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Canada is a highly developed country with many opportunities for work and a good salary. Because of this, it attracts many foreign workers who want to go there and find good jobs. The Government of Canada has anticipated this and that is why they have designed the work visas.
If you want to work in Canada, you must have a Canadian work permit which allows you to find an employer or to sign a contract for work. A work permit is a document for which you must apply when you apply for the visa to go to Canada. The application is done at the same time and the Consular Office will treat your visa application as a work permit application.
There are two ways through which you can get a Canada work permit:
- Through Temporary Work Visas
- Through Permanent or Immigrant Work Visas
The first group of visas allows you to work in Canada for six months or less as a temporary worker. The second group of visas is given to those who are immigrating in Canada because they have found a suitable job. This article will focus on the Temporary Work Visa overview.
What Are the Canada Temporary Work Visas?
Table Of Interest
A Temporary Work Visa for Canada is a combination of a Temporary Resident Visa and a Work Permit. With a TRV, you are allowed to stay in Canada for 6 months or less, while the Work Permit for Canada allows you to also work in the job that you have already found or to look for a job.
This work visa for Canada is not permanent and will expire after a few months or years depending on the type you have. This means that after the Canadian work visa expires, then you can either apply to have it renewed or return to your home country. The maximum amount of time you can work temporarily in Canada with all extensions is 4 years. However, that is not applicable for each case and may depend on the country you are from and which type of visa you have.
You cannot stay and work in Canada after your visa expires because you will put yourself at risk for deportation. This means you will not be able to get a Canada visa again.
Who Needs a Temporary Work Visa for Canada?
Anyone who intends to enter Canada with the reasons to work and earn a salary must get a Temporary Work Visa, or Work Permit. You must be involved in these activities to need the work permit:
- Your intention is to become employed in Canada with a salary.
- You will get your salary from a company that is registered in Canada as a business.
- Your primary location of work will be Canada.
- Your salary will be paid to you and deposited in a Canadian bank account.
However, if your place of work is outside Canada and you are in the country for a short period of time for work purposes, then you do not need a work permit.
Those who may not need a Canadian work permit are the following groups of visitors:
- Foreign Government Workers.
- Foreign Government Representatives and their family members.
- Military personnel.
- Business visitors.
- Performing artists.
- Athletes and their team members.
- Judges, referees, or similar workers.
- Media crews and news reporters.
- Public speakers and convention organizers.
- Evaluators and examiners.
- Health care students.
- Students who are working on campus.
- Civil aviation inspectors.
- Aviation accident inspectors.
- Emergency service providers.
- Expert witnesses and investigators.
- Researchers who have to work in Canada for 120 days only.
If you do not belong to any of these groups, then you will need a Temporary Work Visa and Permit.
Am I Eligible to Apply for a Canadian Work Visa and Permit?
In order to qualify, any applicant who wants to work in Canada temporarily must be eligible and fulfill the Canada work visa eligibility criteria as follows:
- Prove you are willing to leave Canada and return to your home country when your work permit expires.
- Respect the conditions of your work permit, depending on whether it is open and you can work for any employer or if it is specific and you are only allowed to work for one employer;
- Prove you will not work for an employer who is engaged in a work type that is prohibited such as striptease services, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages;
If you are applying for the work permit and visa from outside of Canada, so from your home country, you must also fulfill the Temporary Visa requirements.
On the other hand, if you are applying from inside Canada, then you must also fulfill these Canada work permit requirements:
- You are currently in Canada with a study permit or you have a work permit that will expire soon.
- Graduated from a Canadian educational institution.
- Gave a temporary resident permit that is valid for 6 or more months.
- Applied for refugee status in Canada and are waiting for a decision.
- You are already a refugee or protected person.
- Your application for refugee status has been denied but you cannot leave Canada for reasons beyond your control;
What are the types of Temporary Work Visas for Canada?
To address all the needs of foreign workers, the Government of Canada issues different types of Temporary Work Visas depending on the needs of the applicant. There are 4 types of work permits or work visas that you can get:
Temporary Foreign Workers Program
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is the standard temporary worker visa. It is issued to foreign workers who already have a job offer from a Canadian company and for which the company has already obtained a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Government of Canada.
Open Work Permit
The Open Work Permit is given to foreign workers who are going to Canada with a job offer but the permit allows them to switch employers. This is different from the other work permits/visas because it is not employer specific. The other work permits/visas do not allow you to change employers while in Canada.
Working Holiday Visa
The Working Holiday Visa is given to young people from 30 countries, so they can work in Canada and travel. It is a random selection visa which means that applicants will submit their applications and wait to be randomly selected to apply for the work permit.
Post Graduate Work Permit
The Post Graduate Work Permit is given to students who have completed a degree from a Canadian educational institution and want to stay in Canada longer through working.
How to Apply for a Temporary Work Visa for Canada?
An overview of the steps on how to apply for a work visa for Canada are as follows:
Get a temporary job offer from a Canadian Company
Depending on the type of work permit that you are applying for, you will most likely need a job offer from an employer in Canada.
- If you are getting an Open Work Permit, you will have the chance to switch employers and find a different one once you are in Canada. But if you want an employer specific permit, then you will need to find the job before you apply for it.
- To get the Foreign Temporary Workers Visa, you must find a job in Canada from your home country.
- If you are only planning to go to Canada and look for the job, then you must skip this step.
- If you are applying for a working holiday visa, your chances of getting the visa will be higher if you already know where you will work.
There are many resources online which will help you with your job search in Canada. You can visit different websites, or you can contact head hunting services in Canada and pay them to find you a job. Whichever way you choose, you will need the employer to agree to send you a job offer for temporary work before you apply for the work visa.
The company you will work for must have a LMIA
After you find the job, the company that has agreed to hire you must apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Government of Canada. A LMIA is a document which the government issues and serves as an authorization for the company to hire foreign temporary workers.
The company you want to work for must apply for it and demonstrate that by giving you this job, they are not taking jobs away from Canadian citizens of permanent residents. They must prove that there are no willing, available, or qualified people within Canada for that job position, and therefore they must hire foreign workers. After they get the LMIA, you must have the document and then apply for work permit in Canada.
Submit the application for Canada Work Visa and Permit
After the Canadian Government issues the LMIA to the company that has hired you, then it is time to apply for the Temporary Work Visa. You can do this online through the Government of Canada website or in person at any Canadian Consulate Office.
You must submit the application forms and the supporting documents which will be evaluated from the Consular officers. The officers might also ask you to have a medical examination as well as an interview to determine your eligibility and whether you would return from Canada after your work permit expires.
To apply for a Canadian work visa, you must submit the following application forms and supporting documents:
- Application forms which include:
- IMM 1295 – Application for Work Permit Made Outside of Canada.
- Schedule 1 – Application for Temporary Resident Visa.
- Family Information Form IMM 5645.
- Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union IMM 5409 (if applicable).
- IMM 5476 – Use of Representative Form (if applicable).
- IMM 5475 – Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (if applicable).
- Your passport which must be valid for more than 6 months after your planned date of entry into Canada.
- A photocopy of your passport and all its pages.
- Two photos as per the Photo Requirements.
- Proof of current immigration status (if your country of residence is different from your country of citizenship).
- Copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable).
- Copy of children’s birth certificates (if applicable).
- Police record certificates. You must prove you have no criminal record in the past and that you have been a law-abiding citizen
- Proof of having enough funds in your bank account to finance yours and your family’s stay in Canada as well as enough to return to your home country.
- Your resume or CV.
- Your education diplomas and certificates.
- Valid job offer from your employer.
- The LMIA document.
- If you will be working in Quebec, you need a Certificate d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ).
- Complete the medical examination. The officials of the Canadian Consulate may ask you to go through a medical exam to prove that you are in good health and able to work. You must follow their instructions and require a licensed doctor to sign your documents.
Complete the Canada Work visa interview.
The officials might also ask for an interview to determine that you have submitted the right document and that you are being truthful. Most often, they will try to determine whether you will return back to your home country after your work permit expires. You must show up at the scheduled time for your interview and answer the questions honestly.
Wait for processing
When you submit the Canadian work visa application, the consular officers will have to process it and make a decision. Depending on the country you are from, the work permit processing time is between 3 to 27 weeks. After this, the officers will issue a decision on whether you can work in Canada or not.
Travel to Canada
If the Government of Canada decided that you can work in the country, then you can start making travel and accommodation arrangements. When you get to the Port of Entry (PoE) in Canada you must show them all your documents and your approved work permit.
The PoE officers have the authority to decide whether they want to let you into the country and for how long. Even if the Consular Office issues a visa for 6 months, the PoE officers can issue it for only 3 months and you will only have that time to work in Canada. After that, you will have to apply for an extension or return to your home country.
How Long is the Canada Work Visa Valid?
The temporary Canada work visa is valid for 6 months or less. After that, you have the option of applying for an extension to the Consulate or return to your home country. The amount of time that you are allowed to stay in Canada with all extensions is no more than 4 years. The length of the extensions though depends on the Canadian Consulate decisions.
What are the Fees for the Canada Work Visa?
When you apply for the work permit and visa, you will have to pay the application fees. The fee for the work permit is CAD$155. Every time you submit an application for an extension, you will have to pay this fee again. If you are applying for an Open Work Permit, the fee is CAD$100.
Can I Bring my Dependents With me With a Canada Work Visa?
The Canadian Government allows the person who has the work permit to add his close family to the application. The people who are allowed to accompany you to Canada are your spouse or common-law partner and minor children. When you apply, you must add their documents to the application too so as to be considered a family application.
Can I Apply for Permanent Residence with a Canada Work Visa?
You cannot apply for permanent residence with a Canada temporary work visa; however, while you are in Canada, you can apply for Permanent Visas such as:
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
- Live-In Caregiver Program.
You must meet the eligibility criteria for these visas. It is not guaranteed that you will be approved for them, but the application procedures will be easier if you are already working in Canada.
Canada Work Visa Extension
Since the Work Visa is not permanent (six months or less) once it is about to expire, you can either apply to extend it or return to your home country after expiry. If you want to extend your work visa, you have to apply for a visa extension at least 30 days before expiry.
You can only apply for a work visa extension if:
- You sign a new work contract with your employer AND
- Your employer gets a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA); OR
- Your employer pays for the employer compliance fee and submits a new employment offer
You can apply for the work permit extension in one of two ways: online and on paper.
To apply online you will need to create an account on IRCC’s website. There, you can find document checklists, application forms, and guidelines on how to apply. To apply on paper, you need to download the application package, fill out all the application forms, print and sign them, get all the necessary documents, pay the fees, and mail them to the address given on the application package.
The necessary documents and forms for a work permit extension
- Application to Change Conditions, Extend my stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710)
- Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
- Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475)
- If applicable: Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409)
You will need the same documents as for a Visitor Record (see above). However, you will also need additional documents such as:
- If you have one: Copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and a copy of your job offer letter from your prospective employer.
- If your employer has not obtained a LMIA, include a copy of the Offer of Employment number your employer gives you.
- For a live-in caregiver: Photocopy of signed employment contract.
- If working in Quebec: A Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI)
- If participating in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program: Proof of health insurance for the duration of your stay.
- For students: Academic standing – photocopies of transcripts from your last two study periods or letter from the institutional registrar.
- For provincial nominees:
- Proof of nomination.
- Offer of employment from someone in your province.
- Statement from your province identifying your job and employer along with the details of your job (payment, working conditions, the nature of the job). The statement must also reveal that your employer needs you on the job and that the job offer will provide economic benefits.
Documents required for work permit extension for spouses/common law partners
Spouse/common-law partners of open permit workers
- Employment contract/job offer of the primary foreign worker’s current employer which confirms his/her employment.
- Copy of the primary foreign worker’s last three payslips
- Copy of the primary foreign worker’s work permit
Spouse/common-law partners of full-time students
- A valid enrollment letter of the student as a Canadian educational institution.
- Copy of the student’s study permit.
Documents required for work permit extension for refugee claimants
- Proof you are unable to support yourself without social welfare.
- Proof you referred your refugee claim to the Immigration and Refugee board (IRB)
Check if you’re eligible for faster processing
Start working in Canada faster through the Global Skills Strategy (GSS).
We aim to process eligible GSS work permit applications within 2 weeks.
Processing delays for GSS applications
Processing times for GSS applications continue to be affected by both
- the number of applications we received while COVID-19 health and travel restrictions were in place
- an increase in applications as health and travel restrictions lift in Canada and around the world
It will probably take more than 2 weeks to process your GSS application. We’re continuing to recover so we can return to 2-week processing.
Who is eligible for faster processing
There are 2 ways you can be eligible for 2-week processing of your work permit application, depending on if you need a labour market impact assessment (LMIA).
If you don’t need an LMIA (LMIA-exempt)
If you don’t need an LMIA, you may be eligible for 2-week processing if you meet all of these requirements:
- You’re applying from outside Canada.
- Your job is classified under Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category 0 or 1 of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system.
- Your employer has submitted an offer of employment using the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee.
International Experience Canada applicants are not eligible for GSS processing.
If you need an LMIA (LMIA-required)
If you need an LMIA, you could qualify for 2-week processing if you meet all of these requirements:
- you’re applying from outside Canada
- you have a positive LMIA through the Global Talent Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (this will be on the LMIA decision letter)
Spouses and dependents
- visitor visa
- work permit
- study permit
They must submit a complete application and apply at the same time as you.
How to get faster processing
Once you have the documents and information you need from your employer, you and your family members must
- apply online from outside Canada
- submit a complete application, which includes
- submit your biometrics results within 2 weeks of submitting your application (if needed)
Incomplete applications are not eligible for GSS and will take longer to process. Check processing times.
Local visa office requirements
Many of our visa offices abroad have specific instructions that you need to follow. Check your local visa office requirements to make sure you are including all required documents with your application.
If you have local instructions to follow, you can find them in the application package.
- Go to the work permit application.
- Select “Apply online”.
- Select the country or territory you’re applying from.
- Download the country-specific visa office requirements from the list of documents, if there are any.
To be eligible for 2-week processing you must include certified translations of documents that aren’t in English or French, even if your visa office requirements say we accept other languages.
Examples of requirements that may change depending on where you’re applying from include
Make sure you
- answer “yes” when asked during the online eligibility check, “Did Employment and Social Development Canada issue your employer’s Labour Market Impact Assessment under the Global Talent Stream?”
- apply as soon as they receive your LMIA decision letter
Who’s not eligible for faster processing
We won’t process your application in 2 weeks if
- your application is incomplete
- you don’t include certified translations of documents that aren’t in English or French
- you forget documents from your local visa office instructions
- you submit a paper application
- you apply from inside Canada
- you submit an International Experience Canada application
How to apply from inside Canada
How to apply from inside Canada
Are you a student or worker who received a V-1 visa?
This is not an error. Find out more about the V-1 visa for students and workers.
A work permit or study permit is not a visa.
- We won’t automatically issue you a visitor visa if you extend your work or study permit.
- If you need a new visitor visa, you will need to submit a separate application.
On this page
- Who can apply for a visitor visa from inside Canada
- If you already left Canada and need to apply for a new visitor visa
- When to apply for your new visitor visa (in Canada)
- How to apply for your new visitor visa
Who can apply for a visitor visa from inside Canada
You can only apply for a visitor visa from inside Canada if you meet all of these criteria:
- already are in Canada
- hold a valid study or work permit
- want to leave and return to Canada in the near future, and
- have an existing visitor visa that’s expired, or is about to expire, or that was valid for only 1 entry
If you already left Canada and need to apply for a new visitor visa
You must follow the process to apply for a visa from outside Canada instead of the inside Canada process outlined below. There are different requirements you may need to meet since you’re outside Canada.
When to apply for your new visitor visa (in Canada)
- apply at least 2 months before you plan to leave Canada
- not leave Canada until you get your visitor visa
If you leave Canada before you get your new visitor visa
You may be subject to
- additional requirements, like biometrics (if not already on file) and/or a medical exam
- a longer processing time
- a delay in your return to Canada
- You’ll only be able to travel back to Canada once you get your new visitor visa in your passport. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be approved.
If you must leave Canada for exceptional reasons before you get your new visitor visa
Complete this web form before you leave Canada.
- We may need to transfer your file to one of our offices abroad.
- We’ll also need to determine if you meet all the visa requirements for an applicant outside Canada.
- If you don’t contact us, there could be a processing delay or your passport could be returned without a visa.
If you applied online to extend your work or study permit
If we approve your application, we send you a message in your online account and mail you your new work or study permit.
After we approve your application to extend your permit
As soon as we approve your application to extend your work or study permit, you can apply for your visitor visa (even before you get your new work or study permit in the mail).
However, you must provide proof that we approved your application, such as:
- a screenshot of the approval message we sent to your online account
- your application number
- any other document that proves you have a valid and approved study or work permit extension
How to apply for your new visitor visa
You need to apply online in your IRCC secure account. If you don’t already have an account, follow these steps to register.
You’ll need to select “Apply to Come to Canada” from your account main page to get started.
Get the right application form
To get the right application form, provide these answers in the online questionnaire:
- For the first question “What would you like to do in Canada?”, select
- “Study” if you have a valid study permit or
- “Work” if you have a valid work permit
- When asked “What is your current country/territory of residence?”, select “Canada”.
- Answer the questions on the next pages about your work or studies.
- You may be given the option to extend your current study or work permit or to apply for a “Temporary Resident Visa”. Make sure you select “Temporary Resident Visa”.
The application form listed in your document checklist will be called Application for Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa) Made Outside of Canada (IMM 5257). This is the form you need to fill out, even when you apply from inside Canada.
Use your account to pay your fees and check your application status.
If you can’t apply online because of a disability, an exceptional circumstance beyond your control or a specific situation that is not included in the IRCC secure account questionnaire, such as travelling with an alien’s passport, you can apply on paper.
Open work permits for family members of foreign workers: About the document
Family members of most foreign workers can apply for an open work permit.
An open work permit lets your family member work for any employer in Canada, except for one that
- is listed as ineligible on the list of employers who have failed to comply with the conditions, or
- regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages
If your family member doesn’t plan to work
Outside Canada family members
In-Canada family members
How to extend or change the conditions on your work permit
Temporary measures to help you extend your stay in Canada
Find out how to extend your temporary resident status in Canada if you’ve been impacted by a natural hazard in Canada or an international crisis.
Information for people affected by
Learn more about our immigration response to
About the process
If you have a work permit that’s about to expire or that you need to change, you must apply to extend it or change the conditions on it.
You should apply to extend your work permit at least 30 days before your current permit expires.
Maintain your status
If you apply to extend or change the conditions of your work permit before it expires, you’re legally allowed to stay in Canada while we process your application.
If your work permit expires while we process your application, find out if you can keep working.
Date and time we receive your application
To maintain your status, we must receive your application before your work permit expires. We determine the date and time an application is received 2 ways:
- If you apply online: You must submit your application before midnight UTC on the day your work permit expires.
- Our online application system uses coordinated universal time (UTC).
- Make sure you know the difference between your local time and UTC.
- If you apply on paper: We stamp paper applications the day we receive them at the case processing centre.
- If we receive an application after your work permit expires, we’ll count back 7 days and use that as the date received.
Check the expiry date on your passport
You can’t extend your work permit beyond the expiry date of your passport. Make sure your passport won’t expire before the requested end date of your permit.
If you don’t have a work permit
If you want to work in Canada temporarily, find out what you need to do.
If you want to stay in Canada permanently
You must qualify under one of the permanent resident categories.
Why Canada Temporary Work Visa?
- 608,420 permits issued under TFW program in 2022
- Work in Canada up to 3 years
- 1+ M job vacancies for past 3 months
- Apply for Canada PR, if eligible
Canada Temporary Work Permit
Canada annually issues over half a million temporary work permits to foreign workers. It’s a legal document allowing overseas professionals to live and work in Canada temporarily.
There are different options to apply for a Canadian work permit. A few require a prior job offer from any Canadian employer or Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), while other permits don’t need any job offer or LMIA.
There are two types of Canadian Work Permits.
Employer Specific Work Permit
With this permit, individuals can work as per their work permit conditions, i.e.,
- Can work only under a specific employer
- Work for specific hours
- Work at an exact location (if applicable)
Before applying for an employer-specific work permit, the employer must give:
- Copy of Employment Contract
- Copy of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
- Employment offer number (in the case of LMIA-exempt employees)
Open Work Permit
With this open work permit, applicants can work under any of the Canadian employer, except employers listed as ineligible on the employers’ list.
The following are the most popular categories for obtaining Canadian work permit:
Temporary Foreign Worker Program(TFWP)
The TFWP allows Canadian employers to hire and retain skilled foreign workers through different streams, including:
- Low-Wage workers
- High-Wage Workers
- Global Talent Stream
- In-Home Caregivers
- Foreign Agricultural Workers
- Foreign Academics
International Mobility Program (IMP)
The IMP allows Canadian employers to hire and retain temporary foreign professionals without obtaining Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Eligibility Criteria for Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)
- Employers must obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to prove that they didn’t find a Canadian permanent resident or citizen to fill that job position.
- The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) must be issued by Employment and Social Development Canada.
- LMIA application must be submitted at least six months before the intended job position start date.
Eligibility Criteria for International Mobility Program (IMP)
- The employer must confirm that the worker or position qualifies for LMIA exemption.
- Applicant must pay a compliance fee of CAD 230 to the employer.
- Official job offer to be submitted via IMP‘s Employer Portal.
Requirements for Canada Temporary Work Permit
- Give proof that you’ll leave the country as and when your Work Permit expires.
- Have enough funds to support yourself when in Canada.
- Submit a police clearance certificate to prove a clean criminal record.
- Submit medical examination certificate (if required).
- Ensure that you don’t have any plans to work for any employer who is listed as ineligible by the Canadian government.
Steps to Apply for Canada Temporary Work Visa
Step 1: Determine which work permit suits your needs.
Step 2: Check your eligibility through Y-Axis Canada Immigration Points Calculator.
Step 3: Arrange all the requirements.
Step 4: Submit an employment offer or a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Step 5: Apply for the Canada Temporary Work visa.
Step 6: Fly to Canada.
Canada Temporary Work Processing Time
Generally, the processing times for Canada Temporary work permit ranges between 6 weeks to 8 months. However, the overall processing time majorly depends on the following:
- Type of work permit an applicant choose
- Applicant’s country of residence during application submission.
If an applicant is also applying for LMIA, the processing times greatly vary, as it takes at least five months to get a response on any LMIA application.
To ensure quick application processing, the applicant must ensure that:
- The officer is convinced that the applicant can perform the intended work adequately.
- The officer is convinced that applicants will eventually return to their home country upon work permit expiration.
- Applicants meet the work permit criteria.
Canada Temporary Work Visa Fees
The Canada Work Permit Visa fees varies for different visas.
|Work permit (including extensions)/person||$155|
|Work permit (including extensions)/group (3 or more performing artists)||$465|
|International Experience Canada||$161|
|Open work permit holder||$100|
|Restore your status as a worker ($200) and get a new work permit ($155)||$355|
Temporary Work Permits: Conditions, Terms and Validity
Conditions that are attached to a temporary work permit
Canadian visa officers have the authority to add conditions to a work permit such as:
- The length of time for which the permit will be valid
- The type of work that the work permit holder may perform
- The employers that the foreign worker may work for
- The geographic locations in which the foreign worker must work
- Specific times and periods during which the foreign worker can or cannot work
All work permit holders must satisfy the following requirements:
- They may not work for, or extend their employment with, an employer whose name appears on the list of ineligible employers.
- They may not work for or extend their employment with a business that offers: stripteases, erotic dances, escort services or erotic massages.
If a foreign worker violates either of these two rules, his/her work permit will be revoked.
The extent to which a Canadian visa officer can add the conditions mentioned above to a work permit will be altered if the foreign worker applicant is eligible for an open work permit or is required to undergo a medical examination.
How long a temporary work permit may be valid
Work permits are usually valid for 1-2 years. However, a Canadian visa officer can change the validity period of a work permit according to:
- The expiry of the worker’s passport or travel document. Generally, a Canadian visa officer will not issue a work permit that is valid for longer than the validity of the worker’s passport. This rule, however, does not apply to:
- Citizens of the USA
- People seeking to enter Canada from the USA or St. Pierre and Miquelon who have been lawfully admitted to the USA as permanent residents
- Residents of Greenland seeking to enter Canada from Greenland
- People seeking to enter Canada from St. Pierre and Miquelon who are citizens of France and residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon
- Members of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state under the Visiting Forces Act. In order for this rule to apply, the member of the armed forces must be seeking entry to Canada in order to carry out official duties. This rule does not apply to people working in the civilian sector of a country’s armed forces.
- People who are seeking to enter Canada as, or in order to become, members of an air transportation crew. These people must hold an airline flight crew licence or crew member certificate issued in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization specifications.
- People seeking to enter Canada as members of a sea transportation crew. These people must hold a seafarer’s identity document issued according to International Labour Organization rules. They must also be crewmembers of the boat that carried them to Canada.
- Applicants with no other means of support. (Foreign Nationals with No Other Means of Support)
- Permanent residency applicants residing in Canada. (Permanent Residence Applicants in Canada)
- Note: all of the additional considerations listed below will never cause a work permit to be issued for longer than the validity of the worker’s passport UNLESS they are subject to one of the exceptions listed above.
- The foreign worker’s means of support in Canada
- The period for which the foreign worker has applied to stay in Canada
- The duration of validity of the applicant’s LMIA or Certificat d’acceptation de Quebec, as applicable
- The expected duration of the applicant’s employment as indicated in the job offer
- The maximum work permit validity period allowed by any particular program or agreement in which the applicant is involved.
If all requirements are met and a temporary foreign worker applicant is issued a work permit, Canadian visa officers will give the work permit the longest validity period possible given the factors mentioned above.
There are certain categories of work, however, that come with specifically mandated work permit validity periods. The kinds of work and validity periods are as follows:
- Professionals working under NAFTA: Under NAFTA, work permits are issued for three years. All permit extensions will also be for three years. There is no limit on the number of times a permit can be extended, should the individual continue to meet the eligibility conditions.
- Professionals working under free trade agreements similar to NAFTA: Under these agreements, work permits are issued for one year. All permit extensions will also be for one year. There is no limit on the number of times a permit can be extended, should the individual continue to meet the eligibility conditions.
- Professionals working under the General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS): A work permit under this agreement will only be valid for 90 days over a 12-month period. There is no limit on the number of extensions.
- For workers transferring from a foreign company to a Canadian company, work permits may be issued for the following periods:
- Executives and managers: Permits will have a maximum initial validity period of three years. If an executive or manager is opening an office in Canada, however, the maximum initial validity period is only one year. Renewals for two-year periods are possible but the total period of stay may not be more than seven years.
- Specialized knowledge transferees: Permits will have a maximum initial validity period of three years. If a specialized knowledge transferee is opening an office in Canada, however, the maximum initial validity is only one year. Renewals for two-year periods are possible but the total period of stay may not be more than five years.
- International Experience Canada Participants: These permits have a validity period of 6-12 months, depending on the country-specific agreement.
- Study Permit Holders: Work permits will be valid for as long as the study permit is valid. A work permit will only be issued, however, if the work is essential to the applicant’s program of study.
- Spouses of Diplomats of Military Personnel: The spouse’s work permit’s validity will not exceed the length of the diplomat or military personnel’s stay in Canada.
- Post-Graduation Employment Work Permit. These permits have a maximum validity of three years with no renewals.
- Live-In Caregiver Program. The maximum total validity period of these work permits is four years including extensions.
- Refugee Claimants. The initial work permit will be valid for 24 months. Renewals for 1-year periods are possible.
- Destitute Students. A work permit will be issued for a validity period that is long enough to allow the student to earn sufficient money to complete his/her term of study.
- Temporary resident permit holders. The validity period of the work permit will not be longer than the validity period of the temporary residence permit. Temporary residence permit holders can only apply for a work permit if their temporary residence permits have a validity period of longer than 6 months.
Temporary Work Permits
Every year, over 150,000 foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily in jobs that help Canadian employers address skill shortages, where they have been unable to recruit suitably qualified Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.
For the majority of jobs, foreign workers must obtain a temporary work permit before they can relocate to Canada. In order to apply for a temporary work permit, applicants must have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer, and the employer must have received approval to recruit a foreign worker.
The Canadian employer must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) through their local Service Canada office to ensure that the offer of employment meets a number of conditions set out by the Canadian government. Service Canada must confirm that the position will be of benefit to the Canadian labour market and will not be a threat to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident’s employment opportunities.
Once a positive LMIA has been issued by Service Canada, the applicant must submit an application for a temporary work permit before the LMIA expiry date.
Please note, B.M.G. not only assists applicants to apply for their temporary work permits but also works with employers in order to secure the necessary approval to recruit a foreign worker.
A temporary work permit is issued for a limited period of time and on the condition that the applicant works for a specific employer. The work permit is not transferable and if the work permit holder wishes to change employers in Canada they will need to obtain a new temporary work permit linked to their new employer.
Open work permits can be issued to spouses or common law partners of holders of valid work permits, providing that the applicant’s work permit is valid for at least six months and the employment is considered to be skilled employment. Children aged between 6-18 are eligible to apply for study permits to allow them to attend primary or secondary school in Canada, while children under the age of 6. ** There are some exceptions to this, please contact B.M.G. for further information. **
The processing times for temporary work permits can vary depending upon the type of employment you wish to undertake in Canada and where your application for a temporary work permit is submitted.
Occupations which are currently in demand include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Long Haul Truck Drivers
- CNC Machinists
- Early Childhood Educators
It is often possible for temporary work permit holders to apply for permanent residency status whilst in Canada working. For example, opportunities for permanent residency applications may be available under the Federal Skilled Worker category, Provincial Nominee Programs or the Canadian Experience Class.
What is a Temporary Work Visa?
A ‘Temporary Work Visa’ is an unofficial term for a combination of two different documents.
These are the Canadian Work Permit and either one of the Canadian visitor visas: the Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Temporary workers need to own both a work permit and one of the visitor visas in order to work in Canada temporarily. A visitor visa allows you to enter Canada, while a valid work permit allows you to work during your stay in Canada.
Who needs a TRV to work in Canada?
As mentioned above, a Temporary Work visa is a combination of a Canadian work permit and a visitor visa.
A temporary foreign worker from a visa-exempt country will not need to obtain a temporary work visa for Canada.
Below is the list of visa-exempt countries for Canada. If your country is not on this list, you will need a TRV to gain entry into Canada instead of an eTA.
|Bahamas||Greece||Papua New Guinea|
|British citizen||Iceland||Romania (electronic passport holders only)|
|British National (overseas)||Ireland||Samoa|
|British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom)||Israel (must have a national Israeli passport)||Hong Kong (must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR)|
|British overseas territory citizen of one of these:
||British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom||Taiwan (must have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number)|
|Brunei Darussalam||Republic of Korea||Slovenia|
|Denmark||Mexico||United Arab Emirates|
|Estonia||Monaco||Vatican City State (must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican)|
Which Visitor Visa Will I Need for a Temporary Work Visa?
The type of visitor visa temporary foreign workers need depends on whether the country they are from is on the visa-required list or visa-exempt list.
If your country is on the visa-required list, you will need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). If your country is on the visa-exempt list, you will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Note that if you apply for an initial work permit before you travel to Canada, you’ll get a Temporary Resident Visa or an eTA automatically once your work or study permit application is approved. In this instance, you won’t need to apply separately for a TRV or an eTA or pay extra fees.
If you’re issued with a TRV, it’ll be placed in your passport.
If you’re issued with an eTA, your eTA number will be included in the letter of introduction you’ll receive when your work permit is approved.
For more information about Canadian visitor visas, visit our dedicated page for Visitor Visas. You can also contact our immigration lawyers for advice by calling +1 844 290 6312 or contacting us online.
Eligibility Requirements for a Temporary Work Visa for Canada
To be eligible to work in Canada under a Temporary Work Visa, you will need to obtain a Canadian work permit.
In order to be eligible for a work permit, you must:
- Demonstrate to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires
- Show that you have enough money to fund yourself and your family members during your stay and also to return home
- Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity
- Not pose any danger to Canada’s security
- Be in good health and undergo a medical exam, if necessary
- Not plan to work for an employer listed on the ineligible list
- Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages
- Be prepared to give border services officers any documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country upon your arrival
There are also specific eligibility requirements if you are applying for an employer-specific work permit. For this, you must have the following:
- A job offer letter from a Canadian employer
- A contract
- A copy of the employer’s Labour Market Impact Assessment and the Labour Market Impact Assessment number
For more information about the work permit and its eligibility criteria, please visit our dedicated page discussing the Canadian work permit.
How to Apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Visa
You can apply for a Temporary Work Visa online or on paper. However, it is recommended that you apply for your visa online using the IRCC secure account system rather than on paper. This is due to potential delays processing paper applications.
You must normally apply for a Temporary Work Visa from outside of Canada, although you may be able to apply for a work permit at the border or from within Canada in certain specific cases.
As a general outline, the application for a Temporary Work Visa involves filling in and completing the following forms:
- Application For Work Permit Made Outside of Canada
- Document Checklist
- Family Information
In addition, you must fill out the following forms if they also apply to you:
- Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union
- Use of a Representative
- Authority to release personal information to a designated individual
Note that different visa types will each have their own documents and requirements needed to complete applications. These will also vary depending on where you are applying for a work permit from.
For more information about the application process, please consult our page on work permits.
Costs and Processing times for the Temporary Work Visa
Temporary Work Visas cost CAN$155 per person.
In addition to this, you may have to pay an open work permit holder fee of CAN$100 if you wish to apply for a work permit that is not job-specific.
You may also need to pay a biometric fee of CAN$85 if you need to provide your biometrics as part of your visa application.
The time it takes for a Temporary Work Visa to be processed can vary greatly depending on where you’re applying from. For some countries it may only take a couple of weeks, while others take several months.
You can check up-to-date estimates as to how long your application will take to get processed using the Canadian government’s application processing time checker.
What to Expect After You Apply
After you submit your application for your Temporary Work Visa, you will likely have to give your biometric information.
You will normally have to make an appointment at a Canadian visa office (or Visa Application Centre) in order to do this. There are several VACs located internationally.
During your appointment, they will typically collect the following information from you:
- Name, date of birth, and other personal details as listed on the biographic data page of your passport or travel document
- Your fingerprints
- A digital photograph of you
You may also be asked to attend an interview with Canadian officials in your country, attend a medical exam, or to send more information or documents if required.
The Canadian government will then process your application and check if all the necessary documents have been included.
If your application is incomplete, it will be returned to you without being processed.
If your application is approved, you will get your original documents back and an approval letter confirming your eligibility to work in Canada. You will also receive a TRV in your passport when you get it back from the application processing process, if you require a TRV to travel to Canada.
If you need an eTA to travel to Canada, the eTA number that is linked to your passport will be included in your letter of approval.
You won’t get your actual work permit until you are at the border.
What to Expect at the Canadian Border
The Canadian border services officer will check your identity to make sure that your are the same person who was approved to travel to Canada.
You’ll need to tell the border services officer that you’re in Canada to work. You must also be prepared to show your supporting documents when asked. These might include things such as your offer of employment number, your employer’s Labour Market Impact Assessment, or proof that you meet the requirements of the job.
If you enter Canada at certain airports, your fingerprints will be checked automatically at a primary inspection kiosk.
If you enter Canada at smaller airports and all land ports of entry, your fingerprints may be checked if you’re referred to a secondary inspection.
You must also:
- Convince the officer that:
- You meet Canada’s entry requirements
- You’ll leave Canada at the end of your approved stay
- Have valid immigration medical exam results (if you needed an exam)
The officer will then make the final decision whether to issue you with a work permit and allow you to enter Canada.
Once the border services officer has checked your documents and confirms that you can enter Canada, they will print the actual work permit for you.