How to Get a Canadian Work Visa in 2021

May 4, 2021


  • Kayla Peters

Canada is welcoming over 1.2 million immigrants in the next three years, so why not be one of them? Canada has over 100 immigration programs to aid immigrants in moving to Canada. One of the immigration pathways is the Canadian work visa.

Getting a visa to work in Canada is known to be tough, however, it does not have to be. In this article, you will discover how to get a Canadian work visa in 2021. There are several ways to obtain a work permit as there is more than one type of work visa available.

Let’s explore the different ways to get a Canadian work visa.

Canadian Work Permits


The first thing anyone should know before applying for a work visa is that there are two types. They are primarily known as open work permits and employer-specific permits. An open work permit will allow an individual to work for any employer in Canada, as long as the employer is listed as eligible. One can only get an open work permit under strict conditions.

Open Work Visa

An open work permit allows you to have any job in Canada concerning the employer or location in Canada. It also exempts you from needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA is a document that proves there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident that is willing or able to work in a specific position in Canada, which ultimately allows an employer to hire a foreign worker.

Who Can Apply for an Open Work Permit?

There are very few cases in which one can apply for this visa. A very popular program used by employers because of the simple and quick process is called the International Mobility Program (IMP). This program allows employers to hire a temporary worker without an LMIA through a designated portal known as the Employer Portal.

The International Mobility Program serves Canada’s broader economic and cultural interests. A few of these interests are the Post-Graduation Work Permit and the Working Holiday Visa.

Canada Working Holiday Visa

The Working Holiday Visa is a temporary open work permit that can be valid anywhere between 12 and 24 months. The validity varies depending on the country of origin. This program is only available to citizens of 35 countries, who have a youth mobility agreement in place with Canada. This allows young individuals to live and work in Canada.

How to Apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Canada

Anyone who wants to apply for the visa needs to become a candidate in one of the IEC pools. There are four steps to this process.

Step 1:

Answer the ‘ Come to Canada’ questionnaire that will roughly take around 10 minutes. The questions asked will generally be about:

  • country of citizenship
  • country of permanent residence
  • country of residence
  • student status.

    Step 2:

    If successful the applicant needs to complete the online IEC profile. This includes sharing contact details, full name, place and date of birth. The profile may be exited at any time as the information is saved. It does, however, need to be completed within 60 days so as to not start over again.

    Step 3:

    Wait for the random selection draw to take place. If an applicant receives an invitation, it needs to be complete within 10 days of receiving it.

    Step 4:

    After the invite has been accepted, applicants will need to apply for a work permit submitting completed forms, documents and make payment within 20 days.

    A decision is usually made within eight weeks after the application is submitted.

    Applicants will need the following to meet the work visa requirements:

    Post-Graduate Worker Permit

    • be between the ages of 18 and 30 (35) years old;
    • Have a valid passport or travel document;
    • Have a minimum of CAD $2,500 in funds;
    • Have health insurance to cover your full stay in Canada;
    • Are admissible to Canada;
    • Have a round trip ticket or sufficient funds to buy a ticket home;
    • Are not travelling with dependents; and
    • Are a citizen of one of the 35 participating countries.

    The Post-Graduate Worker Permit (PGWP) is an incredible way for students who have graduated from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) to obtain an open work visa. Once received, a post-graduate student is free to work in Canada under any employer and in any city. They are also free to change jobs as they wish.

    This visa can be valid for up to three years, all depending on the length of the study program. Not only is the Post-Graduate Worker Permit a great way of getting a work visa but it is also a great way of gaining valuable Canadian work experience. This may then lead to Canadian permanent residency.

    Am I Eligible for a Post-Graduate Permit?

    Graduates will need to send applications for the PGWP within 180 days after getting their final marks. The criteria to qualify for the work visa are as follows:

    • Complete a study program (degree, diploma, or certificate) at a DLI for at least eight months;
    • Been a full-time student in Canada for each semester; and
    • Graduated from a public post-secondary school (college, trade/technical school/university; or
    • Graduated from a Canadian private school that provides degrees under provincial law (as long as it leads to a degree as authorized by the province).

    Applicants will also need the following supporting documents:

    • an official letter from your DLI confirming that you have completed your study program;
    • an official transcript or copy from your institution’s website;
    • Give your biometrics if you haven’t already done so;
    • Medical exams results;
    • Police clearance certificate.

    Important to note: Ensure the passport is valid for the length of the PGWP, if not applicants will have to apply on paper to extend the work permit.

    The two programs mentioned above are really great ways to get a Canadian work visa in 2021 and begin your Canadian journey.

    Employer-Specific Work Visa

    The chances of getting an employer-specific visa, which is also known as a closed work visa, are a lot more likely. This work permit allows individuals to work under specific conditions on the work permit, as a foreign national.

    The limitations to an employer-specific work visa for Canada can include restrictions such as the name, contract period and location of the employer you can work for.

    One way you can get an employer-specific work visa is through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

    Temporary Foreign Worker Program


    The Temporary Foreign Worker Program comes as a solution to many Canadian employers. This is because the program allows them to temporarily hire foreign nationals that will fill any labour shortages in Canada, bringing new skills and knowledge along with them.

    The Global Talent Stream and the Caregivers stream.

    Global Talent Stream

    The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a service to help employers gain access to highly skilled global talent to allow expansion within the Canadian workforce and be competitive globally. It is also for employers filling any in-demand positions on the Global Talent Occupations List.

    The Global Talent Stream has two categories. They are as follows:

    Category A

    For candidates who have been referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of the stream’s designated partners.

    The criteria for category A:

    1. Have a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
    2. You must have a job in Canada
    3. Must prove that you will leave Canada after your work permit expires
    4. Prove that you can finance your stay and your family’s stay in Canada and that you have enough funds to go back to your home country
    5. Have a clean criminal record
    6. Prove that you are not a threat to the national security of Canada
    7. Be in good health

    Category B

    For employers seeking to hire highly-skilled foreign workers to fill positions for in-demand jobs in Canada found on the Global Talent Occupations List.

    The occupations for category B include:

    1. Computer network technicians
    2. Digital media designers
    3. Information systems analysts and consultants

    The Global Talent Stream is preferred by employers as it is quick and has a processing time of as short as two weeks!

    In-home Caregivers

    Under the Temporary Worker Program, families can hire foreign caregivers to provide care in private residences, to children or seniors and anyone with certified medical needs when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.

    Families or private household employers will be able to hire eligible foreign workers, on a live-in for 2 categories of in-home workers, which include:

    1. Caregivers for children

    • Children under 18 years of age

    This category could include positions such as:

    • Child care provider, live-in caregiver, nanny (NOC 4411)

    2. Caregivers for people with high medical needs

    • elderly persons, 65 years of age or over
    • people with disabilities, a chronic or terminal illness

    This category could include positions such as:

    • Registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse (NOC 3012);
    • Licensed practical nurse (NOC 3233);
    • Attendant for persons with disabilities, home support worker, live-in caregiver, personal care attendant (NOC 4412)

    Note: Foreign caregivers working in Canada may be eligible for permanent residency, provided they meet IRCC requirements.

    Why Seeking Professional Help for Work Visas is Important

    The documentation and processes involved in successfully obtaining a work permit tend to be overwhelming and complex. No one wants to miss the opportunity to work and live in Canada because of small technicality that could have been avoided.

    With the help of our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), it ensures that the smallest detail will be taken care of, making the process of how to get a Canadian work visa in 2021, a little less complicated.