Canada is a highly developed country with many opportunities for work and a good salary. Because of this, it attracts many foreign workers who want to go there and find good jobs. The Government of Canada has anticipated this and that is why they have designed the work visas.
If you want to work in Canada, you must have a Canadian work permit which allows you to find an employer or to sign a contract for work. A work permit is a document for which you must apply when you apply for the visa to go to Canada. The application is done at the same time and the Consular Office will treat your visa application as a work permit application.
There are two ways through which you can get a Canada work permit:
- Through Temporary Work Visas
- Through Permanent or Immigrant Work Visas
The first group of visas allows you to work in Canada for six months or less as a temporary worker. The second group of visas is given to those who are immigrating in Canada because they have found a suitable job. This article will focus on the Temporary Work Visa overview.
What Are the Canada Temporary Work Visas?
A Temporary Work Visa for Canada is a combination of a Temporary Resident Visa and a Work Permit. With a TRV, you are allowed to stay in Canada for 6 months or less, while the Work Permit for Canada allows you to also work in the job that you have already found or to look for a job.
This work visa for Canada is not permanent and will expire after a few months or years depending on the type you have. This means that after the Canadian work visa expires, then you can either apply to have it renewed or return to your home country. The maximum amount of time you can work temporarily in Canada with all extensions is 4 years. However, that is not applicable for each case and may depend on the country you are from and which type of visa you have.
You cannot stay and work in Canada after your visa expires because you will put yourself at risk for deportation. This means you will not be able to get a Canada visa again.
Who Needs a Temporary Work Visa for Canada?
Anyone who intends to enter Canada with the reasons to work and earn a salary must get a Temporary Work Visa, or Work Permit. You must be involved in these activities to need the work permit:
- Your intention is to become employed in Canada with a salary.
- You will get your salary from a company that is registered in Canada as a business.
- Your primary location of work will be Canada.
- Your salary will be paid to you and deposited in a Canadian bank account.
However, if your place of work is outside Canada and you are in the country for a short period of time for work purposes, then you do not need a work permit.
Those who may not need a Canadian work permit are the following groups of visitors:
- Foreign Government Workers.
- Foreign Government Representatives and their family members.
- Military personnel.
- Business visitors.
- Performing artists.
- Athletes and their team members.
- Judges, referees, or similar workers.
- Media crews and news reporters.
- Public speakers and convention organizers.
- Evaluators and examiners.
- Health care students.
- Students who are working on campus.
- Civil aviation inspectors.
- Aviation accident inspectors.
- Emergency service providers.
- Expert witnesses and investigators.
- Researchers who have to work in Canada for 120 days only.
If you do not belong to any of these groups, then you will need a Temporary Work Visa and Permit.
Am I Eligible to Apply for a Canadian Work Visa and Permit?
In order to qualify, any applicant who wants to work in Canada temporarily must be eligible and fulfill the Canada work visa eligibility criteria as follows:
- Prove you are willing to leave Canada and return to your home country when your work permit expires.
- Respect the conditions of your work permit, depending on whether it is open and you can work for any employer or if it is specific and you are only allowed to work for one employer;
- Prove you will not work for an employer who is engaged in a work type that is prohibited such as striptease services, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages;
If you are applying for the work permit and visa from outside of Canada, so from your home country, you must also fulfill the Temporary Visa requirements.
On the other hand, if you are applying from inside Canada, then you must also fulfill these Canada work permit requirements:
- You are currently in Canada with a study permit or you have a work permit that will expire soon.
- Graduated from a Canadian educational institution.
- Gave a temporary resident permit that is valid for 6 or more months.
- Applied for refugee status in Canada and are waiting for a decision.
- You are already a refugee or protected person.
- Your application for refugee status has been denied but you cannot leave Canada for reasons beyond your control;
What are the types of Temporary Work Visas for Canada?
To address all the needs of foreign workers, the Government of Canada issues different types of Temporary Work Visas depending on the needs of the applicant. There are 4 types of work permits or work visas that you can get:
Temporary Foreign Workers Program
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is the standard temporary worker visa. It is issued to foreign workers who already have a job offer from a Canadian company and for which the company has already obtained a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Government of Canada.
Open Work Permit
The Open Work Permit is given to foreign workers who are going to Canada with a job offer but the permit allows them to switch employers. This is different from the other work permits/visas because it is not employer specific. The other work permits/visas do not allow you to change employers while in Canada.
Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday Visa is given to young people from 30 countries, so they can work in Canada and travel. It is a random selection visa which means that applicants will submit their applications and wait to be randomly selected to apply for the work permit.
Post Graduate Work Permit
The Post Graduate Work Permit is given to students who have completed a degree from a Canadian educational institution and want to stay in Canada longer through working.
How to Apply for a Temporary Work Visa for Canada?
An overview of the steps on how to apply for a work visa for Canada are as follows:
Get a temporary job offer from a Canadian Company
Depending on the type of work permit that you are applying for, you will most likely need a job offer from an employer in Canada.
- If you are getting an Open Work Permit, you will have the chance to switch employers and find a different one once you are in Canada. But if you want an employer specific permit, then you will need to find the job before you apply for it.
- To get the Foreign Temporary Workers Visa, you must find a job in Canada from your home country.
- If you are only planning to go to Canada and look for the job, then you must skip this step.
- If you are applying for a working holiday visa, your chances of getting the visa will be higher if you already know where you will work.
There are many resources online which will help you with your job search in Canada. You can visit different websites, or you can contact head hunting services in Canada and pay them to find you a job. Whichever way you choose, you will need the employer to agree to send you a job offer for temporary work before you apply for the work visa.
The company you will work for must have a LMIA
After you find the job, the company that has agreed to hire you must apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Government of Canada. A LMIA is a document which the government issues and serves as an authorization for the company to hire foreign temporary workers.
The company you want to work for must apply for it and demonstrate that by giving you this job, they are not taking jobs away from Canadian citizens of permanent residents. They must prove that there are no willing, available, or qualified people within Canada for that job position, and therefore they must hire foreign workers. After they get the LMIA, you must have the document and then apply for work permit in Canada.
Submit the application for Canada Work Visa and Permit
After the Canadian Government issues the LMIA to the company that has hired you, then it is time to apply for the Temporary Work Visa. You can do this online through the Government of Canada website or in person at any Canadian Consulate Office.
You must submit the application forms and the supporting documents which will be evaluated from the Consular officers. The officers might also ask you to have a medical examination as well as an interview to determine your eligibility and whether you would return from Canada after your work permit expires.
To apply for a Canadian work visa, you must submit the following application forms and supporting documents:
- Application forms which include:
- IMM 1295 – Application for Work Permit Made Outside of Canada.
- Schedule 1 – Application for Temporary Resident Visa.
- Family Information Form IMM 5645.
- Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union IMM 5409 (if applicable).
- IMM 5476 – Use of Representative Form (if applicable).
- IMM 5475 – Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (if applicable).
- Your passport which must be valid for more than 6 months after your planned date of entry into Canada.
- A photocopy of your passport and all its pages.
- Two photos as per the Photo Requirements.
- Proof of current immigration status (if your country of residence is different from your country of citizenship).
- Copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable).
- Copy of children’s birth certificates (if applicable).
- Police record certificates. You must prove you have no criminal record in the past and that you have been a law-abiding citizen
- Proof of having enough funds in your bank account to finance yours and your family’s stay in Canada as well as enough to return to your home country.
- Your resume or CV.
- Your education diplomas and certificates.
- Valid job offer from your employer.
- The LMIA document.
- If you will be working in Quebec, you need a Certificate d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ).
- Complete the medical examination. The officials of the Canadian Consulate may ask you to go through a medical exam to prove that you are in good health and able to work. You must follow their instructions and require a licensed doctor to sign your documents.
Complete the Canada Work visa interview.
The officials might also ask for an interview to determine that you have submitted the right document and that you are being truthful. Most often, they will try to determine whether you will return back to your home country after your work permit expires. You must show up at the scheduled time for your interview and answer the questions honestly.
Wait for processing
When you submit the Canadian work visa application, the consular officers will have to process it and make a decision. Depending on the country you are from, the work permit processing time is between 3 to 27 weeks. After this, the officers will issue a decision on whether you can work in Canada or not.
Travel to Canada
If the Government of Canada decided that you can work in the country, then you can start making travel and accommodation arrangements. When you get to the Port of Entry (PoE) in Canada you must show them all your documents and your approved work permit.
The PoE officers have the authority to decide whether they want to let you into the country and for how long. Even if the Consular Office issues a visa for 6 months, the PoE officers can issue it for only 3 months and you will only have that time to work in Canada. After that, you will have to apply for an extension or return to your home country.
How Long is the Canada Work Visa Valid?
The temporary Canada work visa is valid for 6 months or less. After that, you have the option of applying for an extension to the Consulate or return to your home country. The amount of time that you are allowed to stay in Canada with all extensions is no more than 4 years. The length of the extensions though depends on the Canadian Consulate decisions.
What are the Fees for the Canada Work Visa?
When you apply for the work permit and visa, you will have to pay the application fees. The fee for the work permit is CAD$155. Every time you submit an application for an extension, you will have to pay this fee again. If you are applying for an Open Work Permit, the fee is CAD$100.
Can I Bring my Dependents With me With a Canada Work Visa?
The Canadian Government allows the person who has the work permit to add his close family to the application. The people who are allowed to accompany you to Canada are your spouse or common-law partner and minor children. When you apply, you must add their documents to the application too so as to be considered a family application.
Can I Apply for Permanent Residence with a Canada Work Visa?
You cannot apply for permanent residence with a Canada temporary work visa; however, while you are in Canada, you can apply for Permanent Visas such as:
You must meet the eligibility criteria for these visas. It is not guaranteed that you will be approved for them, but the application procedures will be easier if you are already working in Canada.
Canada Work Visa Extension
Since the Work Visa is not permanent (six months or less) once it is about to expire, you can either apply to extend it or return to your home country after expiry. If you want to extend your work visa, you have to apply for a visa extension at least 30 days before expiry.
You can only apply for a work visa extension if:
- You sign a new work contract with your employer AND
- Your employer gets a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA); OR
- Your employer pays for the employer compliance fee and submits a new employment offer
You can apply for the work permit extension in one of two ways: online and on paper.
To apply online you will need to create an account on IRCC’s website. There, you can find document checklists, application forms, and guidelines on how to apply. To apply on paper, you need to download the application package, fill out all the application forms, print and sign them, get all the necessary documents, pay the fees, and mail them to the address given on the application package.
The necessary documents and forms for a work permit extension
- Application to Change Conditions, Extend my stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710)
- Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
- Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475)
- If applicable: Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409)
You will need the same documents as for a Visitor Record (see above). However, you will also need additional documents such as:
- If you have one: Copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and a copy of your job offer letter from your prospective employer.
- If your employer has not obtained a LMIA, include a copy of the Offer of Employment number your employer gives you.
- For a live-in caregiver: Photocopy of signed employment contract.
- If working in Quebec: A Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI)
- If participating in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program: Proof of health insurance for the duration of your stay.
- For students: Academic standing – photocopies of transcripts from your last two study periods or letter from the institutional registrar.
- For provincial nominees:
- Proof of nomination.
- Offer of employment from someone in your province.
- Statement from your province identifying your job and employer along with the details of your job (payment, working conditions, the nature of the job). The statement must also reveal that your employer needs you on the job and that the job offer will provide economic benefits.
Documents required for work permit extension for spouses/common law partners
Spouse/common-law partners of open permit workers
- Employment contract/job offer of the primary foreign worker’s current employer which confirms his/her employment.
- Copy of the primary foreign worker’s last three payslips
- Copy of the primary foreign worker’s work permit
Spouse/common-law partners of full-time students
- A valid enrollment letter of the student as a Canadian educational institution.
- Copy of the student’s study permit.
Documents required for work permit extension for refugee claimants
- Proof you are unable to support yourself without social welfare.
- Proof you referred your refugee claim to the Immigration and Refugee board (IRB)