Determine your eligibility — Work in Canada

If you need a work permit to work temporarily in Canada, you must make sure you are eligible for one. Whether you are eligible or not depends on a few things, including where you plan to apply for your work permit.

Apply from outside Canada

Anyone may apply for a work permit before they enter Canada. In some cases, you must apply to a visa office outside Canada. This is usually true if you need a visa to enter Canada or if you need to have a medical exam before you come here.

To apply for a work permit from outside Canada, see the Instruction Guide to find out what documents you need.

Apply from inside Canada

You can only apply for a work permit from inside Canada if you:

  • are currently in Canada and have a valid study or work permit, or your spouse or parents have a study or work permit,
  • have graduated from a program at a
    • Canadian university,
    • community college,
    • CÉGEP,
    • publicly funded trade/technical school or
    • other eligible school,
  • have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more, or
  • are in Canada because you have already applied for permanent residence from inside Canada (you will have to pass certain stages in the main application process to be eligible for a work permit).

See the Instruction Guide to find out what documents you need.

Apply as you enter Canada

You can ask to be allowed to work in Canada as you enter Canada but only if:

  • you do not need a visa,
  • you already hold a valid medical certificate, if you need it for your job, and
  • your employer does not need a labour market opinion (LMO) for your job (with some exceptions) or you already have an LMO.

Note: If your job does need an LMO, you can apply for a work permit as you enter Canada, as long as your employer has approval to hire you through an LMO before you enter the country. (This does not apply to live-in caregivers and seasonal agricultural workers.)

No matter where you apply, you must:

  • 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 members during your stay in Canada and to return home,
  • obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (we may ask you to give us a police clearance certificate),
  • not be a danger to Canada’s security,
  • be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed,
  • not plan to work for an employer on the list of ineligible employers,
  • not have worked in Canada for one or more periods that total four years after April 1, 2011 (with some exceptions), and
  • give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.

Applying for a new visitor visa (to re-enter Canada)

If you are currently in Canada with a valid study or work permit, and you want to leave and then come back to Canada, you you may need a visa to re-enter Canada as a visitor.  
If you do, you must apply for a new temporary resident (visitor) visa before you leave. To do so, you must:

  • be legally in Canada as a student or temporary foreign worker only with a Canadian home address,
  • have valid temporary resident status, and your existing counterfoil has expired and/or was valid for only one entry, and
  • need a new visitor visa to return to Canada in the near future.

Find out more about temporary resident (visitor) visas.

Inadmissibility

Some people are inadmissible–they are not allowed to come to Canada. Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime.

You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons. Find out more about inadmissibility.

Also in this topic

Find out if you are eligible

Come to Canada
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