How You Can Work in Canada

June 28, 2023


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

Canada has long been a desirable destination for individuals seeking new opportunities and a higher quality of life. With its strong economy, diverse job market, and welcoming immigration policies, it's no wonder that many people aspire to work in Canada.

If you've been dreaming of pursuing your professional goals in this beautiful country but need to know how do you get a work permit in Canada, we will provide you with a guide on how to make it a reality.

In preparation for taking steps to work in Canada, here is a compilation of information about everything you need to know about how to work in Canada.

Types of Canadian Work Permits

To work in Canada requires a work permit. The work permit you require will depend on the job offer and the line of work. As a requirement for working in Canada, the Canadian government allows you to explore several options when applying for a work permit in Canada.

Most importantly, you want to ensure you're working for a legitimate Canadian employer who complies with the list of authorized employers in Canada.

Before you embark on your journey to work in Canada, it's important to understand how to work in Canada using the different types of work permits available. The two main categories are employer-specific work permits and open work permits.

Find out more about Canada's different work permits.

Employer-specific Work Permit

An employer-specific work permit is exactly what it sounds like - it allows you to work in Canada but you must work for a specific employer. This type of permit requires a job offer from a Canadian employer with a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Open Work Permit

An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada and change jobs at any time, with a few exceptions. This type of permit is ideal for individuals who wish to explore different job opportunities or have yet to secure a specific job offer. It provides greater flexibility and gives you valuable work experience in various industries.

Learn how to apply for a Canadian work permit in 2023.

What Is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

The LMIA ensures that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact the Canadian job market. If you're applying for an employer-specific work permit in Canada, you will need to about the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

An LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), which assesses the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian job market.

To obtain an LMIA, the Canadian employer must demonstrate a genuine need for a foreign worker and that no qualified Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available for the job. The employer must also provide details about the job position, including the duties, qualifications, and wages. Please note it is important to find out which job does need an LMIA.

What Is a National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code?

To streamline the immigration process, each occupation in Canada is assigned a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code. This code helps the government categorize and classify various job positions based on their industry, skill level, and job duties.

When applying for a Canadian work permit, you must determine the NOC code that corresponds to your occupation.

This code will determine the eligibility requirements and whether your job is in demand in Canada. Ensuring that your job offer aligns with the NOC code requirements is crucial to increase your chances of a successful work permit application.

Who Can Apply for a Canadian Work Permit?

To work in Canada, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements vary depending on the type of work permit you are applying for and whether you are applying from inside or outside Canada.

If you are applying from outside Canada, you will generally need:

  • A job offer from a Canadian employer
  • A positive LMIA (if required)
  • To meet your chosen work permit’s the eligibility criteria

Some categories may require additional documents, such as a:

  • Valid passport
  • Medical examination
  • Biometrics

If you are applying from inside Canada, you may be eligible for certain work permit programs, such as the International Experience Class (IEC) Working Holiday Visa. This program allows young individuals from eligible countries to work and travel in Canada for up to two years.

Eligibility Requirements To Apply for a Work Permit

You must meet specific eligibility requirements to apply for a Canadian work permit. These requirements may vary depending on the work permit you are applying for. Generally, you must have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer, possess the necessary qualifications and skills, and convince the immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay. You may also need to provide documents such as a:

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of funds
  • A medical examination certificate

To be eligible for a work permit, an applicant must:

  • Show that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires
  • Prove that you have sufficient funds to care for yourself and your relatives once they arrive in Canada
  • Prove that you have no criminal record and will not threaten Canada's security - you may have to present a police clearance certificate
  • Show that you are in good physical health by producing a medical exam (where applicable)
  • Ensure that you work for a legitimate employer who does not fall under the list of ineligible employers
  • Provide the necessary documents required to prove that you are admissible to Canada (can enter Canada) and other additional documents

What are the Requirements if you Apply from Outside Canada?

If you are applying for a Canadian work permit from outside Canada, there are additional requirements you must meet. You may need to undergo a medical examination, provide biometric information, and obtain a temporary resident visa, depending on your country of citizenship. It is important to carefully review the specific requirements and procedures for your country of residence before submitting your application.

IEC Work Permits

The International Experience Class (IEC) Working Holiday Visa is a popular program that allows young individuals from participating countries to work and travel in Canada for up to two years.

This program provides an opportunity to gain valuable international work experience while exploring the beauty of Canada. Find the best destinations to visit during your IEC Working Holiday in Canada.

To be eligible for the IEC Working Holiday Visa, you must be between 18 and 35 (or 30 for some countries), have a valid passport from an eligible country, and meet other specific requirements set by the program.

Learn more about how to apply for the IEC Working Holiday Visa.

Young Professionals

The young professional's program is aimed at attracting eligible foreign youth who:

  • Received a job offer in Canada that contributes toward your professional development
  • Work for the same Canadian employer in the same location during the period of your stay in Canada

The Young Professionals category is issued an employer-specific work permit. Your job offer must be classified under TEER categories 0, 1, 2 or 3 of the NOC.

International Co-operative Program

To be eligible for the International Co-operative Program, you must:

  • Register as a student at a post-secondary institution
  • Have a job offer for an internship or work placement in Canada
  • Be required to complete your work placement or internship in to finish your studies
  • Work for your employer in the same location while living in Canada

The International Co-op (Internship) category grants an employer-specific work permit. Canadian provincial or territorial labor codes determine if your internship must be paid or not.

What Jobs in Canada Are in Demand?

Canada has a strong and diverse economy, with several industries experiencing high demand for skilled workers. Some of the in-demand jobs in Canada include healthcare professionals, IT specialists, engineers, skilled tradespeople, and educators.

The demand for these occupations is driven by population growth, technological advancements, and retirement. If you plan to work in one of these areas, you may have an advantage when applying for a Canadian work permit.

Find out more about Canada’s in-demand occupations.

How to Apply for a Canada Work Permit?

The process of applying for a Canada work permit can be complex, but it can be navigated successfully with the right guidance. Here are the general steps to follow:

  1. Determine the type of work permit you need: Employer-specific or open work permit.
  2. Obtain a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
  3. Determine if a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required.
  4. Gather the necessary documents, including a valid passport, proof of qualifications, and financial support.
  5. Submit your application online or through a visa application center.
  6. Pay the required fees and wait for the processing of your application.
  7. Attend a biometric appointment if required
  8. Await your work permit approval and prepare for your journey to Canada

The Perks of Working in Canada

To give you an idea of what working life in Canada is like, we have listed below what makes Canada the ideal country to work in.

Job Satisfaction

Working in Canada offers immense job satisfaction due to the country's strong emphasis on work-life balance and employee rights. Canadian workplaces are known for their inclusive and diverse environments, where employees are valued and respected. Additionally, Canada has strict labor laws that protect workers' rights, ensuring fair treatment and reasonable working conditions.

Competitive Salary/Wage

Canada is known for its competitive salaries and wages, often higher than in many other countries. The average monthly salary in Canada is 4,038.74 CAD while in the United Kingdom (UK) it is 3 874,48 CAD according to The cost of living is also considered, allowing individuals to live comfortably and enjoy a high quality of life.

The Canadian government sets minimum wage standards to ensure workers receive fair compensation for their labor. Canada’s competitive wage factors into its affordable cost of living relative to other industrialized nations like the United States (US).

Fair Working Hours

In Canada, the standard working hours are generally 40 per week. Overtime pay is mandated for any additional hours worked. This commitment to fair working hours allows individuals to maintain a healthy work-life balance, essential for personal well-being and productivity. It also gives you sufficient time to raise a family in Canada.

Employment Benefits

Canadian employers often provide comprehensive employee benefits to their workers. These benefits may include health insurance, retirement plans, paid vacation and sick leave, and professional development opportunities. Such benefits contribute to the overall well-being and job satisfaction of employees.

Find out more about the benefits of working in Canada.


How Long is a Work Permit Valid in Canada?

A work permit in Canada is typically valid for a specific period, depending on the type of work permit issued. It is essential to review the work permit to determine its validity period and ensure timely renewal if necessary. You can learn how to extend the validity of your Canadian work permit with this helpful guide.

How can I get PR After a Work Permit?

After obtaining a work permit and gaining relevant work experience, firefighters may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through various immigration programs, such as the Express Entry System or Provincial Nominee Programs. Meeting the eligibility criteria and having a job offer from a designated employer are critical factors in the permanent residence application process.