How to Get a Canadian Work Permit in 2023

February 13, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

Embarking on a new career in a new country is a huge step. But with all the excitement about taking your skills to an international level comes all the bureaucratic business. So before you head to that dream job in Canada, you will have to obtain a Canadian Work Visa. In this article, we show you how to apply for a Canada work permit and give you a breakdown of the pathways that will get you on your way to living and  working in the Great White North.

Do I need a Work Permit to Work in Canada?

A Canadian work permit allows you to work legally in the country. With this documentation, you can earn an income, pay your taxes, and partake in any business opportunities that may come your way. You will be required to obtain one if you do not have Canadian citizenship or permanent residency and wish to work in the country temporarily. Some people may, however, be exempt from having to have a work permit.

Types of Work Permits

There are two types of Canadian work permits - the Employer-specific work permit and the open work permit.

Employer-specific Work Permit

An Employer-specific work permit allows you to be employed in Canada, but this will have to be done according to the conditions set in your work permit. Conditions include:

  • Who you are allowed to work for
  • The length of your period of employment
  • The location you work in

Prior to making your employer-specific work permit application, you’ll have to get the following from your employer:

  • A copy of your contract of employment
  • A copy of a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) OR
  • A job offer number (for LMIA-exempt workers). To get this number, your employer must use the employer Portal.

Open Work Permit

With an open work permit, you can work for any employer in Canada. But there are exceptions. You will not be able to work for an employer who :

  • Is considered ineligible
  • has failed to comply with the IRCC conditions
  • regularly offers adult services

How to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit?

Before you apply online, ensure that you have:

  • An instruction guide help to you complete forms
  • A copy of the visa office requirements for applicants from your country
  • Access to scanner or camera
  • A valid credit or debit card

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

When applying for a work visa in Canada, you must first find out whether you are eligible to live there. Each immigration program and visa has its own set of eligibility requirements. You will most likely need a job offer from a Canadian company to qualify for a Canada work permit.

If the position you apply to requires an employer-specific work visa, you will have to get an LMIA from your employer. This must be added to your work permit application.

You may also be eligible to get permits for your spouse and dependent children, should they join you in Canada. Conditions will depend on your job level. Higher-ranked positions are more likely to have the option of open work permits for spouses and dependents.

If you want to be eligible for a Canadian work permit you must:

  • Prove to an immigration official that you will leave the country when your work permit expires
  • Demonstrate that you have sufficient funds for yourself and any dependents
  • Abide by Canadian laws
  • Have a clear criminal record
  • Prove that you are in good health
  • Steer clear of employers who are deemed ineligible
  • Provide all requested documents

Step 2: Make Sure You Know What Your Visa Options Are

The type of work permit you need will depend on the type of job you get, so make sure you understand the requirements and know whether you will need an open work permit or an employer-specific work permit.

Examples of streams for which you will get an open work permit include the International

Experience Canada’s working holiday program and the International Mobility Program. You will not need to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not required to apply for an open work visa in Canada.

You’ll need an employer-specific work permit for the IEC’s Young Professionals and International Co-op (Internship) programs. An LMIA is required for this work permit.

Step 3: Apply Online

In most cases, you will have to apply for a work permit online. You will only be able to apply on paper under the following circumstances:

  • If you have a disability makes it impossible to apply online
  • If you apply to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
  • If you are applying as a non-national resident, refugee or stateless person

When submitting a paper application, you will have to include a note stating that you are eligible to apply this way.

To apply online, create an account. You will use this to pay your fees, check your status and extend your permit.

Best Pathways For Joining the Canadian Workforce

If you still need to make up your mind about the pathway you will take to get you living and working in Canada, take a look at the option below.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is part of the Express Entry system which is a popular immigration option because of its fast processing time of as little as six months. The Federal Skilled Worker Program is geared toward people who have the qualifications, skills, or work experiences to contribute to the Canadian economy.

So how do you know if this program is for you? Let’s look at the requirements you need to meet in order to apply for the FSWP.

  • Have skilled work experience in 1 of these positions listed in the National Occupation Classification (NOC)
  • Managerial
  • Professional
  • Trade/technical occupation

Successful applicants will obtain Canadian permanent residence, which allows them to live and work in Canada.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is designed for skilled trade workers who want to become permanent residents in Canada. Here are the requirements you need to meet in order to apply for the FSTP:

Skilled work experience

You need to have skilled work experience classified under the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) categories:

  • 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

You must:

Language requirements

You must meet the required language levels for each of the following language abilities:

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

If you are still looking for options on how to get a Canadian work visa in 2023, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program may be for you. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program was developed to allow Canadian employers to hire foreign workers within a variety of job positions.

Because the TFWP was designed to help employers fill in-demand occupations, a key part of the program is applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

An LMIA proves that the position available was not able to be filled by a permanent resident or Canadian citizen. As an employer, if you wish to hire a temporary worker, the worker you wish to hire must submit a copy of the LMIA or the LMIA number along with their work permit application.

If you want to hire a foreign worker that is exempt from an LMIA you can do so through the International Mobility Program (IMP).

Apart from applying for an LMIA, you need to meet the following requirements to be able to apply through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

  • You must have a job offer in Canada
  • You must prove that you will leave Canada after your work permit expires
  • You must prove that have sufficient financial resources for your and your family’s stay in Canada and that you have enough funds to return to your home country
  • You must prove that you have a clear criminal record
  • You must be in good health

Post Graduate Work Program (PGWP)

If you have completed your studies in Canada and now you wish to start your career here, the Post Graduate Work Program could be the pathway for you.

The PGWP is designed to help foreign students who have completed a qualification from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI), live and work in Canada.

This program allows international PGWP students in Canada to receive an open work permit. This work permit will allow graduates to work full-time, part-time and be employed anywhere in Canada.

To qualify for the Post Graduation Work Permit Program, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must have completed a program of study that lasted at least 8 months and led to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • You must have studied full-time each academic session without taking time away from studies
  • For distance learning, you must have completed at least 50 percent of your program in Canada, which is calculated based on the number of courses completed in Canada
  • You must have completed at least 50 percent of your program in-person

Atlantic Immigration Program

If you can picture yourself living close to the blue waters and enjoying walks on the beach, then you should consider applying through the Atlantic Immigration Program. This program is designed for skilled workers who are seeking permanent residence in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces, namely:

  1. Newfoundland and Labrador
  2. Prince Edward Island
  3. New Brunswick
  4. Nova Scotia

The pilot is also open to foreign graduates who have completed their studies in one of these four provinces.

There are three programs within the Atlantic Immigration Program namely:

  1. The Atlantic International Graduate Program
  2. Atlantic High-Skilled Program
  3. Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program

These are the requirements you need to meet to apply for each program:

Atlantic International Graduate Program

Due to its significant success, the former Atlantic Immigration Pilot has become the Atlantic Immigration Program.

  • This program is for individuals who have attained a qualification from a publicly-funded institution in one of the Canadian Atlantic provinces
  • You will need to have lived in the province for a minimum of 16 months in the 2 years before attaining your qualification
  • You will have to take a language test, regardless of the language you completed your studies in, and
  • You must be able to prove you will be able to support yourself as well as any dependents that will be staying with you.

Atlantic High-Skilled Program

  • To apply for this program, you must have at least 1 year of experience working in management, professional or skilled job
  • You must have a foreign degree or diploma equal to a Canadian credential, for which you will need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report done
  • You will need to take an approved language test to prove you are proficient enough in English or French to live and work in Canada
  • You need to have proof of funds that meet the minimum required amount to support yourself as well as any dependents regardless of whether they are joining you in Canada or not


Is it Difficult to Get a Canadian Work Visa?

It can be complicated to obtain a Canada work permit. While you can apply for a work permit by yourself, the process is much easier if you work with an Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant who will ensure that you submit all the necessary documents correctly and guide you through the entire process.

How Long Can You Stay in Canada on a Work Visa?

The amount of time that you are allowed to stay in Canada with all extensions is no more than 4 years.

What Qualifies as Proof of Funds?

Proof of Funds usually comes in the form of a bank, security or custody statement, and can be procured from your bank or financial institution that holds your money. Bank statements are the most common document to use as proof of funds and can typically be found online or at a bank branch.

Can I Leave and Come Back to Canada if I Have a Work Permit?

Yes. However, a Canada work permit isn’t a travel document. It doesn’t give you the right to travel to Canada. Along with your permit, you need either:

Having an eTA or a visa, along with your work permit, doesn’t guarantee that you will be allowed to re-enter Canada. You must show the border services officer that you meet all the requirements before you will be able to re-enter.

Now that you know more about how to get a Canadian work visa in 2023, it’s time to apply for your visa application. We know it can be complicated and time-consuming, which is why our RCICs are here to guide you through the application process so you have a better chance of success.