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Work Permits


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Work Permits

A Canadian work permit is the permission to take a job within Canada if you are from a foreign country. You usually need a work permit to work in Canada.

The requirements to apply for a work permit differ depending on if you apply from inside, outside or on entry to Canada. However in all situations the following general requirements apply:

  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires,
  • show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home,
  • obey the law and have no record of criminal activity and not be a danger to Canada’s security,
  • be in good health and have a medical exam, if required.
  • not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions.
  • not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages

The two types of work permits available are open work permits and employer-specific work permits.

An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, except for an employer who is listed as ineligible on the list of employers who have failed to comply with the conditions, or who regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.

Open work permit only apply in specific situations. It is not job-specific. Because it is not job-specific, you will not need the following when you apply for your work permit:

  • 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 and paid the employer compliance fee.

An employer-specific work permit allows you to work according to the conditions on your work permit, which includes:

  • the name of the employer you can work for,
  • how long you can work, and
  • the location where you can work (if applicable).

To apply for a work permit, a worker needs:

  • a job offer letter,
  • a contract,
  • a copy of the LMIA, and
  • the LMIA number.               

If you want to extend your stay in Canada as a worker, check the expiry date on your work permit, and make sure you apply for a visa extension before that date. An application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada must be submitted at least 30 days before your current permit expires.

In some cases, you can work without a permit. The following occupations do not require a work permit; however they do have their individual requirements:

Athlete or coach

Aviation accident or incident investigator

Business visitor

Civil aviation inspector


Convention organizer

Crew member

Emergency service provider

Examiner and evaluator

Expert witness or investigator

Family member of foreign representative

Foreign government officer or representative

Health care student

Judge, referee or similar official

Military personnel

News reporter or film and media crew

Producer or staff member working on advertisements

Performing artist

Public speaker

Short-term highly-skilled worker

Short-term researcher

Student working off-campus

Student working on-campus

To discuss your situation further and assistance with applying for a work permit contact us for a consultation.