Work Permit Canada

Canadian Work Permits: An Overview of Available Options

Canada’s need for foreign workers has become increasingly evident in recent years due to several factors. Canada is faced with an aging population which has led several industries to face a shrinking labour force. To fill the labour shortages the Canadian government has turned to immigration to fill those needs. Canada attracts many foreign nationals with both permanent and temporary pathways. In this blog, we will focus on the different types of temporary work visas available for skilled workers.

Work Permit Canada

Types of Work Permits in Canada

In Canada, work permits can be divided into two main types. Permits that require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permits under the International Mobility Program (IMP).


A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for foreign nationals to obtain a work permit. The LMIA is a process where employers must demonstrate to the Canadian government that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively affect the domestic workforce. It aims to ensure that the employment of foreign workers does not displace Canadian workers or lower their wages. 


On the other hand, there is the International Mobility Program (IMP), which includes work permits that are exempt from the LMIA requirement. Under free trade agreements like the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), foreign workers can apply for work permits without their employers needing to obtain an LMIA. These LMIA-exempt work permits allow for more flexibility in hiring foreign workers. Additionally, there are various work permit options available under the IMP for foreign workers without a job offer, including working holiday permits, post-graduate work permits, and open spousal work permits. These options enable individuals to work in Canada without the need for an LMIA. 


By categorizing work permits into the LMIA and the IMP, Canada provides different pathways for foreign workers to obtain work permits based on their specific circumstances and employment arrangements.

Work Permit Canada

Employer-Specific Work Permit 

Employer-Specific Work permits are tied to a specific employer in Canada. It requires the employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), in most cases demonstrating that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact the domestic labor market. It allows individuals to work for a specific employer and is typically job-specific.


Here are the most common employer-specific work permits:


  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): This program allows Canadian employers in Canada to hire foreign workers for a specific job that cannot be filled by Canadian citizens or permanent residents.


  • International Mobility Program (IMP): IMP allows work permits to be issued without the LMIA requirement. Work permits issued under this program include free-trade agreements such as the Canada-United States- Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and intra-company transferees. Although a LMIA requirement is not required for trade agreements such as CUSMA, typically only certain occupations are permissible based on the agreement. 


  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP): This program allows employers in the agricultural sector to hire foreign workers on a seasonal basis to meet the labor demands in sectors like fruit picking, harvesting, and other agricultural activities. It requires a specific job offer from a designated employer.


  • Caregiver Program: The caregiver program allows foreign workers to come to Canada as caregivers for children, elderly individuals, or people with medical needs. These work permits are employer-specific and are issued under specific requirements and pathways for caregiver employment.


  • Global Talent Stream (GTS): The GTS is a specialized program designed to facilitate the hiring of highly skilled foreign workers in certain occupations. It allows employers to bring in workers with unique expertise or in-demand skills without the need for a traditional LMIA, thus expediting the work permit process.
Work Permit Canada

Open Work Permit 

Now that we have covered employer-specific permits, it is time to discuss open work permits. Where an employer work permit ties your stay in Canada to the specific employer, an open work permit provides the flexibility to work for any employer in Canada without a job offer. It is also not tied to any specific occupation.

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit: This permit is available to international students who have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution in Canada. It allows them to gain valuable Canadian work experience related to their field of study after graduation. The duration of the work permit depends on the length of the program completed.


  • International Experience Canada (IEC) Work Permit: This program offers open work permits to young individuals from partner countries, providing them with an opportunity to gain work experience in Canada. It includes categories such as Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op, allowing individuals to work for any employer in Canada.


  • Spousal Open Work Permit: This permit is for sponsored spouses or common-law partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. It provides them the eligibility for an open work permit as they wait for their permanent residency. 


  • Bridging Open Work Permit: This permit is designed to bridge the gap between the expiration of a temporary work permit and the processing of an application for permanent residency. It allows individuals with a pending application for permanent residency to continue working in Canada while awaiting a decision.


  • Refugee Claimant Open Work Permit: Individuals who have made a refugee claim in Canada and are awaiting a decision on their claim may be eligible for a refugee claimant open work permit. This permit allows them to work for any employer while their refugee claim is being processed.
Work Permit Canada

Obtaining a Permanent Residency Work Permit in Canada

There are different paths to permanent residency with a work permit but generally, the most efficient path is through the Express Entry. Having Canadian work experience in Canada or receiving a permanent job offer, can help increase your application’s Comprehensive Ranking Score, making you a more viable candidate for each draw.


Canada Experience Class (CEC)


The Canadian Experience Class is an immigration program that allows individuals who have gained professional work experience in Canada to apply for permanent residency. This is the most popular option for temporary workers looking to stay permanently. Under the CEC the eligibility requirement is to have at least 2 years of Canadian work experience or have completed post-secondary education in Canada and have 1 year of full time Canadian work experience.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)


The Federal Skilled Worker Program is an immigration program that allows skilled workers with work experience in a designated occupation to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents. If you receive an offer for permanent employment while on your temporary work permit, you will be awarded additional points.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)


Each province has its own economic needs, and to fill them, the Canadian government created the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). It is an immigration program that allows provinces to nominate individuals who have the skills and experience needed in their province and territories for permanent residency. Each province and territory has its own specific PNP streams and criteria, which are aligned with its local labour market needs. Most of the programs offer favorability to individuals who have had economic connection to the province such as work experience or an offer for a permanent position. 

Work Permit Canada

With over a decade of experience, we have helped individuals and employers navigate the complexities of the Canadian immigration system and secure various types of work permits. Our extensive knowledge covers a wide range of industries, from agriculture to high-skilled professions under programs like Express Entry. We understand the unique requirements and challenges associated with different work permit categories and have successfully assisted clients in achieving their immigration goals. Our team of experienced consultants stays up-to-date with the latest immigration policies and regulations to provide accurate and reliable advice tailored to each client’s specific circumstances. Whether you are an employer seeking to hire foreign workers or an individual looking to work in Canada, Canada by Choice is committed to delivering personalized, comprehensive, and effective solutions to meet your work permit needs.

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The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

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