How to Get a Canadian Work Visa as a Software Developer

As home to huge tech companies like Shopify and major offices of tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM, Canada is a world-famous tech hub. As a result, Canada has a phenomenal wealth of job opportunities for skilled foreign workers in the tech industry. 

Canada has an aging population and industries expanding above and beyond the skill base of the general population. Currently, there are over a million job vacancies throughout Canada. Because of this, Canada's economy hinges on skilled foreign workers coming over to fill the massive vacancies in the market.

As a software developer, you're one of the most in-demand workers in the Canadian job market. This means you'll be able to find a lucrative job with plenty of benefits relatively easily. Your in-demand status can also make becoming a permanent resident in Canada easier or faster than those in different occupations. 

Now, while there are many fantastic opportunities in Canada, you'll likely have to get a Canada work Visa if you want to work in Canada. So, how do you get one? Can you even get one? Below, we discuss the requirements for a Canadian work visa and how to apply.

How to Get a Canadian Work Visa as a Software Developer

How to Get a Canadian Work Visa as a Software Developer

Step 1: Determine Your Work Permit Canada

There are two primary types of Canadian work permits. These are based on the type of work you plan to do, your qualifications, and your history with Canada.

Open Work Permit

An Open Work Permit Canada allows you to work for any employer in Canada, excluding those listed as ineligible or offering striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages. It allows you to switch employers or jobs without needing to apply for a new permit each time. 

Employer-specific Work permit

This is likely the work permit you can get as a software developer. This permits you to work in Canada, but only for the specific you have a job offer from and only for the length of time allowed by the job. Learn more about the employer-specific work permit.

Learn more about Canada's work permits.

Step 2: Ensure Your Eligibility

Before applying for a Canada work Visa, there are quite a few things you must ensure. First, you must check the eligibility requirements of a Canadian work visa and ensure you match those requirements. If you don't meet the criteria, your Canada work permit application will be rejected, and you won't be allowed to work in Canada. 

Three criteria must be fulfilled before applying for a Canadian work visa. There are requirements for you as an applicant, the employer you plan to work for, and the job offer you have received. To be eligible for a work visa, an applicant must:

  • Prove they will leave Canada upon the expiration of their work permit
  • Have sufficient funds to provide for themselves and any dependants coming with them
  • Have no criminal record and obey Canadian laws while in Canada
  • Be in good enough health to not place pressure on the Canadian healthcare system
  • Not be planning to work for a company or employer considered ineligible by the Canadian government
  • Do not plan to work for a company or employer that offers services such as erotic dance, escort services, erotic massage, or striptease.
  • Give Canadian immigration services any documents necessary to prove you can enter the country.
  • Be eligible for a Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization or travel in Canada without a visitor visa.
  • Meet all other requirements of your specific work permit

If you meet your specific requirements, the next major step is to start looking for software developer jobs in Canada. There are three significant steps to going about searching for jobs in Canada. They are as follows:

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before applying for software developer jobs in Canada, you must ensure you get the most out of Canada's opportunities. To give you the best chance of gaining the best job possible, you should try to build a professional network, ensure recruiters will help you, and provide you with your best online reputation.

Step 2: Choose Your Location

Different provinces have different industries and demands. As a result, finding a job will be far more accessible in certain provinces than in others. On top of this, different provinces have different costs of living. 

Therefore, they have different salary projections. Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia are the three best provinces to look for work in as a software developer. However, multiple provinces have thousands of software developer jobs in Canada. To help find which province is best for you, here is a map showing all of the highest in-demand jobs per province:

Step 3: Localise Your Resume

Having a resume that's easy to read with all your relevant information can make all the difference to a potential employer. You should ensure your contact information is clear, up-to-date, and valid. Your resume should include a professional career summary explaining your latest role, experience, and vision for the future. Another significant inclusion is all relevant work experience. You should clearly and concisely explain each previous occupation. You can find a great example of a well-structured resume here:


Learn more about making the perfect Canadian resume.

Step 4: Apply for your job

Once your research is done, you've chosen your location, and set up your resume, it's time to apply for the opportunity of your dreams. A great place to find jobs in Canada is via one of Canada's massive job databases. Some of these are:

Step 5: Check Your Job Offer

Congratulations! You've landed your chance to work in Canada! However, before packing your bags, you must ensure a few things. The first is the legitimacy of the job offer. Unfortunately, the internet is extensive, with plenty of scammers looking to exploit those with the purest intentions. Learn how to ensure your Canadian job offer is legitimate.


Once you've ensured the job offer is legitimate, there are also several requirements for both the job offer and the potential employer that must be ensured.

Your potential employer must:

  • Get a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
    • This proves that your employer could not find a suitable candidate from the existing local labor force, meaning they had to look overseas.
  • Offer and explain the nature of the job to the potential candidate.

Your job offer must:

  • Be made by one employer
  • Not be for an embassy or consulate in Canada
  • Not be seasonal
  • Be full time
  • Be for at least one year
  • Be fully paid
  • Be written in a letter and include the following:
    • Your start date
    • The name and address of the employer
    • The National Occupation Classification (NOC) Code related to the job (The NOC code for software developers is 21232)
    • Your LMIA Number (if needed)
    • Your pay and necessary deductions
    • Your Job duties
    • Your conditions of employment

If all of these requirements are fulfilled, it's time to start your Canada work permit application.

Step 3: Create Your Profile

After securing a job offer, you must create a profile on the Canadian government's official immigration website. This profile will contain your personal information, education, work experience, and job offer details.

Step 4: Gather Your Documentation

To apply for a Canadian work permit effectively, you must have all the proper documentation. Everything must be valid and up-to-date and must have no documents missing. Failure to submit all documents could lead to delays in the processing of your work permit or even cause it to be rejected. The primary documents you will need as a software developer are as follows:

  • Identification documents like a passport
  • Proof of education, such as a degree, certificate, or diploma
  • Proof of work experience such as:
    • Copies of payslips
    • Bank statements
    • A reference letter that describes the scope and duration of your work
    • Detailed job descriptions from employers
    • The name, address, and phone number of previous employers
  • Proof of funds such as:
    • Income tax returns for the last two years
    • Bank statements for the previous three months
    • Proof of ownership of property, income, or investments
  • Dependent and Family information such as:
    • Birth certificates and marriage certificates of all dependents
    • The Family Information Form has been completed, signed, and dated
  • Proof of processing fee payment
  • Proof of current legal status with your country of citizenship
  • Job offer letter
  • Clear police background check report
  • a clean bill of health provided by a certified physician
  • Several work permit forms:
    • Application For Work Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM 1295)
    • Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475)
    • Document Checklist (IMM 5488)
    • Family Information (IMM 5645)
    • Schedule 1- Application for Temporary Resident Visa
    • Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409)
    • Use of Representative (IMM 546)

The processing fee for a work permit in Canada is 155 CAD for an individual. If you are applying with family members, additional fees may apply. Once you have completed and submitted all necessary documentation, you may move on to the third and final step.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

You can submit your application in writing via mail. Still, you can submit your application online to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada website for a much faster processing time.

After You Apply

After you apply, IRCC will review your application. They may request additional documents or an interview. If your application is approved, you will receive your work permit. The processing time for a work permit can vary, but it typically takes a few weeks to a few months. It's a good idea to apply well before your intended start date.

Life as a software developer in Canada can be rewarding and challenging. The tech industry is booming, with numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. You'll live in a country known for its high quality of life, inclusive society, and stunning natural beauty. However, adjusting to a new country can be challenging, so preparing for a transition is essential.

Moving to Canada's tech industry is a big decision but can be rewarding. The benefits are numerous, from the opportunity to work with leading tech companies to the chance to live in one of the world's most welcoming countries. With careful planning and preparation, you can navigate the process of getting a work permit in Canada and start your new journey as a software developer in Canada.

Best Cities for Software Jobs in Canada

Best Cities for Software Jobs in Canada

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is one of the best cities in Canada for software engineers, with no shortage of tech jobs and some of the highest salaries in the country.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver is home to top tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Shopify and has a growing tech market with good salaries and a high quality of tech talent.

Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa has the highest concentration of tech workers in Canada, with almost 10% of the city's workforce in the tech sector. It also has many government-related jobs for software engineers.

Montreal, Quebec

Montreal has the second-most overall tech workers in the country and a growing tech market, with good salaries and a high quality of tech talent.

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary has been quietly developing into a tech hub for the past few years, making it an excellent city for software engineers. It also has a good quality of tech talent and many tech jobs.

Other cities worth considering include Kitchener-Waterloo, Halifax, Fredericton, and Edmonton.


Software Developers make in Canada

How Much do Software Developers make in Canada?

This depends entirely on your province, company, and position. According to, the average entry-level software developer in Canada earns around 81,900 CAD per annum, whereas the average Mid-level software developer in Canada earns about 138,287 CAD per annum. Senior developers can earn up to 159,950 CAD per annum.

What is the Average Processing Time for a Canadian Work Visa Application?

This varies massively depending on your country of origin and any delays caused by the process. While it can take as little as four weeks for a work permit to be processed, it can also take up to nine months. Another reason to partner with an RCIC is to guide you through the process. Learn more about Canada visa processing times.

Is There a Specific Stream Software Developers Can Apply Through for a Faster Processing Time?

Yes. If you are classed as a highly skilled worker, which you have a good chance of doing as a software developer, you could be eligible for the Canada Global Talent Stream. The Canada Global Talent Stream is designed to recruit highly skilled foreign workers in specialized occupations, specifically in the tech industry. Learn more about the Canada Global Talent Stream.