Canada's work visas
Foreign workers who would like to enter Canada for work purposes must have a valid work permit or authorization to work.
The Canadian government welcomes thousands of foreign workers into the Canadian job market every year through its various work visas and permits listed below:
You will also be able to work in Canada if you immigrate using any of the routes below:
- Federal Skilled Worker program
- Canadian Experience Class
- Express Entry
- Federal Skilled Trades program
- Provincial Nominee Programs
- Self-Employed Persons Program
If you are looking to work in Quebec, please note that the province follows many of its own rules and programs, which may not align with the general rules of the Canadian immigration system. To obtain the right information on the Canadian work visas, contact an experienced immigration lawyer. Call us on +1 844 290 6312 for information or assistance.
For those looking to come to Canada as temporary workers, for example, work in the holiday period only or test the job market before committing to a full relocation, a Working Holiday visa is a great option.
The Work Holiday Program is one of the three programs under the International Experience Canada. It allows foreign nationals between 18 and 35 to come to Canada to work for up to 12 months.
This temporary work permit is not open to citizens of any country. It is open to citizens of 30 countries, including Mexico, Croatia, the United Kingdom, and Norway. To come to Canada to work with this work permit, you must have no accompanying dependents and:
- A police certificate
- Medical certificate
- Valid passport or valid travel document
- Enough funds, including CAD$2,500 at the time of you enter Canada
- Be able to get health insurance in Canada
The application process for temporary foreign worker
You may obtain the working holiday visa to become a temporary foreign worker by creating an International Experience Canada (IEC) profile, setting up a CIC account and completing the application forms.
After filing the form, your IEC profile will enter the IEC pool, and if you are lucky, your name will be drawn to receive an invitation to apply for your visa. If you receive an ITA, you must start your application within ten days and complete the process within 20 days.
There is a limit to the number of working holiday visas that are granted each year. If you are eligible, you should apply early. If you apply late in a year, all spots may have been filled.
If the IRCC approves your application, you will get a letter of introduction or port of entry letter, which you can show to an immigration officer at customs.
The Canada work permit is for some temporary foreign workers, students, business people, caregivers and agricultural workers looking to work in Canada. With this, they can work under a paid employment or employment that may not be paid but can count towards valuable work experience as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
The work permit application can be done at a point of entry, a Canadian visa office outside Canada or from inside Canada. The route you take will determine the eligibility requirements. There are general requirements that apply to all applicants, regardless of if you apply from inside Canada or not.
If you are applying to work in Quebec, the requirements differ. For example, where federal applicants will need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), Quebec applicants require a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI).
For more information on the requirements for the Canada work permit, please visit our Canada work permit page. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.
How to apply for an open work permit or employer-specific work permit
The Canadian work permit is of two types, the employer-specific work permit and the open work permit. How you apply for the Canada work permits may differ depending on the work permit you apply for.
The employer-specific or closed work permit is for applicants who have a job offer from an employer and are coming to work for just that employer in Canada. If you have an employer-specific work permit, you can only work for the approved employer during your legal stay with that visa.
Open work permits allow temporary foreign workers to work with Canadian employers that do not offer ineligible services; an open work permit holder can work with any employer. However, the open work permit is not for everyone.
Application for the temporary work permits can be done online through a My Service Canada account, at a Canadian visa office or at a point of entry. You can also pay the work permit fee online.
Your employer may need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada to ensure foreign workers do not take jobs that Canadian citizens or permanent residents can handle.
Post-Graduation Work Permit
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows those who have graduated from eligible Canadian universities or Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) to work in Canada. Only one post-graduate work permit is permitted to a holder in their lifetime.
The PGWPP helps postgraduate students obtain an open work permit and gain work experience. That may help them qualify for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class if their job falls within the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0 or skill level A or B.
This is the desired route for international students because their Canadian work experience may boost their chances when they apply for Express Entry which, if approved for permanent residence, enables them to apply for Canadian citizenship within a few years.
Not all postgraduate students can apply for a work permit. To apply for a work permit, you must hold a valid temporary resident visa or have left Canada and have graduated from an eligible DLI as a full-time student in a program that took at least eight months to get a degree, diploma or certificate.
Furthermore, they must have the authorization to study or hold a valid study permit within the last 180 days and have received a transcript and an official letter from the institution that confirms they have met the requirements to complete their program of study.
You can find out more about the full requirements and application process on our Post-Graduation Work Permit page. For help with working in Canada under the post-graduate work permit program, call us on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.
Canadian Express Entry is an online point-based immigration management system for permanent residence of skilled workers in Canada. This system is used to meet the country’s labour market needs by processing applications for these three programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class
Provinces in Canada can also recruit immigrants from the Express Entry pool through the Provincial Nominee Program to meet local needs.
The immigration Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)
The CRS evaluates Express Entry candidates based on human capital factors, finances, English/French language ability, skill transferability, education, work experience, and other criteria.
Under the CRS, a candidate is scored based on their performance and characteristics in each area.
The highest-scoring candidates are invited to apply for PR under an Express Entry program. Some of the programs have a lower CRS minimum score and, as such, may be easier to qualify for.
Requirements for Express Entry
Submitting your profile to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to be passed through the Express Entry system is the first step in immigrating to Canada permanently and becoming a permanent resident under one of the above programs.
To pass through the Express Entry selection process, you must meet some requirements. Those requirements are based on the program for which you apply. Each program has its requirements as well as an average Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
How to apply for Express Entry
The Express Entry application is made online. You are to upload your language test results and other documents and give information about yourself to create a profile in the system.
The IRCC sends invitations to the highest scoring candidates based on need. In some years, more candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence than in others. If you are ranked high in the Express Entry pool compared to other Candidates, you may receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence.
Permanent resident applicants that received ITA usually get approved as long as they meet the requirements. For more information on the requirement and application process for the Express Entry system, view our Express Entry page.
Overview of the Canada FSTP
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is one of the three federal programs under the Express Entry system. This immigration program is for foreign skilled workers with experience who wish to move to Canada permanently, that is, acquire permanent residence.
To qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program, foreign workers must meet the minimum requirements for skilled work experience, language ability, and education, as well as the other requirements that include:
- Job offer from a Canadian employer
- Adaptability to Canada
The minimum requirement for skilled work experience dictates that a foreign worker has worked in one of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) job groups and skill types that include:
- Managerial jobs
- Professional jobs
- Technical jobs and skilled trades
Like the other programs in the Express Entry system, the assessment for the Federal Skilled Worker permit is assessed using the CRS. Also, an application of a foreign worker is taken through a 100-point grid of which the pass mark is 67 points based on how well you do for the factors listed above.
Requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program
To qualify for this work permit, foreign workers must get a minimum score of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in writing, reading, listening, and speaking English or French.
Also, they must be able to show proof of your education, whether from a foreign or Canadian institution. If you have foreign education, you must have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a designated organization to show the equivalent of your education in Canada.
In addition, foreign workers must have enough money for themself and their family members to live and settle in Canada unless they already have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
Not only does a foreign worker need to have experience in one of the NOC groups, but they must also be able to prove that they performed duties set out in the occupational description in the NOC for that group.
There are other skilled work experience requirements around the duration of experience, type of work commitment, and pay. Visit our Federal Skilled Worker Program page for more information on the requirements and how to obtain this work visa.
For assistance with becoming a permanent resident and obtaining a work permit through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, call +1 844 290 6312.
Overview of the Canadian Experience Class
The Canadian Experience Class is one of the work permits managed through Express Entry. It targets skilled workers with Canadian work experience who want to become permanent residents.
Eligible applicants must have at least one year (a complete 1,560 hours) of skilled work experience in Canada while working under temporary resident status with legal authorization to work in Canada. Applicants may obtain the minimum work experience from a paid full-time job within a year (30 hours per week) or a paid part-time job within two years (15 hours per week).
Foreign nationals who worked under refugee status or were recognized as a Convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada are not qualified for the Canadian Experience Class. Also, if you worked as a student, self-employed, or worked without authorization or under another visa that is not within the temporary resident permit category, you are not eligible.
Job, education and language requirement
As with all work visas, immigrant workers must meet the required language ability levels for their job. For the Canadian Experience Class, that’s CLB 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs or CLB 5 for NOC B jobs. To be clear, the skilled work experience that qualifies for this work permit are:
- managerial jobs (skill level 0)
- professional jobs (skill type A)
- technical jobs and skilled trades (skill type B)
Although there’s no education requirement for the Canadian Experience Class, you can boost your rank in the Express Entry pool if you went to school in Canada or have an Education Credential Assessment report (ECA). The ECA shows which certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian secondary or post-secondary institution is equivalent to your foreign education.
If you have decided to acquire a Canada work permit and permanent residence through this route, visit our Canadian Experience Class page for information on how to apply to maximize your chances.
Federal Skilled Trades Program
The Federal Skilled Trades Program is a program managed through the Express Entry system that allows skilled workers who are qualified in a skilled trade to become permanent residents.
The eligible skilled trades must be under one of these groups of the NOC:
- Major Group 72, industrial, electrical and construction trades
- Major Group 73, maintenance and equipment operation trades
- Major Group 82, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production
- Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators
- Minor Group 632, chefs and cooks
- Minor Group 633, butchers and bakers
If you are unable to show that your work experience meets the description of your job as described in the NOC classification, the IRCC will refuse your application.
In addition, you must meet these requirements:
- Meet the minimum score of CLB 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB 4 for reading and writing in the approved English or French tests
- Have at least two years of paid full-time work experience (or part-time equivalent) in a skilled trade listed above within the five years before your work visa application
- Have a valid job offer of full-time employment for at least one year or a certificate of qualification in your skilled trade that was issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority
- Have enough money to settle in Canada
Like the Canadian Experience Class, there’s no education requirement. Still, you can improve your rank in the Express Entry pool if you went to school in Canada or have an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
When filling out your Express Entry profile, you will need to fill out where you plan to live in Canada, though you don’t have to settle there. However, you may need to go to the province or territory to be assessed for your trade and obtain a certificate of qualification. Each province/territory has a different process, but you can find that information on their website. Applicants in federally regulated trades can visit the website of the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.
For assistance with the Federal Skilled Trades Program or any other Canadian immigration matter, please call us on +1 844 290 6312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit our Federal Skilled Trades Program page for more information on this immigration visa.
Every Canadian province but Quebec has a Provincial Nominee Program. Provincial Nominee Programs allow provinces and territories in Canada to nominate a skilled foreign worker to apply for permanent residence. That applicant can then apply to become a permanent resident and, if approved, can immigrate to the particular province to work.
Please note that if you come to Canada with this program, you have promised to reside in that province and no other place in Canada.
Most Canadian provinces and territories have their eligibility criteria and specific nominee streams or immigration programs. To be accepted by a province, you must demonstrate that you have the required skills, education, and work experience and meet the province’s needs to contribute positively to its economy.
How to apply for a provincial nominee program
The process you take depends on the Provincial Nominee Program stream you apply for. You may need to apply online through Express Entry or a paper-based application mailed to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship office in Canada.
The non-Express Entry process takes a longer time than the Express Entry process. Regardless of which you use, you must meet the eligibility requirement for that particular stream, pass a good health check and obtain a police check certificate; this is required for everyone irrespective of the province for which you apply.
For more information or assistance with immigrating to Canada through a Provincial Nominee Program, call us on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online. We would love to help you work in Canada legally.
Provinces with program streams for foreign workers
The following provinces run Provincial Nominee Programs that target business people, skilled workers, semi-skilled workers, and students:
|New Brunswick||Newfoundland and Labrador||Northwest Territories|
|Nova Scotia||Ontario||Prince Edward Island|
Visit our Provincial Nominee Program page for more information on the program streams that these territories manage.
The Self-Employed Person Program is a work visa aimed at those who intend to establish a business in Canada to create employment for themselves.
This Canadian immigration scheme allows foreign nationals who have the ability and can prove that they can contribute to cultural activities, athletics, or farming in Canada to work in Canada without time limitations. Before applying, ensure that you meet the criteria and that the IRCC is still processing applications for the stream you apply for.
As with most immigration programs, Quebec has a Quebec Self-Employed Program with its own criteria, including a minimum net worth of $100,000 requirement, and no limit to the type of occupation, that is, it’s not limited to athletics or cultural activities like it is in the Federal Self-Employed Persons Program.
If you would like to work in Canada under the Self-Employed Person Program Page, please call us on +1 844 290 6312 to get dedicated lawyers on your case. Also, you can view our full offer and find out more about this Canada work visa on our Self-Employed Person Program Page.
Eligibility Criteria for self-employed persons
To qualify as a self-employed person, you must have two years of experience within the last five years in:
- Cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or
- Have been a self-employed person in cultural activities or athletics
In addition, you must prove that you intend to be self-employed in Canada and score at least 35 points on the selection grid that includes an assessment of your experience, age, language ability, education, and adaptability.
The selection grid determines if you will be able to make an economic contribution to Canada. You get points for meeting each criterion. For example, you get points for meeting the work experience requirement; you get even more points if you have more years of experience.
You must also be able to prove that you have sufficient funds and that you and your family members are medically fit and have a clean criminal record by taking medical exams and obtaining a police clearance certificate, respectively.
How can Total Law help?
At Total Law, we pride ourselves on ensuring that we provide a personalized service to everyone that reaches out to us. If you wish to obtain any one of the Canada work visas, we will provide reliable advice to help you choose the right one that you have the best chance of securing.
We don’t only look at the short-term but also the future. So, if your goals extend beyond just obtaining a visa to Canadian citizenship, we can also help you.
When we have discussed, and you have chosen the best work visa or permit for your exact needs and circumstances, your dedicated immigration lawyers will help you fill out all the necessary paperwork and ensure you have all the required documents and supporting evidence.
If you would like to immigrate with your spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children, we can help you and your family members enter Canada for work.
We understand that the process can be overwhelming. So, we take care of the work while giving you updates every step of the way. To obtain a Canadian work visa, get in touch today at +1 844 290 6312.
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