For foreign workers and employers alike, it is crucial to go through the proper channels before temporary employment in Canada may begin.

While Canada’s economic success is good for business, it is also creating challenges for employers who are struggling to find enough workers to meet demand. With its record low unemployment rate, Canada, today more than ever, must rely on foreign talent to continue to grow a strong national workforce.

Apply to work in Canada

The purpose of the Work section is to guide you and provide the most up-to-date information with regard to working in Canada for your particular situation.

In most cases, to work in Canada, a foreign national requires a work permit. However, there are a number of exceptional circumstances where a foreign worker may work in Canada without a work permit.

Generally, Canadian employers wishing to employ a foreign worker in Canada must first obtain authorization from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), otherwise known as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Canadian employers must demonstrate that employing a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market in most cases, and that there is currently no Canadian citizen or permanent resident available to fill the position. This is typically accomplished by advertising the position on several venues, thus demonstrating there was no suitable Canadian for the job. A LMIA is a very rigorous and comprehensive process that is subject to a high level of scrutiny from the government, and thus must be completed without errors.

Although the LMIA process is the rule, there are a number of LMIA-exempt work permits, resulting from Foreign Trade Agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA, that enable foreign workers to apply for a work permit without the Canadian employer having to obtain a LMIA. In addition to these employer sponsored work permits, there are a number of work permit options available to foreign workers who do not yet have a job offer, including working holidays, post-graduate work permits, and open spousal work permits.

Types of Canadian Work Permits

These are just some of the work scenarios and situations that take place in Canada.

LMIA-based work permits

These work permits require the employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment as part of the process.

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LMIA Exemptions

Certain circumstances allow for individuals to work in Canada without first obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

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NAFTA Work Permits

These permits are issued under the North American Free Trade Agreement, allowing work without a LMIA.

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Intra-Company Transfers

These permits will allow a company to bring certain employees to Canada from its offices abroad without a LMIA.

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Business Visitors

In many cases, business visitors may work in Canada without a work permit, so long as they don't enter the Canadian labour market.

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Post-Graduation Work Permits

After graduating from a designated Canadian educational institution, international graduates may work in Canada for up to three years.

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Which Canadian work solution will meet your needs?

If you are looking for work in Canada or already have a job offer from a Canadian employer and are unsure of what to do next, we have the perfect tools to get you started. You may also wish to check out some of our great employment resources, such as our Job Search Tool, our Resume Builder, or our other Career Coaching Tools.

If you have a job offer from a Canadian employer and are unsure of what to do next, check out our Work Permit Services to get an introduction on what you need to acquire the proper authorizations to work in Canada. We would be happy to assist you with the process from beginning to end. Please contact us so we can help you explore your options.

If you are a Canadian employer who is looking to hire a worker from abroad, we would be happy to advise you on the proper steps to bring that worker to Canada. Our Work Permit specialists will discuss your business needs with you, the qualifications of the worker that you have in mind, and the options that you have for getting that worker to Canada. Depending on your needs, you may need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Alternatively, there may be specific programs that are geared toward addressing your needs on an expedited basis through an exemption, such as through an intra-company transfer. To see what options are available to you, contact us today and let us know about your business needs.

Depending on the amount of time that you have studied in Canada, you may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit in Canada. This program is an excellent opportunity for you to develop Canadian experience, especially if you are looking to apply for Canadian immigration under the Canadian Experience Class or Quebec Experience Class programs. Start your free assessment and be sure to let us know about your Canadian education.

In addition to Entrepreneur Work Permits, be sure to look into Canada's Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa Program if you have business management or entrepreneurial experience. You should also explore our page about International Business Start-ups In Canada to learn more about using an intra-company transfer work permit to start a new business in Canada.

There are a number of programs that allow self-employed individuals to work in Canada under certain circumstances. If you are looking to work in Canada on a self-employed basis, the process may be a bit complicated. However, we would be happy to assess your qualifications for working in Canada. Contact us to learn more about your options.

Canada has a special relationship with the United States and Mexico that allows certain individuals to work in Canada. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows individuals to work in Canada under a NAFTA work permit. NAFTA is broken down into four categories, covering professionals, intra-company transfers, traders and investors, and allows such individuals to circumvent the traditional work permit process. Contact us today, and be sure to note that you are a citizen of the United States or Mexico.

The province of Quebec has its own requirements for working Quebec. To start, you are required to obtain a document called a CAQ as part of the process. You should also note that Quebec has its own list of occupations that allow for an expedited Labour Market Impact Assessment to be issued. We are familiar with the intricacies of immigration and work permit applications to the province of Quebec, with many of our specialists fluent in French. To benefit from our experience, contact us today and be sure to let us know that you have a job offer in the province of Quebec.

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Got a question? Please complete this short form to submit your work permit query directly to our specialists.

Please provide complete details about the position offered to the foreign worker, as well as information about the foreign worker (e.g. qualifications, nationality, etc.)