Working in Canada: get your work permit!

Canadian work permit

It’s been over 10 years since Canada has been welcoming an increasing number of temporary foreign workers. The Canadian government now aims to reverse this trend. In 2015, new regulations governing access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) have been introduced. Are you about to begin seeking for a job in Canada or did you just secure a position? You will probably need to apply for a work permit. You might at first find the procedure rather confusing, so learn about it!

Are you sure you need a work permit?

A work permit is a document issued by a Canadian government officer. It allows a foreigner who isn’t a permanent resident to work in Canada. Work permits usually are valid for a specific job and length of time. Temporary residents usually cannot work in Canada for over 4 years.

In some cases, a work permit is not required to take up a job in Canada. For example, this exemption is valid if you plan to work on campus during your studies in Canada or if you are an artist about to perform in Canada. Remember to check the Government of Canada website to find out whether or not your job category needs a work permit.

What documents should the Canadian employer supply?

To apply for a work permit, you must be able to prove that you actually landed a job in Canada and that you meet the job’s requirements. Your prospective employer in Canada must provide a job offer letter or a contract mentioning the job title, the salary and working conditions.
The Canadian employer must generally obtain permission from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) before hiring a temporary foreign worker. This authorization is called Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The idea is to put Canadian workers fist. The employer will have to prove that he tried to hire a Canadian before seeking a foreign candidate. LMIA processing fees are of CAD1,000 per worker. If an LMIA is not required, employers still will need to pay the employer compliance fee (CAD230) and provide an Offer of employment to a foreign national exempt from a labour market impact assessement.

How should you submit your work permit application?

Did you just received your letter of employment and are looking forward to begin work in Canada? Take a look at the essential steps of the work permit application.

1. Gather all required documents.

If the list of documents required may vary depending on your situation, you will always need to provide:

  • a valid passport (or in some cases a copy of the identification pages),
  • 2 photos,
  • the Offer of employment to a foreign national exempt from a labour market impact assessement with proof of payment of the employer compliance fee, where applicable,
  • a copy of the LMIA, where applicable, and a copy of your job offer letter,
  • proof that you meet the job requirements,
  • payment of the application processing fee (CAD 155),
  • proof of funds available.

2. Complete the forms.

Several forms must be completed:

  • Application for Work Permit Made Outside of Canada,
  • Document Checklist,
  • Family Information,
  • Application for Temporary Resident Visa, if you aren’t a citizen of a visa-exempt country.

Depending on your situation, additional forms may be required.
 

3. Submit your application.

Your application for a work permit must be sent to a Canadian visa office or a Visa Application Center (VAC).

The acronym recap!

TFW: Temporary Foreign Worker

TFWP: Temporary Foreign Worker Progam

TRV: Temporary Resident Visa

LMIA: Labour Market Impact Assessment

ESDC: Employment and Social Development Canada

VAC: Visa Application Center

To find out more about Canadian work permits:

Get detailed information about steps to take to be able to work in Canada on the Government of Canada website.

Wondering where to send your application? Use the interactive map of Canadian visa centers abroad.

Date of publication Aug 1 2014

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