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How to Apply for a Canada Work Visa

Updated: November 1st, 2022


Reviewed by David Allon

The labour forecast in Canada is set to be 21.3 million strong by 2028. If you want to work and live in Canada and would like to do so through a Canadian work permit. You should know that you have several options available to you. The country has a goal to welcome over 1.2 million immigrants in the next three years, making now a good time to move to Canada.

How to apply for a Canada work visa will depend on which visa option you are eligible for. Each work permit is different with different requirements, validity and conditions. It’s good to note that working in Canada can also be a great way to immigrate to Canada.

Continue reading to find out how!

3 Steps to Apply for the Right Canadian Work Permit for You


Step 1: Choose a visa that works for you

One of the main key factors when applying for the visa is choosing between the open work visa or the employer-specific work visa. It will determine the choices you have as well as the process, as the employer-specific permit is a less complicated process, most foreign nationals tend to get this visa.

The differences are:

  1. Open work permit - you will be able to work for any employer within Canada and you are exempt from needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  2. Employer-specific work permit - this permit will allow you as a foreign national to work under certain conditions, which will be stated on the permit.

Programs that allow you to obtain an open work visa

1. Post-Graduation Work Permit

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) allows international students, who have graduated from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), to obtain an open work visa. The PGWP can be valid for up to three years, all depending on the length of the graduate’s program.

2. Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program Spousal Permit.

If you are the spouse of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, then you are eligible for an open work permit.

Programs that allow you to obtain an employer-specific work visa

1. Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a service designed by the government to help Canadian employers to access highly skilled global talent and broaden the workforce in Canada. This program is favoured as processing can be as short as two weeks.

2. Agricultural Stream

The Agricultural Stream allows foreign nationals to work as foreign temporary workers for a period of 24 months. The employer has to pay for your trip to Canada and back home, transportation, health insurance and provide you with affordable housing.

Step 2: Check your eligibility to move to Canada

The requirements that you as a foreign national will need to meet, depends on your country of origin. However, there are general requirements that you will need to meet regardless of the type of Canadian visa you are applying for. They are:

  1. Prove to an officer that you’ll leave Canada when your work permit expires;
  2. Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and any family members during your stay in Canada and to return home;
  3. Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (IRCC may ask applicants to give a police clearance certificate);
  4. Not be a danger to Canada’s security;
  5. Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed;
  6. Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions;
  7. Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages; and
  8. Give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove the applicant can enter the country.

Step 3: Submit the application

You can submit your application with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and it can be done online. Again, your country of origin will determine which forms and how many forms will need to be filled in.

As mentioned, there are many variables to having a successful Canadian journey when it comes to work visas., however, works alongside Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who are experts when it comes to Canadian immigration and the process that goes along with it. Even when you know how to apply for a Canada work visa, an RCIC can tell you exactly which forms you need to fill in, which documents are required from you as well as which visa you are eligible for. This will simplify your visa process and increase your chances of success significantly.

How Much Does a Canadian Work Visa Cost?

Work Visa Fees
Permit Fee in CAD
Study permit (including extensions) $150
Work permit (including extensions) $155
Work permit (including extensions) – per group (3 or more performing artists) $465
Open work permit holder $100

How Working in Canada Can Lead To Immigrating


By working in Canada you can qualify for certain immigration programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This program is one of three under the Express Entry system. The CEC allows foreign nationals with Canadian work experience to become permanent residents in Canada. To be eligible for this program you must have worked in Canada for at least one year.

Benefits of the CEC

  • You don’t need proof of settlement funds; and
  • Applications can be processed in as little as three to four months.

To see if you’re eligible for any of the above programs and to know exactly how you should apply for a Canada work visa, click on the link below and complete the full evaluation to have the RCICs we work with guide you on your best options.

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