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 far 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.

Canada Work Visa Eligibility Requirements

Before applying for a Canada work Visa, there are quite a few things you must ensure. You first need to 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, for the employer you plan to work for and for 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
  • Not plan to work for a company or employer that offers services such as erotic dance, escort services, erotic massage or striptease
  • Give the 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’re unsure whether you meet all of these requirements, click the button below to speak to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to discuss your credentials and find out if you qualify for a Canadian work visa.

If you do meet all of your specific requirements, the next major step in the process 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 you start applying for software developer jobs in Canada, it is important to make sure you’re getting the most out of the opportunities Canada has to offer. 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 ensure you have 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:


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:

  • Indeed Canada
  • Workopolis
  • Monster Canada
  • eJobbo
  • Canadian Job Bank

Check Your Job Offer

Congratulations! You’ve landed your chance to work in Canada! However, before you start packing your bags, there are a few things you must ensure. The first is the legitimacy of the job offer. Unfortunately, the internet is big, with plenty of scammers looking to take advantage of those with the purest intentions. One must make certain checks to ensure their 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 Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
    • This proves that your employer could not find a suitable candidate from the existing local labour 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 1 year
  • Be fully paid
  • Be written in a letter and include:
    • 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 2173)
    • 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 1: Choose your Work Permit

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.

Types of Canadian Work Permits

Open Work Permit

This permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada and move from job to job as you see fit for 1-2 years. These are only granted under specific circumstances, such as if you have just graduated from a Canadian university and are looking to start your career in Canada under the Post Graduate Work Permit program.

Employer-specific Work permit

This is likely the work permit you will be able to 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 permitted by the job.

Step 2: Gather Your Documentation


To effectively apply for a Canadian work permit, you must ensure you have all of the proper documentation. Everything must be valid, 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
  • Clear 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)

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.

Opportunity is Calling

Now you have the tools to set forth on your journey to living and working in Canada! You have the skills but if you want to ensure you bring them across in the best way possible, click the button below to speak to an RCIC to ensure you don’t get tripped up at the last second.



How much do Software developers make in Canada?

This depends entirely on your province, company and position. The average entry-level software developer in Canada earns around $64 775 per annum, whereas the average Mid-level software developer in Canada earns around $77 445 per annum. Senior developers can earn up to $107 500 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.

Is there a specific stream software developers can apply through to get 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. Look at this article for a full breakdown of the Canada Global Talent Stream.