Find out if you’re eligible to work in Canada

Whether or not you’re eligible for a work permit depends on a few things, including where you plan to apply for your work permit.

General 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 listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions,
  • 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.

Eligibility requirements 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.

Find out what type of work permit you can apply for.

Eligibility requirements 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,
  • have applied or been included in an application 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),
  • have asked for refugee status in Canada and are waiting for a decision from the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada,
  • have been recognized by the RPD as a convention refugee or protected person,
  • have had your refugee claim turned down by the RPD but you cannot be removed from Canada for reasons beyond your control, or
  • are allowed to work in Canada without a work permit but you need a work permit to work in a different job.

Find out what type of work permit you can apply for.

Eligibility requirements if you apply when you enter Canada

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

  • you are from a visa-exempt country,
  • you already hold a valid medical certificate, if you need it for your job, or are from a designated country, and either
  • your employer has completed all of the steps for your type of work permit, or
  • you are applying for an open work permit.

If you’re a citizen of an eTA-required country, you’ll need to get an eTA if you plan to fly into Canada. To avoid additional costs, we recommend that you apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada.

Find out what type of work permit you can apply for.

Find out if you are eligible

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