Foreign nationals wishing to work in Canada on a temporary basis usually require a work permit.
Two of the main programs through which work permits are issued are the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
The TFWP offers work permits for candidates whose employers obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
A positive LMIA confirms there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job at hand and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.
IMP work permits do not require a positive LMIA. They do require the employer to submit an employment offer under their employer portal.
Canada issues two types of work permits: employer-specific work permits and open work permits.
Employer-Specific Work Permit
An employer-specific work permit includes conditions such as:
- Name of a specific employer,
- How long a candidate can work,
- The location of a candidate’s work.
Candidates applying for an employer-specific work permit must have from their employer a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an offer of employment before applying.
Open Work Permit
An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, but they are issued only in specific circumstances.
Work Permit Exemptions
Certain occupations are exempt from the work permit requirement.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
The TFWP is intended to help Canadian employers recruit foreign workers in response to labor market shortages.
TFWP is made up of four streams: high-skilled workers, low-skilled workers, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, and the Live-In Caregiver Program.
Foreign workers must have an approved job offer and a work permit before arriving in Canada under the TFWP.
Through the LMIA, IRCC works with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to ensure foreign workers do not take jobs for which Canadian citizens or permanent residents are available.
Options for Family Members to Work in Canada
A Canadian work permit holder’s family may come with them to Canada.
All family members must complete their own application forms, but they can be submitted together.
If a family member wants to work in Canada, they will need their own Canada work permit.
In certain cases, spouses or common-law partners are eligible for an open work permit. If a temporary foreign worker’s children would like to study in Canada, they need a study permit.