Individuals who are neither Canadian Permanent Residents, nor Canadian Citizens, and who wish to temporarily reside in Canada for employment purposes will likely have to apply for a Work Permit. Every year over 150,000 foreign workers come to Canada to work. A Work Permit is not issued for persons wanting to come to Canada to look for work. It is only issued once an offer of employment has been made. Many of these workers fill skill shortages in many Canadian companies, while others work as live-in caregivers.

It should be noted that a Work Permit is not an employment contract. It is strictly for the purposes of allowing a foreign national to work in Canada to fill a labor shortage, and to support economic growth in Canada.

When the application is accepted, the work permit is issued. Work Permits are always temporary, but also can often be extended from inside Canada. A Work Permit usually contains specific terms and conditions, including the start and end dates of the employment, name of employer, location of employment, and job title. If the Foreign National does not abide by the terms and conditions set out in the Work Permit, the Foreign National may be prosecuted and/or asked to leave Canada. The employer may also receive disciplinary action or face charges.


There are four situations in which workers must extend or change their Canadian temporary work permits:

  • The worker’s job is extended or changed. In these cases, foreign workers must immediately apply to extend or change the conditions of their current work permit before the permit expires.
  • The worker is offered a different job in Canada. In these cases, a worker must apply for a completely new work permit and cannot start their new job without a new work permit.
  • The worker wants to live and work in Canada permanently. In these cases, the worker must apply under one of Canada’s permanent residence categories.
  • The worker wants to leave Canada and then re-enter: When work permit holders leave Canada, they will be allowed to make arrangements to extend their work permit. This will allow the holder to resume work when he/she returns to Canada. When the worker returns to Canada, one of the following things will happen:
  • If the work permit extension is still being processed, the worker will be allowed to enter Canada as a visitor until the processing is complete. The worker will NOT be allowed to work until the extension is accepted. Part of the extension process may involve workers being asked to prove that they have enough money to support themselves in Canada.
  • If the permit extension has been accepted, the worker will be allowed to re-enter Canada and work immediately. If the extension was rejected or not arranged for, the worker will have to apply for a completely new work permit in order to work again in Canada.

You can apply to extend a work permit from within Canada if the work permit you applied for outside of Canada is still valid. You can extend your work permit for a period of time that adds up to but does not exceed a maximum of four years of work in Canada.


Our experts will help you with preparing your application and a complete list of the documents required for the work permit extension.