Foreign Workers in Canada: Can They Apply for Permanent Residency?

by | May 29, 2023

If you’re a Canadian employer who has supported a foreign worker’s work permit application, you may be wondering whether that employee can apply for Canadian permanent residency while staying in Canada. The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, there are multiple options available for foreign employees to apply for Canadian permanent residency once they arrive in Canada and start working. Let’s explore the details.

Understanding the Eligibility and Process

When a Canadian employer supports the work permit application of a foreign worker, and the worker comes to Canada and begins working for the employer, they can indeed apply for Canadian permanent residency from inside Canada. The availability of this opportunity depends on whether the employee meets the requirements associated with each option available to them. The processing speed will vary depending on the specific permanent residency program they choose to apply under.

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

In most cases, foreign nationals in Canada who seek permanent residency do so through the federal program known as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This program is managed by the Express Entry system, an application system that streamlines the process. To be eligible for the CEC, applicants must have been employed inside Canada for at least one year.

While this requirement may impact the processing time for the permanent residency application, the CEC remains the preferred option for many foreign workers in Canada. It serves as a pathway for transitioning from temporary residency or work permit status to permanent residency.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

In addition to the federal program, foreign workers in Canada may also be eligible to apply for permanent residency under one of the provincial programs. Different provinces in Canada have their own routes to permanent residency within their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). These programs are designed to meet the specific demands of each province and cater to different types of foreign workers.

The provincial program options available to a foreign worker depend on the province in which they are located and where they are carrying out their duties. It’s essential to explore the possibilities within the respective provincial nominee programs to maximise the chances of obtaining permanent residency.

Advantages for Employees with Job Offers

Foreign workers who are in Canada on a work permit supported by an employer may enjoy certain advantages, particularly if they were initially issued a job offer by the Canadian employer. This advantage becomes relevant when applying under the federal Canadian Experience Class. Depending on the nature of the employee’s work, they may receive additional points towards their permanent residency application, increasing their chances of success.

However, it’s crucial to note that these advantages are limited to employees who meet specific requirements outlined by the respective programs. Therefore, it’s important to assess the eligibility criteria and understand the potential benefits of a job offer within the immigration process.


In summary, foreign workers in Canada on work permits supported by Canadian employers have the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residency once they arrive in Canada. The availability of multiple options, including federal and provincial programs, allows them to pursue their goal of obtaining permanent residency. Whether through the Canadian Experience Class or provincial nominee programs, foreign workers can navigate the immigration process and work towards long-term stability in Canada.


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