Getting a Work Permit in Canada

If you want to work in Canada and do not know where to start we can help you to go over the options and programs that are currently available for foreign workers. To start with, those who wish to work in Canada, regardless whether it is long term or short term are required to obtain a valid work permit.

A work permit is a document issued by IRCC and, in most cases, allowing you to work exclusively for the employer that is indicated in the document and perform a specific job.  Work permit also is restricted to a specific location and time of work, or, in certain cases, it can be an Open Work Permit. It is important to understand at the very beginning of the application process what category your future job falls into, and your eligibility requirements you need to meet in order for the process to be successful.

Regular Work Permit (Employer Specific)

The most common steps and requirements to obtain a work permit allowing to work in Canada:

  • Get a job offer from an eligible Canadian Employer
  • The employer has to apply and go through LMIA application
  • Be eligible for a job in Canada (have no criminal record, offer no threat to national security, do not work for ineligible employers, be in good health and be prepared to leave Canada when the permit expires)

Open Work Permit

You may be eligible for an open work permit if you’ve been included in an application for permanent residence, or application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. In this case, the application must fall under one of the following categories:

  • Federal Skilled Worker
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Family Class
  • Caring for Children Class
  • Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class

With this type of work permit, your job placement is not restricted to a specific employer and you may work for any employer unless the company is listed as ineligible on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions.

Overall the process of getting a work permit, beginning with an application, getting an LMIA from your future employer to getting the actual document might take from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. It also depends on the type of work you are applying for. If your job is at the managerial or executive level, or professional level you may be eligible for a two-week application process.


Professions that do not require a work permit:

  1. Foreign Representatives and Their Family Members
  2. Military Personnel
  3. Foreign Government Officers
  4. On-Campus Work
  5. Performing Artists
  6. Athletes and Team Members
  7. News Reporters and Media Crews
  8. Public Speakers (only non-commercial speakers )
  9. Convention & Conference Organizers (excluding technical workers & personnel)
  10. Members of Clergy
  11. Judges, Referees and Similar Officials involved in sports and arts activities
  12. Examiners and Evaluators
  13. Expert Witnesses or Investigators
  14. Health Care Students
  15. Civil Aviation Inspectors
  16. Crew Members
  17. Emergency Service Providers
  18. Farm Workers

As you may see here, there are a few complications in the process: getting a job offer from a Canadian employer poses a challenge as not every employer is willing to go through the wait time as well as going through LMIA application requires a lot of extra work and documentation.

That is why one of the key benefits of working with Green Light Canada Global Mobility Solutions Ltd. for both foreign specialists and companies that may benefit from hiring foreign workers as we are also acting as an employment agency and focus on finding a connection between the employers and potential employees and help to optimize the process and facilitate paperwork.

Whether you are a foreign specialist looking to start working for a Canadian company, or a company, based in Canada who is looking to hire foreign specialists, contact Green Light Canada Global Mobility Solutions Ltd. to find out how we can make this process faster.