A Guide on How to Obtain a Canadian Work Visa

Learn more about Canadian work visas, who it's for, the requirements, and process for obtaining one to temporarily work in Canada. 

Who is a Canadian Work Visa (permit) for?

A Canadian work permit is a written authorization used by an officer that allows a person who is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident to work in Canada. It is required whether or not the employer is in Canada.

A temporary foreign worker can work in Canada for a maximum period of four years. However, there are exceptions to this rule such as if the work you do in Canada creates a significant social, economic or cultural benefit or if the job creates opportunities for permanent residents of Canada. Additionally, if the work relates to an international agreement between Canada and one or more countries, including seasonal agricultural work, then you will be exempt from this.

The next step is to check the list of ineligible employers or to get a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) to see if the employer can in fact hire you. An LMO is the opinion provided by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to the officer which allows the office to determine whether the employment of a foreign worker is likely to have a positive or negative impact on the labor market in Canada. This opinion is required in order for a work permit to be issued.

Requirement for a Canadian Work Visa

A person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident who wishes to work in Canada will require a work permit. As soon as you receive written evidence of your job offer or contract of employment and your Labour Market Opinion of ESDC you should apply for a work visa. When an opinion is not required, you may simply apply when you receive evidence of your job offer from the employer.

When applying for a work visa you will need to show the officer looking at your application that you meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Additionally, you will need to show that your stay is only temporary, that you have enough money for your stay, that you have no criminal record or will not be a danger to security and that you will complete a medical examination. A few other documents will be needed upon request of the officer and your visa will always be subject to any conditions the officer puts on it.

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