Steps to Streamline Your Canadian Work Visa Application

November 30, 2023


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

Canada is a great place to work. It has a good work-life balance, strong worker’s rights, and plenty of annual leave and benefits that can be awarded to you as an employee. To become a worker in Canada and be entitled to some of these benefits, you must first apply for a Canadian work visa, also referred to as a work permit.

Looking for a suitable pathway to apply for a Canada work visa and make your Canadian work dreams a reality? Learn how to streamline your Canadian work visa application with the following steps!

What is a Canada Work Visa?

A Canada work visa, also known as a work permit, is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows foreign nationals to legally work in Canada for a specific period.

It is an essential requirement for individuals who wish to move to Canada and work there temporarily. A work visa is typically tied to a specific job offer from a Canadian employer and is subject to certain conditions and restrictions.

6 Steps to Streamline Your Canadian Work Visa

To streamline your Canadian work visa application, you can follow the six steps outlined below:

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility to Apply

Before starting your Canadian work visa application process, it is crucial to determine if you are eligible to apply. The eligibility criteria may vary depending on the type of work permit and where you are from.

General Eligibility Requirements for a Canada Work Permit

The general eligibility requirements for a Canada work permit include:

  • Demonstrating to a Canadian immigration officer that you will leave Canada after the expiration of your work permit,
  • Showing you can provide for your family and yourself in Canada,
  • Having no criminal record (shown via a police clearance certificate),
  • Presenting no danger to Canada’s security,
  • Being in good health (proved via a medical exam),
  • Planning not to work for an employer on Canada’s ineligible list of businesses, and
  • Providing Canada’s immigration officers with the relevant travel documents upon entry to Canada.

Eligibility Requirements When Applying Outside Canada

If you want to apply for a work permit outside Canada, ensure to be aware of certain visa office requirements you must fulfill based on the country you are applying from. If you’re eligible, you can use the Global Skills Strategy’s two-week application process to expedite your work permit application outside Canada.

Eligibility Requirements When Applying Inside Canada

Apply for a Canadian work visa from inside Canada involves:

Eligibility Requirements When Applying at Canada’s Ports of Entry

Although we recommend applying for a work permit before traveling to Canada, you can apply at Canada’s ports of entry provided you:

  • Are eligible to obtain an electronic travel authorization (eTA),
  • Can travel to Canada without a visitor,
  • Will not be working in Canada via the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), and
  • Can apply for an open work permit or your employer can complete the requirements needed for you to receive an employer-specific work permit.

Step 2: Get in Touch with an RCIC

To navigate through the complexities of the Canadian immigration system and ensure a smooth, streamlined application process for your Canada work visa, we recommended seeking assistance from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

An RCIC is a licensed professional authorized by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) to provide immigration advice and represent clients in their visa applications.

They will provide you with the knowledge and expertise you need to navigate the Canadian work visa application process and avoid any pitfalls that may delay or result in your application being unsuccessful.

Step 3: Research Jobs Early and Find a Recruitment Company

To increase your chances of securing a job offer in Canada, it is advisable to start researching job opportunities well in advance. Look for industries and regions where there is a high demand for skilled workers.

Networking and connecting with Canadian recruitment companies can also be beneficial, as they often have access to job openings that may not be advertised publicly. Prominent recruitment companies in Canada you can contact include:

  • Robert Half Canada,
  • Randstad Canada,
  • Hays Recruitment Canada,
  • Adecco Canada, and
  • Michael Page Canada.

You can also browse through each Canadian provincial or territorial government’s in-demand occupations list. Building relationships with recruiters can help you find the right job that aligns with your skills and qualifications.

Step 4: Gather the Relevant Support Documents

To support your Canadian work visa application, you will need to gather various supporting documents. This includes your:

  • Valid proof of identity: passports, travel documents, and two photographs of yourself and family members,
  • Proof of your employment in Canada: offer of employment number, labor marker impact assessment (LMIA), Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ), and employment contract,
  • Proof of Relationship to Canada: marriages and birth certificates of accompanying family members, Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union, and
  • Other documents: Proof of your immigration status if you are not applying from your home nation and reentry permits.

It is important to ensure that all documents are authentic, properly translated (if applicable), and meet the specific requirements outlined by IRCC. Any discrepancies or missing documents can result in delays or even rejection of your application.

Step 5: Fill Out Canada's Immigration Forms With the Help of an RCIC

Completing immigration forms accurately and correctly is crucial for a successful Canadian work visa application. The forms can be complex and time-consuming, requiring detailed information about your personal background, employment history, and intended stay in Canada.

Working with an RCIC can greatly simplify this process, as they are familiar with the forms and can help you avoid mistakes or omissions. They will ensure that all necessary fields are filled out correctly and that supporting documents are attached as required. Relevant application forms you’ll have to complete for your work permit application include:

  • Application For Work Permit Made Outside of Canada (IMM 1295),
  • Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475),
  • Document Checklist (IMM 5488),
  • Family Information (IMM 5645),
  • Schedule 1- Application for Temporary Resident Visa,
  • Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409), and
  • Use of Representative (IMM 546).

Step 6: Pay Your Canada Immigration Fees and Apply

Submit your application online in the IRCC portal and pay the relevant application fees. The processing fee for a Canada work permit is 155 CAD. However, you will also be required to pay for the biometric fee and if applicable, the open work permit holder fee of 100 CAD. The faster you submit payment, the better. Your application will not be processed unless you have paid your application fee.

Learn more about how you can work in Canada.

How Can I Extend My Canada Work Permit?

If you are already working in Canada on a valid work permit and wish to extend your stay, you may be eligible to apply for a work permit extension. The process for extending a Canada work permit involves:

Gathering the Necessary Documents

You must obtain the relevant certified supporting documentation such as proof of payment, passports, marriage license or certificate, letter of employment, etc.,

Read Canada’s Instruction Guide

You can follow the Canadian government’s instruction guide on how to complete the relevant work permit extension forms.

Fill Out and Complete the Relevant Application Forms

You must complete the ICRC’s work permit extension application forms before uploading your documentation. Your answers will determine which documents you must or must not submit.

Pay Your Fees and Submit Your Application

You must pay the relevant application fees which include the 155 CAD work permit fee and 100 CAD open work permit holder fee. Ensure to submit your application on the IRCC portal.

It is advisable to start the extension process well in advance of the expiration of your current work permit to avoid any gaps in your authorization to work in Canada.

Please Note

You can also extend your Canada work permit by applying for a Bridging Open Work Permit, finding a new job in Canada, obtaining a Canada Visitor Visa, and getting International Experience Canada’s (IEC) Working Holiday Visa.

Find out more about the 5 ways to extend your Canada Work Permit.


What is a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

A Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that assesses the impact of hiring a foreign worker on the Canadian labor market.

In most cases, Canadian employers are required to obtain a positive LMIA before they can offer a job to a foreign national. The LMIA ensures that hiring a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on Canadian workers and that there are no qualified Canadians available to fill the position.

Do Canadian Permanent Residents Need a Work Permit to Work in Canada?

No, Canadian permanent residents do not need a work permit to work in Canada. They have the right to work and live in Canada indefinitely and are not subject to the same restrictions as temporary foreign workers. However, permanent residents may still need to meet certain licensing or regulatory requirements for specific occupations or professions.