If you are a foreign national who wants to work in Canada, you likely need a work permit.
What is work?
Generally, any activity from which you earn money is work. For example, employment, contractor, or self-employed. To perform such an activity in Canada, you will need a work permit.
On the other hand, if you do not earn money from that activity, it is likely not work. For example, volunteering. You do not need a work permit for these activities.
However, if an activity is in direct competition with Canadians or permanent residents (PR), it is work even if you do not earn money. For example, you complete an internship as part of your studies at a university or college.
What is a work permit?
A work permit is a legal document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows people from other countries to work in Canada.
There are two types of work permits: closed work permits and open work permits. A closed work permit specifies the occupation, employer, or both. An open work permit has no these specifications.
Note that a work permit may expire. When it expires, you may be eligible to renew it.
Is it possible to work in Canada without a work permit?
It is possible that you work in Canada without a work permit. For example, post-secondary international students, news reporters, crew members, and performing artists.
The Canadian law has established a list of activities that may be performed by foreign nationals without a work permit. Please contact us if you need more information.
Am I eligible for a work permit?
The requirements for a closed and open work permit are different. However, there are some common ones for most of the work permit applications.
First, you may need a valid job offer from an employer in Canada. Secondly, you must be able to perform the job duties. You may also need a qualification if your occupation is regulated, such as nurses.
Further, you must be in good health and able to support yourself and your family members who are coming to Canada with you.
How to apply for a work permit?
Firstly, I would like to divide work permit applications by whether you need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or not.
If the work permit application requires an LMIA, then your employer must first get this document. Note that if you are a worker, you can’t apply for an LMIA. To learn more about LMIA, please visit our Service page.
For some of you, you have to apply for a work permit outside Canada. You also need to apply online.
You can apply at a Canadian border if you do not need a visa to enter Canada and LMIA. This is a more common option for citizens of a country that has a free trade agreement with Canada.
Some of you who are in Canada may also apply. However, there are limits. Generally, you must already have either a valid work permit or study permit.
Apply for a work permit without an LMIA
The good news is that there are many situations where you may apply for a work permit without an LMIA.
For example, when your work in Canada is going to create significant benefits to Canadian society or culture. These include entrepreneurs and intra-company transferees (ICT).
Other examples include college or university international graduates, PR applicants in Canada, and international students who can no longer afford their tuition.
Beware of dual intent
Dual intent refers to that, when you apply for a work permit, you also show that you want to become a Canadian permanent resident.
Dual intent could be a reason for refusal if you have no actual desire to work in Canada.
However, if your desire is genuine and you can prove that you will return to your home country after you finish working, dual intent should not be a problem.
On the other hand, if you wish to apply for PR by working in Canada, you can actually look for programs that may facilitate your PR application. We will discuss more about this topic in the next section.
Can I change job or quit while on a work permit?
You have an absolute right to change your job or quit. Sometimes, you may be laid off.
When any of the above happens, your work permit will still remain valid. This means you can still stay in Canada while looking for a new job.
However, whether you can start a new job depends on the type of your work permit. If you have an open work permit, you can start as soon as your new job is available. On the other hand, if you have a closed work permit, you must first apply to change the information on it.
Can I bring a family member?
Your spouse or common law partner can come to Canada with you. Your spouse or common law partner may get an open work permit.
You can also bring your children if they are under 22 who do not have a spouse or common law partner. Your children can go to school.
Work in Canada and PR
By having Canadian work experience, more PR programs will become available to you. The most well-known one is Canadian Experience Class (CEC) under Express Entry.
For those who have already met the eligibility criteria of these programs under Express Entry, having a Canadian job offer supported by an LMIA can also be very useful.
More often, if you have a job offer for a permanent position in Canada, you are more likely eligible for Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). PNP is also available for entrepreneurs who want to open a business or buy an existing business in Canada.
Immigration for LGBTQ
Many LGBTQ people wish to move to Canada either for work or study. They eventually want to settle here permanently.
Further, some of you may already be eligible for permanent residency even without Canadian work experience or education.
Book a consultation today, we can help you with your questions.
What do we do?
We work with LGBTQ people and help with their journey to Canada. At LegalRoots, client experience is what we care about. We also create a safe and friendly place for those who wish to discuss their matters with us freely.
Book an initial assessment today or contact us directly.