Canada Temporary Foreign Worker Visas

Information about Canada work visa types.

Canada Work Visa 2019-04-04T14:15:06+00:00

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 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.

This article will go through the Temporary Work Visas for Canada and give an overview of what they are and some of the details on applying.

What are 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 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 are not allowed to stay and work in Canada after your visa expires because you will put yourself at risk for deportation, which means you will not be able to get a Canada visa again.

There are two programs which temporary workers can apply to:

  • Temporary Foreign Workers Program – which requires a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to prove that the temporary job opening could not be filled by a Canadian citizen of permanent resident
  • International Mobility Program – which does not require a LMIA but allows companies to hire workers based on increasing the competitive advantage of Canada and the benefits that citizens and permanent residents would get

Who needs a Temporary Work Visa?

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 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.
  • Clergy.
  • 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.

What are the types of Temporary Work Visas?

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:


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.


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.


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.


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?

An overview of the steps on how to apply for a work visa are as follows:

Find a job in a Canadian company

If you are planning to get the Foreign Temporary Workers Visa, then 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. It is better though to have an idea of where you will work so you can sign up for head hunting services in Canada or look for a job online.

The company you 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 LMIA states that the job given to the foreign worker does not take away jobs from Canadian citizens of permanent residents, but instead it was necessary because the citizens and permanent residents were not qualified or available to work.

Apply for the Temporary Work Visa

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. This can be done 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.

Wait for processing

When you submit the 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.