Canadian Work Permit Types

Here are two types of work permits in Canada:

  • Work permits that require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Work permits which do not require an LMIA

The Canadian government must be sure that the foreign worker’s employment has no negative effect on Canada’s current workforce, this will be proved with the LMIA.The federal department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has to know that the existence of foreign workers won’t cause the existing workers in Canada to be displaced nor their wages won’t be under downward pressures..

There are many work permits with no LMIA. They come from free trade agreements, like the previous North American Free Trade Agreement, which is now known as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement or CUSMA. Foreign works can apply for a work permit with the help of these free trade agreements and do not let the their employer get an LMIA.

Moreover,employer sponsored work permits are not the only work permits make you eligible to immigrate to Canada. For those who do not have a job offer other work permits exist such as working holidays, post-graduate work permits, and open spousal work permits.

One can work in Canada under these common scenarios:

LMIA Required:

According to theses work permits employer needs to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment as part of the process.

LMIA Exempt

In some situations if individuals are willing to work in Canada they don’t need to first get a Labour Market Impact Assessment.


The Canada-United-States-Mexico Agreement (formerly NAFTA) issue these and allow immigrants to work without an LMIA.

Intra-Company transfers

A company in Canada can bring certain employees to Canada from its offices in other countries without an LMIA.

Business visitors

Business visitors can work in Canada without a work permit if they have some qualifications and do not enter the Canadian labor market.

Post-graduation work permits

International students can work in Canada for maximum three years after graduating from a Designated Learning Institution.

  • What is a job offer in Canada?

If you apply under some programs you need to have a job offer yet having a job offer necessarily doesn’t guarantee your success to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. It will help you gain extra points.

Different programs have different job offer requirements. In order to apply under some programs you need to get a job offer from exact occupations and industries.

Express Entry is the most popular way to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. Based on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada your job offer must meet the below mention criteria so that you will be eligible under Express Entry:

  • full-time and not a seasonal role
  • is a minimum of one year in duration
  • is a job that is skilled and falls under type 0, A, or B in the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • is a recent job offer
  • is not a job offer from a diplomatic mission in Canada

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), usually  supports a job offer, there are some exceptions as well which do not need an LMIA.

  • What jobs are in demand in Canada?

Due to the low rate of birth in Canada, its population is aging very fast so for the Canadian economy various kinds of jobs are needed. These are the field in which jobs are needed; information and communications technology (ICT), health, transportation, finance, professional services. Being trained in special occupations where jobs are needed is not a requirement for some Canada’s skilled worker programs while others only choose candidates who meet the criteria for the jobs they need. However, Canada immigration system tends to select candidates who are young and middle-aged; the ones with good command of language skills, work experience, and education. The reason why Canada pursues such approach is according to Canadian government research such selection results in great job outcomes for the immigrants.

+ I already have a job offer in Canada.

If you have a job offer from a Canadian employer and are unsure of what to do next, check out our Work Permit Services to get an introduction on what you need to acquire the proper authorizations to work in Canada. Campbell Cohen would be happy to assist you with the process from beginning to end.

+ I have a job offer in the province of Quebec.

Working requirements in the province of Quebec is of its own. First you need to get a document called a CAQ which is part of the process. Moreover you need to know that Quebec has its own list of jobs which list of occupations that allow for an expedited Labour Market Impact Assessment to be issued. We are familiar with the intricacies of immigration and work permit applications to the province of Quebec, with many of our specialists fluent in French. To benefit from our experience, contact us and be sure to let us know that you have a job offer in the province of Quebec

+ I’m a citizen of the United States or Mexico

Because of the special relationship Canada has with the United Stated and Mexico, certain individuals can work in Canada. The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) which was called NAFTA before, gives the permission to individuals to work in Canada under a CUSMA work permit. CUSMA has got four categories; covering professionals, intra-company transfers, traders and investors. They help individuals to avoid traditional work permit process. Contact us today, and be sure to note that you are a citizen of the United States or Mexico.

+ My business is in Canada and I’m willing to employ foreigners

In order to hire a worker from abroad,you need to take some steps. We would help you with those steps. If you want to know about your business requirements and what qualifications the workers must have, you can talk to our Work Permit specialists and the options that you have for getting that worker to Canada. You may need to apply for Labour Market Impact Assessment  

+ I’m a tech worker

If you are a tech talent who has a job offer in Canada, Canada can help you through free trade agreements such as CUSMA. Global Talent Stream is one of the most important less than a month it helps tech workers to get federal government authorization in order to work in Canada. If you are an employer or a worker and want to get a work permit for a tech talent please contact us . We will help you via the Global Talent Stream or any other options which might be suitable for you.

+ I work in the field of film industry and TV.

If you are working in this field Labour Market Impact Assessments are not needed for you. Whereas you still need to meet Canada’s works permit requirements. Click here If you want to know more about getting work permit for TV and film.

+ I would like to work in Canada as an entrepreneur

Those who have experience in management or are entrepreneurs need to check Entrepreneur Work Permits, and Canada’s Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa Program. If you are willing to start a new business in Canada check  International Business Start-ups In Canada in our will learn more about using an intra-company transfer work permit.

+ I would like to work in Canada as a self-employed individual.

The process for working as a self-employed in Canada is a bit challenging although there are several programs available for you. Therefore our team would be pleased to check your qualifications to work in Canada. So contact us to learn more about the options.

+I am currently studying or have recently graduated from a Canadian educational institution.

You need to check whether you are qualified for a Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP). That depends on the length of the period you have studied in Canada. It helps those who are willing to apply for Canadian immigration under Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program, or through Quebec to gain Canadian experience. If you need help with PGWP contact us.

+ I’m looking for work in Canada.

We will help you with our Job Search Tool or our other Career Coaching Tools to get started working in Canada. So if you are looking for work in Canada or already have a job offer from a Canadian employer, those tools will be perfect for you.


How can I get a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

The process of getting a LMIA is the one which requires certain and careful attention in addition to the government’s great consideration in order to be error free. If Canadian employers are willing to hire a foreign worker in Canada, they must first be sure it is authorized by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), otherwise known as a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). As a Canadian employer you have to prove that hiring the foreign worker will do no harm to the Canadian labor market moreover it has to be demonstrated that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident suitable for that position. The job offer must be advertised on several venues to make sure the foreign applicant is the only suitable option.


How can I get a Canadian work permit?

Two Canadian federal departments are responsible for work permits. If a Labour Market Impact Assessment is required, the department of Employment and Social Development Canada will review the LMIA application and make a decision on whether or not it approves the application.

As long as you get your LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment), it will be ready to be reviewed by the department of Employment and Social Development Canada. You need to wait for their decision to see if your LMIA application is approved or not. The department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is in charge of the process of getting work permit. After the approval you need to submit a work permit application to IRCC.

In order to work in Canada temporarily you must have legal authority. Having work permit will assure you in that case. Even if an LMIA is not needed, you should also apply to IRCC to get a work permit.

  1. What are the requirements in order to apply for work permit?


Based on the work permit stream you are applying under there are general and specific requirements. If you are applying under a stream which needs an LIMA, you need to submit some documents to IRCC such as:

  • a job offer letter
  • employment contract
  • a copy of the LMIA
  • the LMIA number

Applicant must prove that they will not stay in Canada as soon as their work permit expires and they can easily support themselves financially in Canada they are not a threaten for public health and safety and they will not work for ineligible employers.

  1. How long does it take to get a work permit in Canada?

Depending on various factors it differs. For example if a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LIMA) is needed or the country you are coming from or the work permit stream you are applying under. Yet there are some estimates you can find here your special immigration’s processing time tool

  1. How is it possible to renew our work permit in Canada?

Make sure to submit to a new application 30 days before your work permit expires. You can’t extend your work permit after it expires.

  1. What are open and close work permits?

If you are a foreign worker with an open work permit you are allowed to work for any employers in Canada. With an open work permit foreign workers do not need to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment or a job offer to apply for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a work permit.

Whereas closed work permits do not let the foreign workers work for any employers. They are only allowed to work for the ones who got a positive LMIA and gave them a job case they don’t want to continue working for such employers they must apply for making changes to the conditions of their work permit.

  1. What is a Post Graduation work permit?

If international students complete an eligible program at a Designated Learning Institution DLI)for 8 months full time, the PGWP (Post Graduation work permit) will be available for them. It helps the international students to get professional work experience which makes them eligible for a Canadian immigration program. you can submit your application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) after you make sure you are qualified for the PGWP’s eligibility criteria. The longer you studied in Canada, the longer your PGWP will be. The maximum length of time of a PGWP is 3 years. And you can get a PGWP only once. You need to be careful of the expiry date of the PGWP, once it expires you have to get Canadian permanent resident status or another temporary permit, or leave Canada.

  1. Can my spouse or partner work in Canada?

Firstly there is one option for them called the Spousal Open Work Permit. Secondly they can apply for a work permit if they are eligible for an LMIA-required or LMIA-exempt work permit.

  1. What is a spousal Open Work Permit?

The Spousal Open Work Permit will help those who live in Canada to get a temporary work permit when their spousal sponsorship application is being verified by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Having this work permit the person can work for any employers in Canada.

  1. Is it possible to get a work permit with the intention of immigrating to Canada?

It is possible to separately apply for a work permit and also apply for a work permit and a permanent residence application at the same time. The term “dual intent” is distinguishable for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

  1. Do work permits have limits in Canada?

Work permits like the Post-Graduation Work Permit can only be obtained once while certain work permit can be extended more than once. See if your work permit cannot be extended check which category of work permit you are eligible for then apply to get that.

  1. Are there any conditions for my Work Permit?

For a closed LMIA-required work permit the conditions will be who you can work for or how long you are allowed to work or what kind of job you can have. There are other standard conditions for all foreign workers for example you need to leave Canada at the end of your stay. All in all your work permit conditions are mentioned on the work permit itself.

  1. Can my work permit be extended during the time I’m living in Canada?

Yes, as long as your work permit is valid you can apply to have it extended while you are living in Canada.

  1. Can I apply for a work permit when I arrive to Canada?

According to IRCC policies you are strongly recommended to apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada. Otherwise you must be eligible for applying when you arrive to Canada.

Those who want to apply for a work permit at a Canadian Port of entry (POE) must be eligible for the following terms:

  • Travelling to Canada not needing a visitor visa or being eligible for an electronic travel authorization (ETA)
  • Meeting all the other requirements of the work permit stream they are applying under.
  1. What is a job offer according to the Canadian government?

It contains of your pay, terms of employment, and job duties. It is different from a “job offer letter” and comparing to a contract it’s less detailed. If it is necessary for you to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a cop of your job offer let is also needed. If an LMIA is not needed for your recruitment, the employer must submit their offer of employment on the Canadian government’s Employer Portal. Then an offer of employment number will be made for the foreign worker in order for them to apply for their work permit.

  1. Is passing a medical exam needed to get a work permit in Canada?

It is necessary to do the exam if you are searching for some specific jobs. For example; health services child care, or primary or secondary education. The above mentioned jobs need the protection of public health.

 You will also need to complete a medical exam if you are searching for an agricultural job and lived in a designated country ( which are listed  on the Canadian government’s website.) or if you are planning to work in Canada for more than six months and you lived in a designated country for six months in a row a year before you plan to live in Canada.

  1. I want to get a work permit are there any fees?

Yes there is a list of fees on the IRCC website.

The ones who need to pay for the work permit processing fee are workers on an LMIA-required work permit.

The ones who need to pay for both the work permit processing fee and the open work permit holder fee are workers on an LMIA- exempt work permit.

The ones who must pay a processing fee for the LMIA application are employers who require an LMIA.Even the employers who do not require an LMIA must still pay an employer compliances. They need to pay that when they want to submit their offer of employment onto the Canadian government’s Employer Portal.

  1. what is a POE letter?

When you come to Canada you have to show this letter to Canadian border officials. It is not your work permit, it is also called a “Correspondence Letter”, “Introduction Letter”, or “Introductory Letter”. And when you get a work permit, you will be provided with a “ Port of Entity” (POE) by IRCC.

  1. How long are POE letters valid?

You will see the validity date on your POE letter; it is 12 months for International Experience Canada (IEC) participants. If you took a medical exam, the validity date will be the same as the expiry date of your medical exam.

  1. If I have a work permit can I leave Canada and come back?

Yes you can. Bearing in mind that your work permit is not permission for you to travel it gives you the right to work in Canada. A temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) is also needed.

  1. Is a work permit needed if I want to work and study simultaneously in Canada?


If you are a full-time student you do not need a work permit. If you have a study permit you must pursue academic , vocational or professional training of six months or more and they need to get a degree, diploma or certificate at a designated learning institution (DLI).

International students must be enrolled at a designated learning institution and get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada. If they want to be eligible to work off-campus they must meet the terms of their study permit.

Those who are not eligible to work in Canada while they are studying are the international students who are doing general interest courses or studying English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL). Approving their eligibility to work in Canada is the individual or their employer’s responsibility. Otherwise they will be subject to enforcement action under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

  1. Is it possible to get e short-term work permit exemption in Canada?

Yes over a short period of time and under some conditions you can be exempt from having a work permit to work in Canada.

According to Global Skills Strategy (GSS) there are two groups of people who are allowed to work in Canada although they don’t need to have a work permit.

In that case applicants must apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), if applicable.


Researchers must meet the following items if they want to be eligible for the work permit exemption:

  • They will be working in Canada for one period of 120 days every 12 months; and
  • They will be performing research at a Canadian, publicly funded, degree-granting institution or its affiliated research institution.

Highly skilled workers

Highly skilled workers must show that:

  • They will be working in a position that is considered skill type 0 (executive, managerial) or skill level A (professional) in the National Occupational Classification (NOC); and
  • They will be working in Canada for one of the following periods of time:
    • Up to 15 consecutive days once every 6 months; or
    • Up to 30 consecutive days once every 12 months.

When the exemption ends workers must stop working. They have to wait to be eligible again for another work permit exemption, or they must apply for a work permit.

  1. Is it possible to change employers under the same work permit?

Generally each work permit is issued for an amployer.If anyone wants to change their employer they have to apply for a new work permit except for those who entered Canada under an open work permit. They do not need to apply for a new work permit again. Open work permits might be available to the following individuals:

Spouses/common law partners of certain work permit holders, the spouses/common law partners of foreign students in Canada, asylum seekers, in-land sponsored family members, and destitute students in Canada.

  1. Is a medical exam needed as a part of a work permit application?

For the jobs which involve protection of public health a medical exam is always necessary. In other cases if the job offer exceeds six months medical exam will be essential depending on the country of the residence.

  1. Can a spouse/common law partner and children come with a temporary worker or follow a temporary worker to Canada?

Yes. And in many cases an open work permit will be issued for the spouse/common law partner and in some cases children may need a study permit to join school in Canada.

  1. What are the fees to obtain a work permit?

For each work permit application the Canadian Government will ask you for $155 CAD. The fee for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will be added to the work permit application fee.