outline the following points

  • the type of work you can do
  • the employer you can work for
  • where you can work
  • how long you can work
  • If you are in Canada

If you are in Canada and have applied for a work permit, the approval process will be the same as the process mentioned above. You might need a medical exam depending on the type of work you will be doing. If you have to, the officer will send you all the instructions on what to do too.

  • If you’re a visitor who is applying for a work permit in Canada and held a valid work permit in the last 12 months

You can ask to be allowed to work while they process your application.

Who is eligible for such a work permit?

  • be physically present in Canada when you apply
  • be a visitor with valid status when you apply for the work permit in Canada
  • have held a work permit that was valid in the 12 months before you applied for a new work permit in Canada

E. How to get authorization to work while you wait?

After you apply, you have to fill out an IRCC web form.

When you fill out the sections, make sure they are in square brackets, including the

  • dates
  • work permit number (begins with a “U”)
  • name of your employer
  • title of your job

It may take up to 30 business days (6 weeks) till you receive an email from the authorities stating that you can start working.

F. Procedures After Arriving In Canada

When you enter Canada at a certain Canadian airport, they will check your identity to ensure that you are the same person who was approved to travel to Canada.

  • your fingerprints will be checked automatically at a primary inspection kiosk
  • the system will check your identity against the information collected when your application was submitted.

When you talk to the Border Services Officer, you have to state that you have come to Canada to work.

You must also

  • convince the officer that you meet Canada’s entry requirements
  • you’ll leave Canada at the end of your approved stay
  • have valid immigration medical exam results (if you needed an exam)
  • Your exam is valid for 12 months from the day you get it.
  • It must be valid the day you enter Canada.
  • s
  • Present Your Documents: You need to prove that your work permit application was approved before you arrive in Canada. One way to do this is to show the border services officer your port of entry letter of introduction. You must also show the officer the following documents: your passport, your visa, and travel documents that you are carrying (such as airline tickets). You need to get another medical exam if
  • your exam will expire before you enter Canada and
  • your letter of introduction is still valid.
Work Permit in Canada
Image by Spencer Davis, pexels, copyright2021

It would help if you also had supporting documents, such as

  • proof that the business that’s hiring you is open while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place
  • evidence that you meet the requirements of the job, such as proof of work experience and education
  • a copy of your employer’s positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), if required.

Once the border services officer has checked your documents and confirms that you can enter Canada, the officer will print the actual work permit for you.

G. Some Important Points To Know

  • Your employer must make sure you’re covered by medical and health insurance and workers’ compensation when you arrive in Canada.
  • The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number you will need to work in Canada and access government programs and benefits.
  • Employment and labor standards

Each province and territory has standards to protect employers and employees.

Labor standards include rules about:

  • minimum wage,
  • overtime,
  • holidays,
  • vacations,
  • hours of work,
  • rest periods, and
  • days of rest.

Suppose you have any other questions about work permit in Canada, Canadian immigration, citizenship, or how to work in Canada temporarily. In that case, you can visit the official website of the Government of Canada. The link is

Also, check out this article: for more information.

Suggested Read:- 

Canadian Visitor Visa: An Easy Guide For Applying!

Finding the Perfect Balance Cities in Canada with a Strong Work-Life Culture
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Last Updated on by Saket Kumar


  • priya.B

    Priya is a degree final year student who is going to graduate next year. She loves to write and read. Many of her stories have been published in different anthologies and one of her pomes also got a special feature in a magazine. She wrote articles based on 'What's new in Canada?' and 'Travel' articles as well.

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