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How to Apply for a Canada Work Visa

Updated: May 9th, 2023


Reviewed by David Allon


Edited by Kirat Sekhon

The labor 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 aims to welcome over 1.2 million immigrants in the next three years, making now an excellent 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 has different requirements, validity, and conditions. However, 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 a visa is choosing between the open work visa and the employer-specific work visa. It will determine your choices and the process, as the employer-specific permit is a less complicated process, and most foreign nationals tend to get this visa.

The differences are:

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

Open Work Visa Programs

1. Post-Graduation Work Permit

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

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.

3. International Experience Canada

International Experience Canada (IEC) is a program that allows young people from participating countries to travel to Canada to live and work temporarily. It is based on reciprocal bilateral agreements between Canada and other nations1. Under the IEC program, foreign youth aged 18 to 35 can get a temporary work permit to travel and work in Canada. IEC programs have three categories: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op Internship.

4. Bridging Open Work Permit

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) is a type of work permit that allows you to keep working while you wait for the results of your permanent residence application1. It is available to work permit holders waiting for their permanent residency application results. The BOWP program was recently changed to make it more accessible. The BOWP is issued under very limited conditions, and you must have applied for permanent residence to be eligible.

Employer-specific Work Visa Programs

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 favored 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 24 months. The employer has to pay for your trip to Canada and back home, transportation, health insurance,e 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 depend 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 regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services,s 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. But, again, your country of origin will determine which forms and how many must be filled in.

Many variables exist to having a successful Canadian journey regarding a work visa., however, works alongside Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs,) who are experts in 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 which forms you need to fill in, which documents you require, and 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 attachments) $155
Work permit (including extensions) – per group (3 or more performing artists) $465
Open work permit holder $100

On April 14th, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) implemented this new pathway for temporary residents who are already in Canada as temporary workers. The following examines how you can go from being a temporary to a permanent ( TR to PR) Canadian resident.

How Working in Canada Can Lead To Immigrating


Working in Canada allows you to qualify for specific 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,m 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 know how to apply for a Canada work visa, click the link below and complete the entire evaluation to have the RCICs we work with guide your best options.

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