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Work in Canada | Canadian Work Visas and Permits

Are you interested in pursuing a new career in Canada? If so, you will need a Canadian work visa, which is a permit that allows you to legally work in Canada as a foreigner.

Thousands of skilled and unskilled foreign workers apply for visas every year, not only because they are looking for new prospects in one of the most multicultural and welcoming countries in the world but because of the job opportunities and the incredible work benefits that come with them. Canada’s national average salary for full-time workers is approximately $54,630 per year and with an unemployment rate of just 7.5 percent, the odds of landing a good job in Canada are extremely high compared to other countries.    

And did we mention the benefits? Take a look at just some of the perks that await you once you decide to accept that dream job offer. 

Do I Need a Canadian Work Visa?

Most people need a specific type of work permit and there are various types to choose from. If you aren’t sure if you need one, the information provided on the various types below will help you determine which work visa may be right for you. 

Types of Work Visas

There are two major types of work permits in Canada:

Types of Work Permits

  • The Open Work Permit, under which programs such as the International Experience Canada (working tourist visa); andThe International Mobility Program operates; and
  • The Employer-Specific Work Permit under which numerous streams are processed depending on the applicants job offer.

Temporary Foreign Work Permit

Temporary Foreign Work Permit - all of your Employer-Specific Work Permit streams can be found under the TFWP. These work permits all have specific conditions including the name of the employer, how long the employment term is, and the address or place of work. There are exceptions such as the open work permit granted to caregivers, which are occupation-specific and do not require an LMIA

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Labour Market Impact Assessment

Labour Market Impact Assessment - this is a requirement for employers who wish to hire foreign workers whose country of citizenship is not on the list of countries under the International Mobility Program (IMP), or who do not have exemption under one of the immigration pilot programs such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot or the Rural & Northern Immigration Pilot.

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Post-Graduate Work Permit

Post-Graduate Work Permit - The PGWP is for international graduates from tertiary Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) who want to stay in Canada to work. Not all DLIs have PGWP eligible programs, so it is important that you check your institution's status before applying for this type of work permit. The duration of the permit is directly linked to the duration of your studies, which must have been for a minimum of eight months.

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IEC

IEC - The International Experience Class is made up of three visa categories, of which each has a different type of work permit. The regular working holiday visa grants applicants an open work permit for up to two years, depending on the nationality. The International Co-op (Internship) and Young Professionals visa grants applicants employer-specific work permits

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Global Talent Stream

Global Talent Stream - This program allows innovative Canadian companies on the GTS Occupations list to hire highly specialized foreign workers in certain fields without an LMIA. Eligible candidates for this program must hold an advanced degree in their field and have at least five years of specialized experience. The program falls under the TFWP and has a very short processing time; you could have your employer-specific work permit in as little as two weeks!

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International Mobility Program

International Mobility Program - The IMP serves Canada’s broader economic and cultural interests by allowing employers who wish to hire foreign workers to do so without an LMIA. The employer and foreign worker must qualify for one of the LMIA-exemption categories, such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot or CETA, and jobs must be posted via the Employer Portal of the IRCC’s official website

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What Can I Expect to Earn Working in Canada?

The national average for full-time employees working in Canada is approximately $1,050.59 per week or $54,630 per year. This is of course dependent on your occupation, level of skill, work experience as well as the province or the territory you are working in.  

Below is an average salary you can expect to earn by province or territory.

Canada Average Salaries by Province | Canada work visa

Requirements for Skilled Foreign Workers

One of the main requirements to get your Canadian work visa will be to show you are competent to perform the duties of the job offered to you. For skilled positions, this can be done by providing a copy of your education credentials. However, because different countries and institutions have different standards, you will need to have an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) done to show that your qualifications meet Canadian standards. You must get your ECA from a designated organization. ECA reports are currently being accepted from:

You will need to provide some other information and supporting documents which vary depending on the work permit you are applying for. Not in all instances, but particularly when applying to the TFWP, you can expect to have to show proof of your intention to return to your country of origin, past work experience, and funds when applying for your Canadian work permit.

Types of Work Permits Infographic | Canada work visa

Who Else Can Apply for a Canadian Work Permit?

You may be eligible to apply for a work permit if you are:

  • a dependent family member of someone who has applied for permanent residence;
  • a spouse or common-law partner of an international student or an Atlantic Immigration Pilot program applicant;
  • an international student that wants to work more than 20 hours per week; or
  • A recent graduate from Hong Kong.

Open Work Permits for Recent Hong Kong Graduates

Canada has introduced a temporary work permit program aimed at helping Hong Kong Recent graduates apply for an open work permit that is valid for up to three years or until your passport expires! 

Who Can Apply?

Eligibility Requirements

  • A valid passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) or the United Kingdom to a British National Overseas (BNO); and
  • have graduated with a degree or diploma (minimum of a two-year program) no more than five years before you apply for this open work permit. 

If you received your qualification outside of Canada, you will only need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) if you have a diploma. If you have a degree, you won’t need an ECA but it may be best to get one anyway as it may be requested later.

What Do I Do if My Work Permit is About to Expire?

Man working on laptop | Canada work visa

If your work visa for Canada is about to expire and you want to stay and work in Canada, you can extend your work permit, however, all the details will remain the same, for example, your employer, job, and work location. If you have an employer-specific work permit and you intend to change employers you will need to apply for a new work permit.

If your Canadian work permit expires before you apply for an extension or new permit you will have 90 days to restore it, however, you will not be able to work until then. If your application is not approved you will have to leave Canada and reapply for a new work permit

When your work permit is only valid for four months it’s time to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). This will allow you to continue working in Canada while you are awaiting the results of your permanent residency status. 

What is a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)?

A bridging work permit or visa allows Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Program, Home Child-Care Provider or Home Support Worker, Caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class and Agri-Food Pilot candidates who are currently awaiting permanent residency status, work in Canada.

To be eligible to apply for a BOWB you must be:

  • Currently living and working in Canada;
  • Have a valid temporary work permit (which will expire in four months);
  • Have a positive outcome of your permanent resident application under an Express Entry program;
  • Have applied for an open work permit.

Why is it Important to Get a Legal Work Permit for Canada?

Having a Canadian work visa or permit protects foreigners working in Canada as they get rights and protections in line with Canadian labour laws. Keeping your employment status legal also opens up the door to applying for permanent residency in Canada. Taking the right pathway could not only set you up for a prosperous life in Canada but your loved ones too.  

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