Determine your eligibility – Work in Canada

New fees to be paid by employers and open work permit applicants are being introduced on February 21, 2015. There is also a new process that employers must follow when hiring Labour Market Impact Assessment-exempt foreign workers.

Read about the changes and how they may affect you.

If you need a work permit to work temporarily in Canada, you must make sure you are eligible to receive one. This will depend on a few things, including where you plan to apply for your work permit.

Eligibility requirements

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 plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages,
  • 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.

If you 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.

If you 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.

If you 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, or are from a designated country.
  • your employer has submitted  a copy of a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), if needed, and
  • your employer has proof that they have paid an employer compliance fee and submitted an Offer of Employment form to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, if you do not need an LMIA and will be working for a specific employer.

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

Also in this topic

Find out if you are eligible

Come to Canada
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