Are you interested to work in Canada? If you are not, let us start with a few reasons why you should be.

  • Canada ranks high in the world in offering opportunities in modern technologies that attract IT professionals and computer scientists.
  • With a valid work permit, you can bring in your spouse or common-law partner also to work in Canada.
  • Canada has government-funded healthcare for residents on offer.
  • Companies in Canada offer healthcare plans for employees that are affordable to them.
  • Pregnant women get benefits that are also made available to women who have given birth to a child or adopted one.
  • The cost of living in Canada is so affordable when compared to other developed countries.
  • You will find a rich confluence of people from different parts of the world bringing in their own cultural flavors and an interesting variety of talent.
  • Canada is a country that’s high on the Human Development Index.

That should have made you think if you are good enough to be sought as a professional to work in Canada. Well, to determine your chances of moving to Canada for work, you will need to check out whether your qualifications, work experience, and skillsets are in demand in the country.

You can go online and get your eligibility checked for a Canada work visa. If you are confident that you are, the next step is to understand how to get a work permit.

About Canada work permit

There are 4 ways in which work permits roll out in Canada:

  • Work permits for temporary workers
  • Work permits for business people
  • Work permits for students
  • Work permits for caregivers (via the Live-In Caregiver Program)

Note that before you decide to apply for a work permit, make sure you need one.

Work permits for temporary workers

Basically, these are Canadian work permits for those who are meant to stay and work in Canada for a specific period. However, this permit can be extended and the conditions of work can be changed too.

Types of work permit

Open work permit

The open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada with exceptions that are:

  • An employer who is listed as ineligible
  • An employer who offers adult services on a regular basis

Employer-specific work permit

As the name suggests, this work permit allows you to work for a specific employer with whom you will have drawn an agreement on work conditions. The agreement will expressly include:

  • The name of the employer
  • The duration of your work
  • Where you can work
Eligibility requirements for applicants

To be eligible to apply for a work permit, you:

  • Must prove to an immigration officer that you intend to leave Canada upon the expiry of your work permit
  • Must obey the law of the land and steer clear of any record of criminal activity
  • Must be healthy and have a medical exam done if required
  • Mustn’t work on any plan to work for an ineligible employer
  • Must show that you have sufficient money to take care of yourself as well as your family members while staying in Canada and returning to the home country
  • Mustn’t be a threat to Canada’s security
  • Must submit to the immigration officer any other document they require so that you can prove yourself eligible to enter the country

You can apply online for a temporary work permit.

Work permits for businesspeople

If you are to arrive in Canada to do business, you have to do it under a free trade agreement. You also have to qualify under one of the following agreements:

  • CUSMA – Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement
  • GATS – General Agreement on Trade in Services
  • FTAs – Other Free Trade Agreements


With CUSMA, citizens of the US, Canada, and Mexico can have quick entry into each other’s countries for investment or temporary business.

People who arrive via CUSMA don’t require an LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment).

Businesspeople are to adhere to the general rules for entry into Canada temporarily. 4 groups of people can come under CUSMA:

  • business visitors
  • intra-company transferees
  • professionals
  • traders and investors


With GATS, Canada made it easier for businesspeople overseas to access the services market in Canada. GATS applies to service providers from over 140 nations that are WTO members.

GATS covers 4 types of businesspeople:

  • professionals
  • business visitors
  • intra-company transferees

People who enter Canada via GATS have no need for an LMIA. Neither do business visitors (who aren’t the same as business people) have to get a work permit.

Other FTAs

Here are some of the other FTAs:

  • the Canada-Chile FTA
  • the Canada-Colombia FTA
  • the Canada-Peru FTA
  • the Canada-Korea FTA

These are designed on the model presented by CUSMA. That makes it easier for business people between countries for short periods.

The rules are much like what CUSMA has. These FTAs cover individuals like:

  • business visitors
  • intra-company transferees
  • professionals
  • traders and investors
Work permits for students

Yes, you can work in Canada while you are studying there. You can even get your spouse or common-law partner to procure a Canadian work permit as a student pursuing a course.

What’s more, while studying, you can work temporarily or choose to stay in Canada permanently after your graduation.

Your options

Work on campus

If your Canada study permit allows you to work on-campus or off-campus, you are eligible to work on your school campus sans a work permit. However, you will have to meet these conditions:

1. You are a post-secondary student studying a full-time course at either of the following:

  • A public post-secondary school (viz. a university, college, or CEGEP in Quebec)
  • A private school of college-level in Quebec operating under the same rules as public schools as well as is a minimum 50% funded by grants from the government
  • A private school in Canada that can award degrees legally subject to provincial law

2. You have a study permit deemed valid

3. You have a SIN (Social Insurance Number)

Work off-campus

When it comes to working off-campus, as an international student, you and your employer have to be sure that you are eligible to work off-campus without a work permit.

Also, you will be permitted to work only after your study program commences.

Eligibility requirements
  1. You must be a full-time student at a DLI (Designated Learning Institution)
  2. You must be enrolled in either of
  • a post-secondary vocational, academic, or professional training program
  • a vocational training program of secondary-level (just for Quebec)

3. Your study program must be

  • a minimum of 6 months in duration
  • leading to a diploma, a degree, or a certificate · You must have started with your study in Canada

4. You must have a SIN (Social Insurance Number)

If you’re a part-time student, you must meet the following criteria to work off-campus in addition:

You’re studying only part-time because:

  • It’s the last semester of your study program and you are in no need to take up a load of a full course in order to finish your program
  • You were a full-time student in your Canadian study program up until your last semester

In case you are on authorized leave from your studies or are changing schools as well as not studying, you won’t be eligible to work off-campus.

Work permits for caregivers

If you are a caregiver, options are available to you to arrive in Canada and become a Canada PR visa holder if not working temporarily.

Now, you need to be aware of processing delays that happen to Canada PR applications, due to the issues related to COVID-19.

Important things to note

You have to always hold a valid temporary resident status throughout the period you work in Canada. You have to apply for either of the following:

  • An extension of your work permit before its expiry
  • A change in the conditions of the work permit before its expiry

If you applied for a new work permit, you can keep working through the time taken for the final decision to arrive.

The Live-In Caregiver Program is currently closed. No new applicants are admitted

Is IELTS required for Canada Work Visa?

IELTS is mandatory for anyone if they are applying for Canada PR Visa. Your IELTS score will have a good influence on your CRS score in Express Entry. Thus, it is not possible to get the Canada Work Visa without passing in the IELTS test with the required bands.

What are the documents required for Canada Work Visa?

An overseas worker applying for Canada Work Visa must collate all the required documents from the employer. They will also need the below forms and documents:

  • A valid Passport or Travel document
  • 2 photos along with photos of family members who are accompanying
  • Proof that you fulfil the requirements of the prospective job in Canada
  • Evidence of available funds
  • If required, Certificat D’Acceptation du Quebec
  • Evidence of relationships with Common-law partner, Spouse, and Children
  • Completed application form IMM 1295 for Work Visa applied outside Canada
  • Completed form IMM 5488 Document Checklist
  • Completed form IMM 5645 Family Information
  • Completed form Schedule One –TRV/ Temporary Resident Visa Application
  • Completed form IMM 5409 Legal Statement of Common-law Union
  • Completed form IMM 5476 for Use of a Representative *

* Note: You must complete this form only if a Representative will conduct business on your behalf. It must also be completed by all dependent children above 18 years who will be using a Representative.

How can I get Open Work Permit in Canada?

Canada Open Work Permit is offered to an overseas national only through one of the LMIA – Labour Market Impact Assessment exemptions. They can apply for the Open Work Permit at a port of entry outside Canada. The application can also be submitted after arrival to Canada according to the requirements of the program. 

In most of the cases, the Open Work Permit fee has to be paid along with the Work Permit fee.

There are three categories of open work permits:

  1. Unrestricted open work permit
  2. Occupation restricted open work permit
  3. Restricted work permit

The unrestricted open work permit allows a foreigner to travel to Canada and work there on any job for any employer and at any place. In the occupation restricted open work permit the person can work for any employer but only in a specified job. With a restricted work permit, the individual can change the   employer but not the place of work.

How can I get Work Permit for Canada from India?

Canada Work Visa is offered to an overseas national who intends to work in Canada. They must not be a Canada PR Visa holder or Citizen. This is mandatory for working in Canada irrespective of the employer living in Canada or not.

Canada Work Permit application from India requires verification from the labour market in Canada. It is known as the LMO – Labour Market Opinion. The application for Work Visa can be submitted only after getting positive LMO.

The Canada Work Visa process involves 2 stages. In the first stage, the employer in Canada must get approval from the Government of Canada to hire overseas workers. In the second step, the designated employee must apply for obtaining the Work Visa after getting permission.

How is the Work Permit application processed?
  • The application is checked to ensure it has all the necessary documents. Incomplete applications are sent back.
  • You may need to undergo a medical exam which can add up to three months to the processing time.
  • The processing time can vary based on the country
  • You might also need to give your biometrics with the application
  • An officer will check the credentials of the employer who has hired you
  • An officer will check if you qualify for a work permit
  • After approval of your application you will get a letter giving you permission to work in Canada
  • You must take this letter when you leave for Canada
  • You will get your Work Permit on arrival in Canada
  • It will have details of the type of work you will do, mention the employer and the place and duration of your work
Can the spouse or common law partner and the dependent of a work permit holder work in Canada?

Yes, in most cases, they can work in Canada. They will need a work permit to work in the country. However, they must individually apply for the work permit. In some cases, they can also apply for an open work permit which allows them to apply for any job with any employer. The employer must get an LMIA to employ the person. The spouse dependent work permit will be processed in 1 to 3 months.

What are the benefits of having a spouse dependent visa?
  1. Your spouse can work full time in Canada.
  2. Your spouse will not be required to clear the IELTS
  3. Your spouse can start working as soon as they arrive in Canada
  4. There is no minimum work experience required to file for a spouse dependent work permit
  5. Your spouse can stay with you as long as your visa is valid
When can one apply for a spouse dependent work permit?

You can apply for spouse dependent work permit as soon as you get your study/work permit in Canada. You will get them approximately around 15 days from arrival.

What is an open work permit?

The visa is not job-specific, so applicants are required to meet similar requirements as applicants for other types of job visas. These include not needing the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an offer letter from an employer who has paid the compliance fee.  However not everyone is eligible for the open work permit visa.

Who is eligible for the open-work permit?

Individuals including foreigners who need a job to support themselves

  • Applicants for PR visa
  • Dependent family members of these applicants
  • Spouses of skilled worker residents
  • Spouses of foreign students
  • Foreign nationals currently in Canada whose work permit will soon expire and have applied for permanent residence
  • Refugees, protected persons, and their relatives
  • Participants in working holiday programs
  • International students who completed their post- secondary education in Canada

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