How to Get a Canadian Work Permit from Colombia

The economy is opening back up, the unemployment rate is returning to its former low levels, and jobs for foreigners in Canada are on the rise. If you want to move up north, the first step you can take is to secure a job offer from a Canadian employer. Knowing which areas of the country to apply for jobs in is very important because employers in some provinces do not have to meet as stringent requirements as others to hire foreign workers. Once you have been successful at securing work in Canada, you will need to know how to get a Canadian work permit from Colombia.   

Unless you are in one of a few select occupations, you will absolutely require a Canadian work permit before you can travel to Canada and begin working, with or without your family. There are a few basic eligibility requirements everyone must meet, no matter where in the world you are from, to be considered eligible for the application of a work permit.     

Eligibility Requirements to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit

Colombian Construction worker-Canadian Work Permit

Depending on where you apply from, in this case, Colombia, there are specific requirements you must meet depending on the type of work permit you will require. But first, you must meet the following general eligibility requirements: 

  • Be able to show your intention to leave Canada when your work permit expires;
  • Show you have enough money in saving to take care of yourself and your family when you arrive in Canada, and any expenses you may face in leaving;
  • Be clear in your intent to obey Canadian law, and prove you have no record of criminal activity (this may require a police clearance certificate);
  • You cannot a deemed a danger to Canada’s national security;
  • You and your dependents must be in good health. You may require a medical examination to show you will not be a burden on Canada’s medical system
  • Your job offer cannot be with an employer that has been listed as “ineligible” by the Department of Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC);
  • Your job offer cannot be for work deemed ineligible for foreign workers, including striptease, erotic dance, escort service, or erotic massage; and
  • You must be able to provide the immigration officer with any documents they may request pertaining to your job in Canada upon entering the country.

If you meet the above requirements, you can begin your application for a Canadian work permit. Documents submitted must be in English, French, or Spanish. If your supporting documents are in any other language, you will need to have a certified translation done. Prepare the following supporting documentation: 

Proof You Meet The Job Requirements

You can show this in a number of ways. An updated resume is a must, and then a letter showing the current occupation you are employed in, or a reference letter from a past employer. If formal training or education is required, copies of your certificates and professional credentials. If you need to meet a language requirement for the job, proof of your language ability with test results.  

Proof of Financial Support

To show you can support yourself and any dependents that may accompany you, have ready any relevant documents such as, but not limited to: bank statements, tax certificates, investment portfolios, or voluntary pension funds.

Proof of Activity in Your Current Country

What have you been doing? For salaried workers, show your employment letter, stating your position, term of employment, salary, and payslips. If you are self-employed, show a copy of your tax returns, business registration, and any contracts you may currently have. If you are a student, show proof of registration for your institution. 

What to Do if you Want to Stay in Canada

Woman arriving in Canada wearing mask

Once you have been working in Canada for a while, you may find you don’t want to return to Colombia. No matter the reason, maybe you like the snow, maybe it’s the people, or the poutine, or just the all-around great quality of life. The first thing to do is get a new job offer from your employer for a permanent position. You will then need to apply for an extension to your current work permit and can begin the process of applying for permanent residency in Canada.    

If you get a job offer from a new employer in Canada, you may also need to apply for a new work permit. If you are working in Canada on an open work permit, this will not be necessary, but if you are on an employer-specific work permit, ensure you do or you could face deportation.  

Remember, you must isolate for 12 days after your arrival in Canada. You cannot be in physical contact with anyone during this time. Ensure that your employer is aware of this and that if you are boarding with co-workers that you do not isolate yourself in the same space as they live. Employers have been penalized for ignoring this national regulation, resulting in foreign workers losing their employment status in Canada.   

Open Work Permit

Open work permits are granted in selected occupations such as care providers, or in certain circumstances such as the partner or spouse of an international student. With an open work permit, you are free to change employers as long as the work is in the same field or occupation. For example, a home caregiver may not work as an administrator but may work as a child carer. 

Employer-Specific Work Permit

Also known as a closed work permit, this type of work visa allows you to only work for the employer stipulated on the permit. If you change employers, you must apply for a new permit. You cannot work for other employers if you have this type of work permit, even part-time. 

There are special provisions, such as the Yukon Community Pilot which would allow you to work multiple part-time jobs under the same work permit, but these are community-specific and you would have to live and work exclusively in the communities taking part in the program until you become a Canadian permanent resident. 

What is the Next Step?

Getting a Canadian work permit can be just as complicated as going through the process of becoming a permanent resident. Actually, why not do both? There are a number of different options depending on your occupation, where you will be living in Canada, and what type of work you will be doing. There are employer requirements too, but it is their responsibility to meet those. You should however confirm that they are meeting their obligations to the IRCC. Long story short, if you are Colombian, and unless you are accompanying a partner or spouse, which would make you eligible for an open work permit, your first step will be to get a job offer from a Canadian employer. You could however be eligible for any number of permits or permanent residency programs, depending on your intentions for Canada.