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 has not issued for people who want 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 shortage 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.

There are numerous categories or provisions by which a foreign worker can seek a work permit in Canada. However, these usually fall within one of several general classifications that can be used to better understand the procedures. These are:

  • Work in Canada subject to a Labour Market Impact Assessment (formerly Labour Market Opinion or LMO) or ESDC Confirmation;
  • nternational Treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), or the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);
  • Situations in which there is evidence of Canadian Interests or Significant Benefit to Canada, including intra-company transfers, spousal programs, and other circumstances in which there is a social, cultural, or economic benefit to Canada;
  • Youth Program visas such as the Student Work Away Program, Student Work Holiday Program, and others conducted through organizations such as BUNAC, SWAP, and IEC;

Limited circumstances in which work in Canada is permitted without a permit. 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, the name of the employer, the location of employment, and the 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.


Our experts will help you with preparing your application and a complete list of the documents required for the Work Permit.