Working Legally in Canada
It is necessary for expats to obtain a work permit in order to work legally in Canada. This applies to both citizens of other countries and foreign workers. The work permit is issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and serves as proof that the individual is authorized to work in Canada
Who Must Make the Application?for a work permit
In most cases, the expat’s employer is responsible for making the application for a work permit on their behalf. However, there are some circumstances in which the expat may make the application themselves, such as if they are self-employed or if they are coming to Canada to work as a live-in caregiver
Are there any exemptions to the requirement to obtain a work permit
there are some exemptions to the requirement to obtain a work permit in Canada. These include:
- Citizens of the United States, Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean who are eligible for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
- business visitors;
- foreign representatives and their staff;
- military personnel;
- foreign students working on campus;
- work-study program participants;
- young workers participating in international exchange programs;
- intra-company transferees; and
- journalists, film crews, and performing artists.
Types of Work Permits for Expats in Canada
There are several types of work permits for expats in Canada, including:
Open work permit: This type of permit allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada, subject to certain restrictions. It is available to eligible spouses and common-law partners of skilled workers, international students, and some temporary foreign workers.
Employer-specific work permit: This type of permit is tied to a specific employer and job offer, and the holder can only work for that employer.
Bridging open work permit: This type of permit is for temporary foreign workers who are waiting for a decision on their permanent residency application, and allows them to work for any employer in Canada.
Work Permit Application Process in Canada
The procedure for applying for a work permit in Canada depends on the type of work permit being applied for, as well as the country of origin of the expat
In general, the process involves the following steps:
The employer must first obtain a positive labour market impact assessment (LMIA) from the Government of Canada, which confirms that there is a need for the foreign worker and that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to fill the position.
The expat must then complete an online application for a work permit, and submit it along with all required supporting documents.
The expat may also need to undergo medical and/or security clearance, depending on the nature of their work and their country of origin.
Once the application has been reviewed and approved, the expat will be issued a work permit, which they must present at the border upon entry to Canada.
How long does it take to obtain a work permit in Canada
The processing time for a work permit application in Canada varies depending on several factors, including the type of work permit being applied for, the country of origin of the expat, and the current volume of applications
In general, processing times for work permit applications range from a few weeks to several months. Expats can check the processing times for their specific type of work permit on the IRCC website
What Documents Do You Need to Apply for a Work Permit in Canada?
Foreign nationals who wish to work in Canada must obtain a work permit, which is issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The documents required for a work permit application may vary depending on the type of work permit and the nationality of the applicant. However, some of the common documents required include:
- A valid passport or travel document
- A job offer letter from a Canadian employer
- Educational certificates, qualifications, and any other relevant documents
- Proof of language proficiency in English or French, depending on the language of the workplace
- A completed work permit application form
- A police clearance certificate from the applicant’s home country or the country of residence
- A medical examination certificate in some cases
- Proof of financial support to cover living expenses while in Canada
Additional documents may be required depending on the individual case, such as a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if the job offer is in a high-skilled occupation.
What Costs Are Involved in Applying for a Work Permit in Canada?
The cost of a work permit in Canada depends on the type of work permit and the duration of stay. Some of the common costs associated with work permit applications include:
- A work permit processing fee, which ranges from CAD 155 to CAD 1,560, depending on the type of work permit and the duration of stay
- A biometrics fee, which is CAD 85 per person and may be required depending on the applicant’s nationality and the duration of stay
- A LMIA processing fee, which is CAD 1,000 for each position requested
- A medical examination fee, which varies depending on the medical center and the type of examination required
- Translation and notarization fees for required documents
- Travel expenses to and from the IRCC office for document submission and collection
It is important to note that these fees are subject to change and additional fees may apply depending on the individual case.
Where Can Expats Go for Reliable Information on Working Legally in Canada?
Expats who wish to work legally in Canada can find reliable information and guidance from the following websites:
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/work-canada.html) ‘s the official website of the Canadian government provides information on work permit requirements, procedures, and fees.
- Job Bank (https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/home) ‘s a government job search website that features job postings, labor market information, and career planning resources for job seekers in Canada.
- Canadian Visa (https://www.canadianvisa.org/work/work-permit) ‘s a website that provides information on work permit requirements, eligibility criteria, and processing times for foreign workers in Canada.