For six consecutive years, Canada has ranked first in the world in Quality of Life. Safe and multicultural, the nation promises a friendly environment to foreign nationals. The public health system is well-developed, and public education is of a high standard. It has some of the most sustainable cities in the world as well.

Canada is economically stable, affordable, and with good job prospects. The nation is known for income equality as well. It’s no surprise if you’re planning to start a career in the country.

However, you may need to secure a work visa when entering Canada as a foreigner. This article can help you do just that.

Do I need a work visa in Canada?

If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you need to apply for a Canadian work visa if you wish to live and work in the country. You may be exempted from it if your job is any of the following:

  • Athlete or coach
  • Religious worker
  • Emergency service provider
  • Media or film crew
  • Short-term worker
  • Student working part-time

The Canadian government website has a full list of exempted occupations. However, you must note that there are still additional criteria for this work visa exemption.

Check Also: Programs in Canada for International Students

What are the requirements to apply for a work visa in Canada?

A Canadian work visa or permit allows non-Canadian citizens to engage in paid activity within the country. These are the two types:

  • Employer-specific work permits – it is issued per specific job, employer, and duration of work
  • Open-work permits – allows you to work for any Canadian company as long as eligible or legal

There are certain eligibility requirements when applying for a work permit in Canada. Regardless of the type of work permit, if you’re applying from outside Canada you must:

  • prove that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires
  • have no criminal record
  • not work for ineligible employers
  • not work in the adult entertainment industry
  • be in good health

If you’re applying from within Canada, you must:

  • have a valid study permit or eligible for a post-graduate work permit
  • hold a temporary resident valid for six more months
  • be currently applying for permanent residence
  • be a trader, investor, or professional of Canada – US – Mexico Agreement

In addition to eligibility conditions, there are documents you need to submit to a Canadian embassy when applying for a work visa. These are:

  • Visa application form
  • Document checklist (IMM 5488)
  • Valid passport or travel document
  • Two recent photographs
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of no criminal record
  • Proof of sufficient financial means
  • Proof of relationships, if applying with family (They have to submit separate applications)
  • Proof of education (Academic records, diploma, and certificates)
  • Proof of professional skills or work experience
  • Receipt from paying visa fees
  • Proof of employment (Labour Market Impact Assessment/LMIA letter or an offer of employment)

Your proof of employment can be one of two types. What you’ll need depends on your occupation.

For most jobs, the LMIA is a document issued by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that permits employers to hire foreigners. An offer of employment is for LMIA-exempt foreign workers, which includes intra-company transferees, technical professionals, and creative workers.


Steps on Applying for a Work Visa in Canada

Before you launch your application, you should know which type of work permit is for you and that you can allocate enough time before your intended travel date to Canada.

Note that the processing time for Canadian visas is between one to nine months or more for special cases. After you’ve applied, you can visit the Canadian government page to check processing times.

To begin your application for your work visa in Canada, follow the steps below:

1. Gather your documents

Gather the required documents listed above. You can also follow this document checklist provided by the Canadian government website, which you need to include in your Canadian work visa application, too. Depending on where you are from, some Canadian migration offices may ask for additional documents.

These documents must be in English or French. If not, they should have a translated version by certified translators (or with an affidavit of a translator).

2. Fill out the application form

Access the visa application form. You can download and print the form or answer it electronically, which is more recommended. You will input correct personal information, contact information, passport details, national identity, languages, employment details, and information on your education and employment background.

Fill out all sections and write “Not Applicable or NA” for sections not suitable to you.

You can read this guide to check if your application package is complete.

Afterward, you must sign and date your application form. Your accomplished form must have a barcode page that is pertinent when Canadian authorities review your application.

3. Pay the fees

You may need to pay three separate fees to move your application forward. These are the application processing fee, an open work permit holder fee if applicable, and a biometric fee if required. An open work permit is requested when you don’t want to be tied to a single employer. For the biometric fee, you can find out if you need to provide biometrics here.

The fee for a work permit application is CAD 155 (USD 120), an open work permit holder fee is an additional CAD 100 (USD 78), and a biometric fee is CAD 85 (USD 66).

Only the open work permit holder fee is refundable if ungranted. Fees can change anytime and depend on the current conversion rate. You can pay online or at Canadian migration offices.

4. Submit your application

Once your application package is complete and you have paid the fees, you can submit your application. You can submit it online or send it to a Canadian Work Visa Application Center, embassy, or consulate in your country of residence.

An officer will review your documents, including the original passport you submitted. They may conduct an interview if deemed necessary and will send a letter specifying the schedule.

If your petition is approved, you will receive your documents back as well as a letter of introduction to confirm your application. You will receive your work permit at the port of entry to Canada.


I hope that this article on getting a work visa in Canada was helpful! If you are interested in studying in Europe, make sure to check out Available Programs in Canada for International Students.

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