Work Permits

  1. 1
    Bridging Open Work Permit
    • The bridging open work permit (BOWP) is a way to keep a worker in Canada working while his or her application for permanent residence is being processed.

      In-Canada applicants who have made an application to immigrate to Canada under either the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Class, the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Class, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) may be considered for a bridging open work permit if their current work permit is due to expire (within four months). A foreign worker legally working in Canada who has made, or will soon make, an application for permanent residence under one of these immigration programs may then continue to work until a decision is made on his or her application for permanent residence. This is beneficial for the federal government, Canadian communities and employers, as well as applicants and their families, because otherwise applicants and their dependants (spouse and children) would have to either leave Canada temporarily, stay in Canada under visitor status, or find an employer willing to go through the process of applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An open work permit, which allows its bearer to work for any employer in Canada, is preferable as it provides applicants with better flexibility to integrate and navigate the Canadian labour market, given that they have already been found eligible for permanent residence and are currently working in Canada.

      Bridging Open Work Permits and Express Entry

      When an applicant for a federal economic immigration program that is processed through the Express Entry immigration selection system submits an electronic application for permanent residence, he or she receives an Acknowledgment of Receipt letter. This letter is automatically generated in the MyCIC account following the submission of the electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR). Applicants who are eligible to apply for a BOWP may apply immediately after receipt of this Acknowledgment of Receipt letter, instead of having to wait for a second Acknowledgment of Receipt letter issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). However, the application for a BOWP will not be processed until the completeness check has been performed at the Centralized Intake Office. BOWP applications received before the completeness checks have been performed will be held until they are ready to be processed. If an e-APR is found to be incomplete, the applicant is no longer eligible for a BOWP. In these cases, the application for a BOWP will be refused.

      To be eligible for a bridging open work permit, the following parameters must be met:

      • The foreign national is currently in Canada
      • He or she has valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within four months
      • He or she is the principal applicant on an application for permanent residence under the FSWP, the CEC, the PNP or the FSTP
      • He or she received a positive eligibility assessment on his or her application
      • He or she has made an application for an open work permit

      Please note that a foreign national does not qualify for a bridging work permit if:

      • He or she is in Canada under section 186 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (work permit exempt) situations
      • He or she has let his or her status expire
      • His or her work permit is valid for longer than four months and/or he or she has a new LMIA that can be used as the basis for a new work permit application
      • He or she is applying for a bridging work permit at the port of entry
      • He or she is the spouse or dependant of the principal permanent resident applicant
      • He or she is a provincial nominee who has not submitted a copy of his or her nomination letter with the application for a bridging work permit, or whose nomination letter specifically indicates employment restrictions

      Spouse or Common-law Partner and Dependants

      Certain conditions are required to be met by the holder of a bridging work permit in order for his or her spouse to also be eligible for an open work permit:
      • In all cases, the bridging work permit must be valid for longer than six months
      • For spouses of FSW applicants, the bridging work permit holder must be performing work that is at a level that falls within sp”>National Occupational Classification (NOC)Skill Levels 0, A or B
      • For spouses of PNP applicants, the spouse is eligible for an open work permit for the duration of the work permit held by the principal PNP applicant, irrespective of the skill level of the principal PNP applicant’s occupation
      • For spouses of FST applicants, the bridging work permit holder must be performing work that is within one of the qualifying occupations in NOC Skill Level B
      • For spouses of CEC applicants, there are no set preconditions to be met by the principal CEC applicant
      Dependent children of an applicant in any of these economic classes must obtain an LMIA or have LMIA exemption based on their specific situation in order to apply for a work permit.

      Employment location

      When issuing a bridging open work permit to an applicant for permanent residence under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the employment location on the work permit must be restricted to the nominating province. Therefore, the province of destination must be selected and then the city of destination value should be selected to show the province/territory.
      FSW, FST, CEC
      For a bridging open work permit issued to applicants for the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class or Canadian Experience Class, there are no restrictions to employment location.
  2. 2
    Live in Caregiver Program

    A foreign national can be sponsored as a nanny (live in caregiver) via Canada’s Live in Caregiver Program and must meet both the requirements outlined by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada AND Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). Under this program, a caregiver must provide at least 30 hours a week of care to:

    • Children (under 18 years of age);
    • Elderly (65 or over); or
    • Persons with disabilities.
    Part of the eligibility criteria for a Canadian Live in Caregiver visa is possessing good English and/or French language skills.

    In order to apply for the Live in Caregiver Visa Program, you will need a:

    • Written contract with your future employer, signed by you and your employer;
    • Successful completion of the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school education;
    • Six months’ training or at least one year of full-time paid work experience as a caregiver or in a related field or occupation (including six months with one employer) in the past three years. You will need to provide references and/or recommendations from former employers;
    • Work permit before you enter Canada;
    • Positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

    In order to be hired, your employer needs to apply to HRSDC or Service Canada (SC) to have the job offer reviewed. The purpose for this evaluation is to check that the job offer adheres to the provincial requirements, as well as to make sure there are presently not enough Canadians or permanent residents available to work as live-in caregivers in Canada. Your employer must also receive a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from HRSDC/SC. You will need a copy of this positive LMO when you apply for the work permit.

    Written Contract

    You and your employer are required by law to sign an employment contract. This contract must be the same one that was submitted to the HRSDC/SC. Any contract amendments after submission must be explained (e.g., change of start date).

    The contract needs to show that all of the requirements for the program have been met.

    The contract must also state the mandatory employer-paid benefits, which include: transportation to Canada from your country of residence to the location of your job in Canada; medical insurance coverage provided from the date of your arrival until you are eligible for provincial health insurance; workplace safety insurance coverage for the duration of employment; and payment of all recruitment fees, if a recruiter or an agency was used.


    • Job duties;
    • Hours of work;
    • Wages;
    • Accommodation arrangements (including room and board);
    • Holiday and sick leave entitlements; and
    • Termination and resignation terms.

    We will provide you with a contract template to simplify the process. Sticking to the template is advisable, as it will reduce the chances of delays in the processing of the application.

    Secondary School Education

    You must have completed the equivalent of a Canadian high school education (secondary school). This is generally 12 years of basic education, but because there are different school systems in each Canadian province, it can differ – we will inform you if you have what is needed.

    Training and Experience

    You need to have worked for at least a year in a caregiving-related occupation; 6 months of this experience needs to be with the same employer. The work experience must have been achieved within 3 years prior to filing the application. If you have training, it must have been done in a classroom setting as a full-time student. Related studies include childhood education, geriatric care, first aid, etc.

    Work Agreement

    You will need to apply for an initial live-in caregiver work agreement and will need to present this letter to the officer at the Border Services after your visa approval.

  3. 3
    LMIA and Work Permit

    The following guide is for jobs that require a positive LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) before applying for a Work Permit

    In most cases, employers are required to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can hire foreign workers  (see exemptions including NAFTA and GATS). In order to obtain a positive LMIA, a Canadian employer must prove that there is no Canadian or permanent resident worker available to complete the job in question and a foreign worker is therefore required.

    LMIA applications should show the following:

    • Efforts made to recruit available Canadian citizens/permanent residents
    • Wages offered for the position are consistent with the prevailing wage rate paid to Canadians/permanent residents in the same occupation in the region
    • Working conditions for the occupation meets the current provincial labour market standards
    • Any potential benefits that hiring a foreign worker might bring to the Canadian labour market, such as the creation of new jobs or the transfer of skills and knowledge
    • Transition plans will be required for high-wage positions whereby employers must demonstrate increased efforts to hire Canadians in the long-term.

    The positive LMIA is provided to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which is typically issued for one year if granted.

    LMIAs are overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for.

    There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.

    The LMIA process is different depending on whether the targeted employee is classified as “high-wage” or “low-wage”. Temporary foreign workers being paid under the provincial/territorial median wage are considered low-wage, while those being paid at or above are considered high-wage. Depending on whether a prospective employee is classified as high-wage or low-wage, certain specific provisions apply.

    High-Wage Workers

    Employers seeking to hire high-wage workers must submit transition plans along with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to ensure that they are taking steps to reduce their reliance on temporary foreign workers over time. High-wage workers are those earning above the median hourly wage for a given occupation in specified region. The transition plans are designed to ensure that employers seeking foreign workers are fulfilling the purpose of the program. This entails that they are using the program as a last and limited resort to address immediate labour needs on a temporary basis when qualified Canadians are not available, ensuring that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.

    Certain occupations in Quebec are “facilitated”, meaning that local recruitment efforts do not need to be performed by employers as part of their applications to hire temporary foreign workers for any of the facilitated occupations.

    Low-Wage Workers

    Employers seeking to hire low-wage workers do not need to submit transition plans with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). They must, however, follow a different set of guidelines.

    To restrict access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), while ensuring that Canadians are always considered first for available jobs, the Government of Canada has introduced a cap to limit the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that a business can employ. Furthermore, certain low-wage occupations may be refused for LMIA processing. Employers with 10 or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of 10 percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers. This cap will be phased in over 2015 and 2016 in order to provide employers who are above the 10 percent cap time to transition and adjust accordingly.

    Employers offering a wage that is below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage must:

    • pay for round-trip transportation for the temporary foreign worker;
    • ensure affordable housing is available;
    • pay for private health insurance until workers are eligible for provincial health coverage;
    • register the temporary foreign worker with the provincial/territorial workplace safety board; and
    • provide an employer-employee contract.
    As of April 30, 2015, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program uses the latest Labour Force Survey results for the unemployment rates in regions across Canada. These rates determine which regions are eligible for employers to submit Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) for low-wage/lower skilled occupations in the Accommodation and Food Services sector and the Retail Trade sector. LMIA applications for these sectors will not be processed in economic regions where the unemployment rate is 6 per cent or higher.
    Given its unique labour market conditions, and as requested by the Government of the Northwest Territories, applications in these sectors for positions located in Yellowknife will be accepted for processing.

    Expediting an LMIA

    LMIAs will be provided within a 10-business-day service standard for workers in the following occupational categories:
    • Highest-demand occupations
    • Highest-paid occupations ­
    • Shortest-duration occupations

    Highest-demand occupations

    The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to skilled trades positions where the wage offered is at or above the provincial/territorial median wage. These positions are essential to the development of major infrastructure and natural resource extraction projects, and are therefore considered vital to Canadian economic growth.

    7202Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
    7204Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
    7205Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
    7301Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
    7302Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
    8211Supervisors, logging and forestry
    8221Supervisors, mining and quarrying
    8222Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
    8241Logging machinery operators
    8252Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
    9211Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
    9212Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
    9214Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
    9231Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
    9241Power engineers and power systems operators
    9243Water and waste treatment plant operators
    7231Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
    7233Sheet metal workers
    7235Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
    7237Welders and related machine operators
    7241Electricians (except industrial and power system)
    7242Industrial electricians
    7243Power system electricians
    7244Electrical power line and cable workers
    7245Telecommunications line and cable workers
    7246Telecommunications installation and repair workers
    7252Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
    7253Gas fitters
    7311Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
    7312Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
    7313Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
    7314Railway carmen/women
    7315Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
    7318Elevator constructors and mechanics
    7371Crane operators
    7372Drillers and blasters – surface, mining, quarrying and construction
    7373Water well drillers
    8231Underground production and development miners
    8232Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
    9232Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators

    Highest-paid occupations ­

    The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers hiring temporary foreign workers in the highest-paid occupations that offer wages in the top 10 percent of wages earned by Canadians in a given province or territory where the job is located. This wage level indicated that a temporary foreign worker is the highest-skilled in their occupation, and that those skills are difficult to find in the Canadian labour market.

    Newfoundland and Labrador$42.53
    Prince Edward Island$35.00
    Nova Scotia$38.00
    New Brunswick$36.06
    British Columbia$40.38
    Northwest Territories$55.00

    Shortest-duration occupations

    The 10-day service standard for this category is limited to employers requesting temporary foreign workers for a short duration, defined as 120 calendar days or less, in any occupation where the wage offered is at or above the provincial or territorial median wage. Positions falling under this category include those related to repairs or manufacturing equipment and warranting work.

    After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer should send a copy to their identified foreign worker. The positive LMIA must be included in the worker’s application for a Temporary Work Permit

    A single LMIA can be issued for one or multiple employees. In the case of multiple employees, the LMIA will only be issued to employees who will be filling identical positions as identified by the Canadian National Occupation Classification.

    There are several instances where an employer may be exempt from the requirement to secure a LMIA. For more information,  please visit the LMIA Exempt Work Permit page.

    Advertising Requirements

    Employers must advertise all job vacancies across the Canadian job market for at least four weeks before applying for a LMIA. Towards this end, employers are required to prove that they have used at least two other recruitment methods in addition to having posted an advertisement on the Canada Job Bank. Employers must focus advertising efforts on groups of Canadians who are under-represented, such as First Nations or persons with disabilities.

    Employers wishing to hire a temporary foreign worker to Canada must pay a processing fee of CAD $1,000 for each request for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

    English and French are the only languages that can be determined as job requirements, both for LMIAs and for job vacancy advertisements, unless the employer can prove that another language is otherwise required for the position.

  4. 4
    LMIA Exempt Work Permits

    Canadian Employers usually require a positive LMIA outcome in order to hire temporary foreign workers. There are several cases, however, where the need for a LMIA may be waived.

    Some of the most common LMIA-exempt streams are outlined below.

    International Agreements

    Canada is a party to a number of international agreements that facilitate the entry of foreign workers. Admission of foreign workers under these agreements is considered of significant benefit to Canada and, as such, does not require a LMIA. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada-Chile FTA, Canada-Peru FTA, Canada-Columbia FTA are example of this case.

    Visit the NAFTA Work Permit section for more information on how to obtain a Work Permit under NAFTA.

    Entrepreneurs/Self-Employed Candidates

    A LMIA exemption may be granted to private entrepreneurs who wish to come to Canada temporarily in order to start or operate a business. Applicants to one of these programs must be the sole or majority owners of the business they wish to pursue in Canada. They will also have to demonstrate that their business will be of significant benefit to Canada. Entrepreneurs are only eligible for LMIA-exempt work permits if they can demonstrate that their work in Canada is temporary in nature. This category is particularly well suited to owners of seasonal businesses. Entrepreneurs who have already applied for Canadian permanent residence may also qualify for LMIA-exempt work permits in this category. Entrepreneurs are only eligible for LMIA-exempt work permits if they can demonstrate that their work in Canada is temporary in nature.

    Intra-Company Transferees

    Intra-Company Transferees may be granted a LMIA exemption for a temporary transfer to Canada. Transferees must be considered executives, managers, or specialized knowledge workers, and must work for a foreign company with a qualifying relationship to the company in Canada.

    International Exchange Programs

    Canada is a participant in a number of programs for international youth exchange. Such programs include the International Experience Canada (IEC) Working Holiday Visa, Student Co-op programs, Young Professionals programs, and teacher exchange programs. These programs are exempt from the need for a LMIA.

    Dependents Of Foreign Workers

    Spouses and children of Foreign Workers holding a Canadian work permit for a skilled position do not require a LMIA when applying for an Open Work Permit (OWP). Please note that this does not apply to the spouses of workers on an International Exchange Program.

    French-Speaking Skilled Workers

    Foreign nationals who have been recruited through a francophone immigration promotional event coordinated between the federal government and Francophone minority communities, and who are destined for a province or territory outside of Quebec and qualified under a National Occupational Classification (NOC) 0, A or B, may be eligible to work in Canada through Mobilité Francophone.

    Religious Workers

    The need for a LMIA for religious workers will vary depending on the kind of work to be done in Canada. A foreign national may work in Canada without a LMIA when the main duties are “spiritual”.


    This includes researchers, guest lecturers, and visiting professors.

    Provincial LMIA Exemptions

    Workers nominated by a province for permanent residence and who have obtained a job offer in that province may be exempt from the need for a LMIA.

    Note: Being exempt from obtaining a LMIA does not mean the individual is exempt from obtaining a work permit. All streams on the LMIA exemption list still require the individual to obtain a work permit to work in Canada legally.

  5. 5
    Nafta Work Permits

    Under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), American and Mexican citizens may be eligible for facilitated processing when applying for a temporary Work Permit in Canada.

    Work Permits under the provisions of NAFTA do not usually require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

    Although LMIA-exempt, workers and employers who use the NAFTA program must comply with all provisions governing temporary work in Canada.

    US citizens do not require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to enter Canada, but citizens of Mexico require one.

    NAFTA job categories:

    • NAFTA Professionals
    • NAFTA Intra-Company Transfers
    • NAFTA Traders and Investors

    NAFTA Professionals

    A NAFTA Professional must be qualified to work in one of approximately 60 targeted professions (see below). Depending on his or her profession, an applicant may be required to provide educational credentials and/or proof of work experience in the field.

    NAFTA Professionals must have pre-arranged employment in Canada in an occupation that matches their qualifications. Individuals who wish to perform self-employed work in Canada are not eligible for this category.

    NAFTA Intra-Company Transfers

    NAFTA Intra-Company Transferees must be transferred to Canada on a temporary basis in order to work for a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their US or Mexican employer. In addition, they must have worked continuously for their US or Mexican employer for at least one of the last three years and be employed by the company at the time of application. A NAFTA Intra-Company Transferee must work in a capacity that is considered managerial, executive, or involving specialized knowledge. For general information on intra-company transferees, including those covered under NAFTA, click here.

    NAFTA Traders and Investors

    A NAFTA Trader must demonstrate an intention to carry out substantial trade of goods or services between Canada and his or her country of citizenship (US or Mexico). A NAFTA Investor must demonstrate that he or she has made a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business and that he or she is seeking entry to Canada to develop and direct the Canadian business. Work permits in the NAFTA Investor category may also be granted to employees of the primary Investor who can be considered essential staff.

    NAFTA Professional Work Permits can be issued for the following professions:



    Social Worker

    Sylviculturist (including Forestry Specialist)

    Technical Publications Writer

    Urban Planner (including Geographer)

    Vocational Counsellor


    Agriculturist (including Agronomist)

    Animal Breeder

    Animal Scientist








    Dairy Scientist




    Geophysicist (including Oceanographer in Mexico & US)




    Physicist (including Oceanographer in Canada)

    Plant Breeder

    Poultry Scientist

    Soil Scientist





    Computer Systems Analyst

    Disaster relief Insurance Claims Adjuster




    Graphic Designer

    Hotel Manager

    Industrial Designer

    Interior Designer

    Land Surveyor

    Landscape Architect

    Lawyer (including Notary in the Province of Quebec)


    Management Consultant

    Mathematician (including Statistician)

    Range Manager/ Range Conservationalist

    Research Assistant (post-secondary educational institution)

    Medical/Allied Professional



    Medical Laboratory Technologist (Canada)

    Medical Technologist (Mexico and the United States)


    Occupational Therapist


    Physician (teaching or research only)

    Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist


    Recreational Therapist

    Registered Nurse






  6. 6
    Post Graduation Work Permit
    International students who complete a post-secondary education in Canada are eligible to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit.  This permit is an Open Work Permit allowing them to work in ANY job, without restrictions. An LMIA or a confirmation of job offer are not needed to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit.
    Once they have completed their studies in an eligible program (or school), international graduates can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, which allows them to work in Canada. It is extremely important to choose the right school to stud, to ensure you are eligible for the Post Graduate Work Permit).    Search for a PGWP Eligible School here

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, international students must:
    • have studied full-time for the eight months preceding the completion of their program (please see note below) and must have graduated from one of the following:
      • a public post-secondary educational institution (university, college, or CEGEP)
      • a private post-secondary educational institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions, and receives at least 50 per cent of its financing for operations from government grants
      • a Canadian private educational institution authorized by provincial or territorial statute to confer degrees
    • apply for a work permit within 90 daysof receiving written confirmation from their academic institution that they have met the requirements of their program.
    • have completed and passed the program of study and received written notification that they are eligible to obtain their degree, diploma, or certificate
    • have a valid study permit when applying for the work permit
    Important to note: If a graduate does not apply within 90 days or falls out of status by allowing their study permit to expire, they will not be eligible to apply for a post graduate work permit. It is important to apply within 90 days of confirmation of graduation and BEFORE your study permit expires. If your study permit will expire before you graduate, you must apply for an extension.
    Potential applicants should note that:
    • the program of study must be a minimum of two years for the graduate to obtain the three year work permit. However, if the program was less than two years but longer than eight months, the graduate can still obtain a work permit for the same duration as the program of study. In cases where a student has obtained a one year degree or diploma from an accredited educational institution within two years of having successfully completed a previous accredited Canadian post-secondary degree or diploma, he or she may qualify for a three-year open work permit
    • while a student must have been studying full time in the eight months preceding the date of application for an open work permit, an exception is made in the case where a student fulfills all the requirements except full time study in the last session of their program. For example, if a student only needs two courses in the final session to complete the program but all previous study has been full time, the student may still apply for the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program.
  7. 7
    Work While Studying

    International students with a valid study permit may work while studying in Canada without a work permit. Spouses/Common-law partners of foreign students can also work in Canada while their spouse is studying. The spouse can apply for an Open Work Permit which allows them to work in any job without restriction.

    Work On-Campus

    Full-time students who are enrolled at an institution may work at that institutions campus in any job without a work permit. Students may work at more than one campus of an institution, provided that they are in the same municipality. Students may be enrolled in any course to be eligible.
    The permitted institutions are:
    • Universities
    • Community Colleges
    • CEGEPs
    • Publicly Funded trade/technical schools
    • Private Institutions authorized by provincial statue to confer degrees
    In order to be eligible to work on-campus, international students must:
    • Hold a valid Study Permit
    • Be a full-time student

    Note:  International students must stop working on-campus on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements

    • Hold a valid Study Permit
    • Be a full-time student

    Note:  International students must stop working on-campus on the day you no longer meet the above eligibility requirements

    Working Off-Campus

    Foreign students may qualify to work off-campus without a work permit. This will allow them to:

    • work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and
    • work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.

    In order to be eligible to work off campus, international students must:

    • Hold a valid Study Permit
    • Be studying at a designated learning institution the post-secondary level or, in Quebec, a vocational program at the secondary level
    • Remain in satisfactory academic standing as determined by their institution
    • Be studying in an academic, vocational or professional training program that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate that is at least six months in duration.

    Note:  International students in Canada must stop working on the day they no longer meet the above eligibility requirements 

    The following international students are not eligible to work off-campus:

    • Students enrolled in an English as a Second Language or French as a Second Language program;
    • Students taking a general interest course or program; and
    • Visiting or exchange students at a designated learning institution.

    Working Off-Campus- certain cases

    Students working as graduate , research or teaching assistants may work off campus a locations related to their research grants. These locations must have a formal association or affiliation with he learning institution. This may include hospitals, clinics and research institutes.

    Co-op Work Permits

    International students pursuing a study program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada that requires a mandatory work placement or internship must apply for a co-op work permit in addition to a Canadian Study Permit.

    Post Graduate Work Permit

    Once an international student graduates, they can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit which is an Open Work Permit, allowing them to work in ANY job, without restrictions. An LMIA or a confirmation of job offer are not needed to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit.

    In order to be eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit you must:

    • apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program.
    • have completed and passed the program of study and received a notification that you are eligible to obtain your degree, diploma or certificate.
    • have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.
  8. 8
    Work without a Permit

    There are several occupations and situations where a foreigner is allowed to work without a work permit.

    An individual who is eligible to work without a work permit may still require a Temporary Resident Visa or an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to enter Canada on a temporary basis.

    In addition, one should be prepared to present immigration officials with documentation that attests to their desired status in Canada. This documentation will vary on a case-by-case basis. Often, items such as a letter of support from a parent company or letter of invitation from a Canadian company can help to bolster one’s likelihood of acceptance into Canada.

    The occupations that do not require a work permit are:

    • Athletes and team members
    • Aviation accident or incident inspector
    • Business visitor
    • Civil aviation inspector
    • Clergy
    • Convention organizers
    • Crew
    • Emergency service providers
    • Examiners and evaluators
    • Expert witnesses or investigators
    • Foreign government officers
    • Foreign representatives and Family members of foreign representatives
    • Health care students
    • Implied status
    • Judges, referees and similar officials
    • Military personnel
    • News reporters, media crews
    • On-campus employment and some Off-campus work
    • Performing artists
    • Public speakers

    Athletes and Team Members

    Professional or amateur athletes may travel to Canada to participate in sports activities or events in Canada either individually or as part of a team. Likewise, foreign coaches and trainers of foreign athletes, as well as other essential team members, may travel to Canada to participate in events.

    Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) gives the following examples of individuals who may be eligible under this exemption:

    • Amateur players on Canadian teams
    • Foreign pet owners entering their own animals in a show
    • Jockeys racing horses from foreign-based stables
    • Race car drivers
    • Individuals attending professional team tryouts
    • Foreign team members participating in a competition in Canada
    • Grooms or team support members
    • Full or part-time coaches and trainers

    The spouses of professional athletes are eligible for a LMIA exempt work permit for their time in Canada.

    Aviation Accident or Incident Inspector

    Accredited representatives and advisors who are assisting in the investigation of an aviation accident or incident may do so without securing a work permit. The investigation should be conducted under the authority of the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.

    Business Visitors

    There are a number of reasons why an individual may come to Canada as a business visitor, including:

    • Attending business meetings, conferences, conventions, fairs, etc
    • Buying Canadian goods or services on behalf of a foreign entity
    • Taking orders for goods or services
    • Providing after-sales service, excluding hands-on work in the construction trades
    • Being trained by a Canadian parent company for work outside of Canada
    • Training employees of a Canadian subsidiary of a foreign company

    The Business Visitor category facilitates entry for individuals (without a work permit) who engage in business or trade activities in Canada but will not enter the Canadian labour market. Individuals who plan to enter the Canadian labour market may require a Temporary Work Permit. In addition, a Business Visitor may still require a Temporary Resident Visa or an eTA (electronic Travel Authorization)to enter Canada on a temporary basis.

    There are a number of subdivisions under this category, but all business visitors must meet the following general criteria:

    • There must be no intent to enter the Canadian labour market (there will be no gainful employment in the country)
    • The worker’s activity in Canada must be international in scope (it is assumed that a business visitor will engage in cross-border activity of some sort)
    • For business visitors in Canada working for a foreign employer, the following criteria are assumed
      • The primary source of the worker’s compensation is outside of Canada
      • The principal place of employment is located outside of Canada
      • The employer’s profits are accrued outside of Canada

    When travelling to Canada, a business visitors should be prepared to present immigration officials with documentation that attests to their desired status in Canada. This documentation will vary on a case-by-case basis. Often, items such as a letter of support from a parent company or letter of invitation from a Canadian company can help to bolster one’s likelihood of acceptance as a business visitor.

    Business visitors may fall into the following sub-categories:

    After Sales Service

    After-sales service providers may come to Canada to repair, service, supervise installers, and set up and test commercial or industrial equipment. Such services must be detailed in the contract of sale for the equipment in Canada. Individuals coming to Canada to train prospective users or maintenance staff in the operation of specialized equipment may also fall under this category.

    Board of Directors Meetings

    Members of a board of directors who must enter Canada to attend a meeting are eligible to do so as business visitors. Though these individuals may be remunerated for their time in Canada, this does not constitute entry into the Canadian labour market.

    Employees of Short-Term Temporary Residents

    Individuals who are employed in a personal capacity, on a full-time basis, by temporary residents in Canada may be considered business visitors. An example of professions that may be eligible under this category include domestic servants, personal assistants or live-in caregivers. If the short-term temporary resident, and subsequently their employee(s), extends their stay past 6 months, a Labour Market Opinion and Work Permit may need to be secured for the employee(s).

    Employees of Foreign Companies Contracting Canadian Companies

    Situations arise in which foreign companies contract Canadian companies to provide services in Canada. In such a situation, the foreign company may wish to send one or more employees to Canada to ensure that the work is being carried out in a way that pleases the foreign company.

    If an employee of a foreign company is sent to Canada for this purpose, they may be considered a business visitor provided they fulfill the following criteria:

    • They remain an employee of the foreign company;
    • They remain on the payroll of the foreign company;
    • The foreign company remains the beneficiary of the employee’s efforts; and
    • The foreign company’s principal place of business remains outside of Canada.

    A business visitor in this category may remain in Canada for up to two years.

    Civil Aviation Inspectors

    Flight operations and cabin safety inspectors may inspect commercial international flights without needing a work permit. Inspectors should be employed by a recognized aeronautical authority and hold valid documentation attesting to this fact.


    An individual who preaches, oversees religious services, or provides spiritual counselling as a profession may work in Canada without a work permit. Individuals may be ordained ministers, laypeople, or members of a religious order. It is not mandatory that the temporary worker be part of or share the beliefs of the particular religious community where they will work. The primary duties of the temporary worker should reflect a particular religious objective, such as providing religious instruction or promoting a particular faith.

    Individuals seeking entry to Canada under this exemption should provide documentation attesting to the following:

    • The genuineness of the offer of employment; and
    • Their ability to minister to a congregation (credentials, past employment, etc)

    Persons who will be conducting charitable or religious work in Canada require a work permit; however, that permit is exempt from the Labour Market impact Assessment (LMIA) process.

    Convention Organizers

    This category covers individuals who come to Canada to organize a convention or conference, as well as the administrative support staff of the organizing committee. These events may be corporate meetings, trade shows, exhibitions, etc. Hands-on service providers, such as audio-visual specialists, are not included in this category.

    Convention organizers who have been hired to perform work for a Canadian event are not eligible to work without a work permit. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) defines a ‘Canadian event’ as one that is held by an organization located and actively doing business in Canada.

    Individuals attending conferences and meetings are considered business visitors and are exempt from the requirement for a work permit.


    Crew members do not need a work permit if they are working on a means of transportation that is foreign-owned, not registered in Canada, and engaged primarily in international transportation. They may work in an operation, maintenance, or passenger service capacity. Laws governing work conducted by crews on different modes of transportation vary greatly. As such, it is important to make sure that one’s work will in fact be eligible for a work permit exemption before coming to Canada.

    Emergency Service Providers

    Workers who will enter Canada to provide services in times of emergency may do so without a work permit. The purpose of their work should be preserving life and property in the face of natural disasters or commercial accidents.

    Canada has specifically entered into agreements with the United States to facilitate the movement of emergency aid workers across the border between the two countries. These workers may be doctors or medical teams as well as appraisers and foreign insurance adjusters.

    Examiners and Evaluators

    Foreign professors and researchers may need to enter Canada in order to evaluate theses and projects conducted by their students. In this case, they may do so without obtaining a work permit.

    Expert Witnesses or Investigators

    Experts who must enter Canada in order to conduct surveys or analyses that will be used as evidence, or who will testify as expert witnesses before a regulatory body or court of law, may do so without requiring a work permit.

    Foreign Representatives and their Family Members

    Foreign representatives, as well as their personal staff and family members, may work in Canada without a work permit. Foreign representatives should be accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Diplomatic representatives to United Nations offices in Canada are also covered by this exception.

    Family members of foreign representatives must receive a ‘no objection letter’ by the Protocol Department of DFAIT in order to work without a work permit.

    Health Care Students

    Foreign health care students studying at foreign institutions may participate in clinical clerkships or short-term practicums in Canada without obtaining work permits. Students may be studying in fields such as medicine, nursing, medical technology and occupational and physical therapy. Such practicums should be unpaid and last no more than four months. Foreign health care students who will be remunerated for their work, or who will spend more than four months in Canada, will require a work permit.

    Judges, Referees, and Similar Officials

    Judges, referees, etc may come to Canada to participate in international amateur sports, artistic, agricultural or cultural events and competitions.

    Amateur sports competitions should be organized by an international amateur sport organization and should be hosted by a Canadian organization. In this case, amateur is defined as a competition in which athletes are not paid to compete. Judges, referees and similar officials who will participate in professional sports competitions must receive a positive LMIA and work permit.

    Military Personnel

    Military and civilian personnel in Canada under the auspices of the Visiting Forces Act may work and study without permits. The families of these individuals are also covered by these exemptions.

    In addition, military personnel are exempt from requirements for a passport, from a temporary resident visa, and from foreign national medical examinations. Civilians and family members are still required to obtain these documents, if necessary.

    News Reporters, Media Crews

    News reporters and their crews who come to Canada in order to report on events in the country may do so without a work permit. These can include journalists, provided the company they work for is not Canadian. However, this does not include managerial or clerical personnel unless these individuals are covering special events that will last for six months or less.

    Generally speaking, media crews who come to Canada to produce travelogues, documentaries, etc are required to secure work permits. However, such decisions are left to the discretion of the Canadian Visa Officer reviewing their application.

    Performing Artists

    Many foreign performing artists may work in Canada without a work permit. However, some types of performers/performances require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and Work Permit.

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) has outlined some common performers/performances and their immigration requirements:

    Entry Without a Work PermitWork Permit and LMIA Required
    Foreign-based musical and theatrical individuals and groups and their essential crew, working outside bars and restaurantsBands performing at bars, pubs, restaurants, etc
    Street performers (buskers), DJs working outside a bar, restaurant or similar establishmentActors, singers, crew, etc in Canadian theatrical productions, shows, circuses
    A foreign or traveling circusAny individual involved in making films, TV, internet or radio broadcasts
    Guest artists (not employed) within a Canadian performance group for a time-limited engagementAny individual who will be in an employment relationship with the organization or business contracting for their services in Canada
    Persons performing at a private event, such as a weddingA performer in a Canadian-based production or show
    Artists attending or working at a showcase/workshop; which may include competing, judging competitors, demonstrating their skill, holding a class related to the showcase/workshopRodeo performers or side show workers, such as rodeo clowns and announcers, horsemanship or trick riding displays, ‘half-time acts’ and other specialty act entertainers
    Visual artists creating or displaying their own work (typically for no more than 5 days) 
    Rodeo contestants, such as bronc-riders, steer-ropers, barrel racers 

    In addition to the aforementioned scenarios, certain performers may work in Canada without a work permit under different sub-categories. They are:

    • Film producers (business visitors)
    • Film and recording studio users (business visitors)
    • Persons doing guest spots on Canadian TV and radio broadcasts (Guest speakers)

    Guest artists who have been invited to perform with a Canadian group are covered under this exception as long as their invitation is for a ‘time-limited engagement’. For the purposes of immigration, this time limit is usually no more than two weeks, though flexibility is permitted. A guest artist who is invited to rehearse and perform for a longer duration of time, such as a performance season, will require a LMIA and work permit.

    In order to work without a work permit, a performing artist should not enter into an employment situation in Canada. That is, they should not be the long-term employee of a Canadian organization, individual, or establishment.

    Public Speakers

    Guest speakers at events, commercial speakers and seminar leaders can present in Canada without needing a work permit. For the purposes of this exemption, ‘seminar’ is defined as a small class or intensive course of study no longer than five days.

    Commercial speakers in this category will have a vested interest in the event in which they are speaking. Usually, this means that they will rent a commercial space, advertise for the event, charge admission, etc. Commercial speakers who are hired by a Canadian entity must secure a LMIA and work permit for their time in Canada.

  9. 9
    Working Holiday

    This program is designed for young individuals between 18 – 35 to come to Canada and work on a temporary basis (1 or 2 years)

    * The IEC program officially opened on November 3rd, 2017 for the 2018 period. Get into the pool now while there are still spots available!

    Citizens of specific countries with a bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada who are between 18 and 35 years old can get an Open Work Permit to work in Canada. See the list of countries here

    The IEC program is composed of three categories:

    • Working Holiday
    • Young Professionals
    • International Co-op

    Working Holiday

    Participants in this program can receive an open work permit, valid for one to two years. Open work permits allow participants to work anywhere in Canada for almost any Canadian employer. Nationals of some countries may be allowed to stay in Canada for more or less than one year.

    Young Professionals

    Under this program, citizens of participating countries can gain valuable international experience by working for a Canadian company. A signed job offer letter or contract of employment with a Canadian employer related to the applicant’s professional development is required before applying.The job offered must be classified as a National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B.

    International Co-op

    This program allows citizens of participating countries who are enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their country of citizenship to spend a period of time interning for Canadian companies. Participants must arrange co-op placements with Canadian employers before applying. Applicants must be registered students for the duration of the internship.

    Eligibility requirements for the IEC program

    Candidates must:

    • be a citizen (passport holder) of one of the 33 countries that have a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada;
    • have a valid passport for the duration of their stay in Canada (the work permit issued will not be longer than the validity of the passport),
    • be between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35 at the time of application (the upper age limit depends on the applicant’s country of citizenship);
    • have the equivalent of $2,500 CAN upon landing to help cover initial expenses;
    • be able to take out health insurance for the duration of their stay (participants may have to present evidence of this insurance at the point of entry in Canada);
    • be admissible to Canada;
    • have, prior to departure, a round-trip ticket or the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket for the end of their authorized stay in Canada,
    • not be accompanied by dependents; and
    • pay the appropriate fees.
    Please note that specific age and eligibility requirements may vary by country.

    Application Process

    Eligible candidates must submit an IEC profile to express interest in the IEC program under one (or more) of the three categories, if they are eligible.  All profiles are placed into the appropriate category pool(s) and candidates are randomly selected during scheduled “Rounds”  of invitations.  Each country has a specific schedule of when Invitation Rounds are being held.

    Invitations to Apply (ITA) are issued in the following order of priority:

    1. International Internship (Co-op)
    2. Young Professionals
    3. Working Holiday

    When a candidate is selected, they are given an Invitation to Apply (ITA) at which point they have 10 days to accept the invitation.  Once a candidates accepts an ITA, they have 20 days to apply for a work permit.  It is important to submit a duly completed application with all accompanying evidence as required.  Failure to do so will result in refusal, and you must start the whole process over again.  When an application is refused, you will have to wait to the following year to be selected again.  Retain our firm to ensure your application is prepared properly and not refused. We help candidates in 90+ countries with their immigration applications.

    If the application is successful, a letter of introduction (LOI) will be issued.  This letter is to be presented upon arrival at a Port of Entry (such as an international airport) in Canada, whereupon a work permit will be issued.

    Although no work permit extensions are authorized under the IEC program, there are certain scenarios that allow participants to increase the validity of an IEC work permit.

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