Foreign Workers In Canada: How Long Can They Work On A Permit?

by | Apr 4, 2023

As a business owner, you may be looking to bring foreign nationals to Canada for employment. However, you may have questions regarding the processing time for a work permit application. Let’s discuss some important factors that can impact the time it takes to process a work permit application in Canada.

LMIA Application Process

One of the primary factors that impact the processing time of a work permit application is whether or not you, as the employer, need to apply for an LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment). The LMIA application process takes a minimum of two weeks, but it can often take much longer. The LMIA process generally involves placing local advertisements for a minimum of four weeks before you can submit the application. After submitting the application, it can take several weeks or months for it to be assessed. In general, the LMIA application process can take up to several months, but if you’re eligible to apply under a special program known as the Global Skill Strategy (GSS), you may be able to get your LMIA processed in as little as two weeks.

Work Permit Application Process

Once the LMIA application is processed, there is the actual work permit application, which has its own processing time. The processing times for a work permit application can vary depending on the country from which the employee is applying. Processing times may vary from country to country depending on file volumes at the local processing office. Additionally, the work permit processing time will also be dependent on whether or not the employee falls into the category that makes them eligible for application under the GSS. In the best-case scenario, you could potentially get an LMIA within two weeks, and the employee could potentially get their work permit in another two weeks.

Visa-Exempt Countries

The processing time for a work permit application also depends on the country from which the employee is coming. Citizens of certain countries are exempt from having to apply for a visa to come to Canada. If your employee is coming from a visa-exempt country, they may be able to book their flight and be issued their work permit upon arrival at the Canadian airport or border. In this situation, there would be no processing time. However, if the employee is coming from a country that requires them to submit their work permit application through a consular office, the processing time will vary depending on the country’s processing times at the time of submission.


In summary, the processing time for a work permit application in Canada can vary greatly depending on different factors, such as the LMIA application process, the country from which the employee is applying, and whether or not the employee is from a visa-exempt country. In some cases, the processing time can be as little as two weeks, but it can also take several months. As a business owner, it’s important to understand the processing time and plan accordingly to ensure that the application process goes as smoothly as possible.


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