How to Get a Work Permit in Canada

March 31, 2023


  • Wesley Allan

Canada is a country loaded with rich working opportunities. With its constantly growing industries, aging population, and expanding skill requirements, Canada needs more international workers than ever. Working in Canada is famous due to the high salaries, fantastic workers' rights, friendly work culture, fantastic career growth opportunities, and many benefits. With so many perks, it's no wonder internationals are flocking to take the next step in their careers in Canada.

You need a work permit to work in Canada. Fortunately, provided you fulfill the eligibility criteria and follow every application step correctly, it is relatively easy to get one. As a result, work permits in Canada are on the rise. According to the Canadian government website, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada's immigration department issued approximately 756,000 work permits in 2022. This was over three times as many as in 2021. Here's a quick introduction to the Canadian work permit and application process:

However, although IRCC is increasing the number of internationals allowed to work in Canada, you are still guaranteed to be one of them. You must fulfill all the IRCC eligibility requirements and follow the application process.

To help you with this process, here is how to get a work permit in Canada.

How to Get a Work Permit in Canada

How to Get a Work Permit in Canada

Step 1: Determine Which Work Permit You Need

Before you start your process, it's vital to ensure you know which of Canada's work permits you require. Canada has two work permits, each with different requirements and application processes. They are as follows:

The Open Work Permit

An open work permit is a type of work permit that is not job-specific, meaning that you can work for any Canadian employer you want over a specified period. This type of work permit does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada or proof that an employer has submitted an offer of employment through the Employer Portal. Whether or not you can get an open work permit depends on your immigration or visa program or immigration status.

The Employer-specific Work Permit

An employer-specific work permit is only granted for a specific job in Canada. The foreign worker may only work for the employer specified on the work permit. This type of work permit is also known as a "closed" work permit. This type of work contract requires an employer to get an LMIA.

What is an LMIA?

An LMIA is a document that an employer in Canada may need to obtain before hiring a foreign worker. An LMIA aims to assess the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market. The assessment is conducted by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to ensure that hiring a foreign worker will not take work away from Canadian workers.

A positive LMIA will show a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job.

Step 2: Land a Job in Canada

The most crucial step when acquiring a Canadian work permit is to have a job. You can only get a closed work permit for Canada if you have a job in Canada for a Canadian employer.

While there are many ways to land a job in Canada, here is a four-step breakdown to help you find your Canadian job.

Step 3: Ensure Your Eligibility

To know which work permit is right, you must see which one you're eligible for. To do this, you must know the eligibility requirements for each permit. They are as follows:

Open Work Permit

You may be eligible for an open work permit if any of the following applies to you:

  • You have recently graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
    • A DLI is any Canadian tertiary learning institution allowed to enroll international students.
  • You are a destitute student.
    • You can no longer afford your tuition fees.
  • You are working under an employer-specific work permit but are currently being abused or at risk of being abused by your Canadian employer.
  • You have applied for permanent residence.
  • You depend on someone who's applied for permanent residence.
  • You are dependent on a low- or high-skilled worker.
  • Your spouse or common-law partner is an international student.
  • Your spouse or common-law partner has applied to the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)
  • You are a family member of a refugee, refugee claimant, or protected person.
  • You hold a temporary resident visa.
  • You participate in special work permit programs like the Working Holiday or International Co-op programs.
  • You are under an unenforceable removal order.

Closed Work Permit

You must meet several requirements to qualify for a Canadian work permit.

  • You must have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
  • Your employer must obtain an LMIA
  • You must prove you meet the job offers requirements, such as education, work experience, and language proficiency.
  • You must pass a medical exam.
  • You must not be inadmissible to Canada for criminality, security, or health reasons.

If you’re unsure if you are all under any open work permit criteria or if you fulfill the closed work permit requirements, the best way to ensure this is to utilize an immigration professional like a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). An RCIC can evaluate your situation, help you determine your current eligibility, and help you strategize ways to improve your eligibility.

Step 4: Source Your Documentation

Once you know which visa you’re eligible for, the next step is to ensure you have all the documentation you need before creating your online accounts or filling out application forms. We recommend this because if you have issues sourcing or validating any documentation, you have more time to sort out those issues. The documentation required is as follows:

  • LMIA number from the employer if the job requires an LMIA.
    • You do not need this if you apply for an open work permit.
  • Proof that your employer has submitted an offer of employment through the employer portal.
  • An employment contract or job offer letter.
  • Proof that you are certified, accredited, or qualified to work in the job they want.
  • Two passport-sized photographs.
  • A copy of a valid passport or travel document.
  • A copy of your marriage certificate, if applicable.

Once you have your documentation, you can begin the actual application process.

Step 5: Create Your Online Account

Once you have your documentation, you can create an account on the IRCC website. Once you create your account, complete the following application forms.

  • Application for Work Permit made Outside of Canada (IMM 1295) (if applicable)
  • Family Information (IMM 5707)
  • Statutory Declaration of common law union (IMM 5409)
  • Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)

If the foreign worker is applying from outside Canada, there may be additional visa office requirements depending on the country or territory they are applying from.

Step 6: Pay Your Fees and Submit Your Application

After completing and submitting your forms and documentation, the next step is paying your fees.

The fees for a Canadian Work Permit are as follows:

Fees $CAN
Work permit – per person 155

Work permit – per group of 3 or more performing artists

Open work permit holder fee 100

To restore your work permit status


Once you’ve paid your fees, you must submit proof of payment with your application. If your application is successful, you will get your work permit. This process can range between 5 and 62 weeks, depending on your country of origin, so ensure you know how long your process will take so you can prepare accordingly. Learn more about how long your IRCC processing time is here.

One of the best ways to guarantee you are effectively prepared before you begin your application is to work with a professional immigration consultant with years of experience working with the Canadian immigration system. Our RCICs have helped hundreds of hopeful applicants find a bright new home in Canada. Consult an RCIC to determine how to maximize your chances of working in Canada today.

What is Working in Canada Like?

What is Working in Canada Like?

Working life is a significant part of identity for most Canadians, and they often talk about what they do when asked to describe themselves. If you consider moving to Canada, working will be a big part of your life.

Canada has the 10th largest economy in the world and is known for its economic freedom.

Canadians pay a high tax rate, so when you receive your first paycheque, you might be surprised by how much is deducted. However, some of it might return to you when you submit your tax return. However, one thing that makes working in Canada unique is receiving two bi-weekly paychecks instead of one monthly check.

Canadians also have casual Fridays every Friday and multiple short daily breaks instead of one more extended one. However, this has proven to keep morale and job satisfaction relatively high in Canada.

Employers in Canada prioritize skilled foreign workers, preferably recent graduates from universities, colleges, and trade schools. According to Statistics Canada, 93% of recent graduates in Canada find a job in their chosen field two years after completing their studies. 

Often, professions are regulated differently depending on the province, which means that if you move, the provincial government may reassess your credentials. However, from a purely financial perspective, Canadian workers generally have a high quality of life.

Canada's cost of living and salaries vary widely, depending on your province, level of employment, and occupation.

Take Your Career to the Next Level in Canada

Take Your Career to the Next Level in Canada

Now that you know how to start your career in Canada, it’s time to start the process. The best way to do this is through an RCIC. An RCIC can fully evaluate you to ensure your eligibility for your visa, set up your online profile, fill out your application forms, help you source and verify your documentation, represent you with certain government authorities, and provide you with the help and support you need throughout your application process.


How to Get a Work Permit in Canada

How do I Know if My Job Offer is Legitimate?

It is crucial to verify the authenticity of a Canadian job offer to avoid falling victim to job offer scams. One way to spot a fake job offer is to look for misspellings or grammatical errors in the letter. A legitimate job offer should not contain any errors, as English and French are the official languages of Canada. Another way to verify a job offer is to check the company's details on the letterhead, including registration and contact number, which you should verify online.

If the person you are dealing with is working from a free email address such as, it could be a red flag. You should also verify the job letter through official government authorities like IRCC and ESDC.

For example, suppose a recruiter mentions that you must pay for training to get a job in Canada. In that case, they're likely not a recruiter, as no Canadian recruiter or company will ever ask you to pay for mandatory training. If an agent asks you to send money in exchange for a job in Canada, stop any further communication and report them to the authorities immediately.

To ensure that a Canadian job offer is legitimate, it is vital to research the company. Finding information online should be easy if the company is legitimate, including a company website and customer or employee reviews.

It is also important to be wary of false promises. If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Finally, if you suspect you have received a fake job offer, you can report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

What Jobs are in Demand in Canada?

Canada’s a massive country with a vast, diverse economy. As a result, various in-demand occupations differ depending on where you live. However, here is a full breakdown of Canada’s top in-demand jobs and how to get started.