A work permit is a written authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to work in Canada that is issued to a person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. A work permit is usually only limited to a specific job and length of time
To be able to work temporarily in Canada, you must first meet the general requirements for entering Canada.
Not all jobs require a work permit. Please check the CIC website for a list of jobs that are exempted from requiring a work permit. If the job you want to apply for is not on this list, you will need a work permit, even if you are doing unpaid work.
If you are the citizen of a country that requires a temporary resident visa to enter Canada, you will still need to apply for visa, even if you do not need a work permit.
In most cases, an employer in Canada will need to give you a written job offer or employment contract before you can apply for a work permit. You will also need to show proof that you meet all the requirements for the job offer.
In most cases, if you need a work permit, you will also require a written confirmation from Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC) that your employer is allowed to hire a foreign worker to fill the position. This is called a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
A positive LMIA means that the employer has tried but has not succeeded in finding a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position, that the job offer is genuine and that the employer has met commitments to temporary foreign workers in the past. It is your employer’s responsibility to get this LMIA.
After an LMIA has been obtained by the employer, you need to apply for a work permit from CIC. Your employer must provide a copy of the positive LMIA for you to include in your work permit application. You can apply by mail or through the CIC website.
The work permit only authorizes you to work in Canada and does not allow you to leave and re-enter Canada. Thus, if you are from a country that requires a temporary resident visa, you must also apply for a visa, along with your work permit.
The role of the TFWP (Temporary Foreign Worker Program) is to help employers fill temporary gaps in Canada’s labour market, and as such, most temporary foreign workers are limited to working in Canada for four years before having return to their home country.
However, some workers who initially came to fill a temporary vacancy can transition to permanent residence if they meet certain requirements. For instance, the Canadian Experience Class is open to foreign nationals who have worked full time in Canada as trades people or in managerial or professional occupations and meet other requirements.
Other foreign workers may qualify through the Provincial Nominee Programs for permanent residence in Canada.
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