Work Permits

Most foreign nationals need a Work Permit to work in Canada. If you need one, you will have to apply for either an –

  • Employer-specific work permit, or
  • Open work permit


Employer-Specific Work Permit

An Employer-Specific Work Permit allows you to work according to the conditions on your work permit, which include:

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

Before you apply for an employer-specific work permit, your employer must give you –

  • A copy of your employment contract, and
  • ONE of the following – A copy of an LMIA or an offer of employment number (for LMIA-exempt workers)
  • the location where you can work (if applicable)


Open Work Permit

An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, except for an employer:

  • who is listed as ineligible, or
  • who regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages

You can only get an open work permit in specific situations.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP) are two programs that are used to hire foreign workers in Canada.

Family Members

If you’re applying for a work permit and your family members want to come to Canada, they must also apply to visit, work or study in Canada. If they do not plan to work in Canada, they may apply to come to Canada with you as either a visitor or student. They can apply at the same time as you.

Apart from specific requirements depending on where you apply and which type of work permit you are applying for, ALL WORK PERMIT APPLICANTS MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING COMMON REQUIREMENTS:

  • 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 during your stay in Canada and to return home
  • Have no record of criminal activity
  • Prove that you are not a danger to Canada’s security
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam (if applicable)
  • Not work for an employer listed as “ineligible”
  • Not work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages

If your work permit application is approved, you will get an approval letter called the “Port of Entry Letter of Introduction” (this letter is not your work permit). You must present this letter at the Port of Entry when you arrive in Canada. You will only get your work permit at the port of entry the day you arrive in Canada.

The Work Permit will outline –

  • the type of work you can do
  • the employer you can work for
  • where you can work
  • how long you can work

Some other factors that foreign workers in Canada must be aware of are:

  • Your Work Permit lists all the conditions for your working in Canada. You must abide by these conditions or else you could be asked to leave Canada
  • The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9-digit number that you will need to work in Canada and to access government programs and benefits. You should apply for a SIN as soon as possible after you arrive in Canada
  • As a temporary foreign worker, you are protected by Canada’s labour laws
  • If you lose your job and your employer does not follow the law when they dismiss you, you can complain to the local employment or labour standards office. If you are covered by a union contract, you may have to make a formal complaint through the union instead
  • Your employer does not have to give you a place to live unless you are a temporary farm worker in the “Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program”
  • All workers in Canada have the right to a safe and healthy workplace
  • Your employer cannot force you to do work that’s dangerous
  • Your employer must give you access to a health care provider if you get sick or hurt at work

Contact us to know if you are eligible for a Work Permit.