Types of Work Permits for Foreigners in Canada

For foreign workers and employers alike, it is crucial to go through the proper channels before temporary employment in Canada may begin.

While Canada’s economic success is good for business, it is also creating challenges for employers who are struggling to find enough workers to meet demand. With its record low unemployment rate, Canada, today more than ever, must rely on foreign talent to continue to grow a strong national workforce.

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Canadian Foreign Workers

The purpose of the Work section is to guide you and provide the most up-to-date information with regard to working in Canada for your particular situation.

In most cases, to work in Canada, a foreign national requires a work permit. However, there are a number of exceptional circumstances where a foreign worker may work in Canada without a work permit.

Generally, Canadian employers wishing to employ a foreign worker in Canada must first obtain authorization from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), otherwise known as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Canadian employers must demonstrate that employing a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market in most cases, and that there is currently no Canadian citizen or permanent resident available to fill the position. This is typically accomplished by advertising the position on several venues, thus demonstrating there was no suitable Canadian for the job. A LMIA is a very rigorous and comprehensive process that is subject to a high level of scrutiny from the government, and thus must be completed without errors.

Although the LMIA process is the rule, there are a number of LMIA-exempt work permits, resulting from Foreign Trade Agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA, that enable foreign workers to apply for a work permit without the Canadian employer having to obtain a LMIA. In addition to these employer sponsored work permits, there are a number of work permit options available to foreign workers who do not yet have a job offer, including working holidays, post-graduate work permits, and open spousal work permits.

Types of Canadian Work Permits

These are just some of the work scenarios and situations that take place in Canada.

LMIA-based work permits

These work permits require the employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment as part of the process.

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LMIA Exemptions

Certain circumstances allow for individuals to work in Canada without first obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

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NAFTA Work Permits

These permits are issued under the North American Free Trade Agreement, allowing work without a LMIA.

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Intra-Company Transfers

These permits will allow a company to bring certain employees to Canada from its offices abroad without a LMIA.

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Business Visitors

In many cases, business visitors may work in Canada without a work permit, so long as they don’t enter the Canadian labour market.

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Post-Graduation Work Permits

After graduating from a designated Canadian educational institution, international graduates may work in Canada for up to three years.

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Which Canadian work solution will meet your needs?

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