Many Canadian permanent residents and citizens initially moved to Canada as workers on work permits. Applying for a work permit may be your first step towards becoming a Canadian permanent resident.
When you become a Canadian Permanent Resident, you’ll have the right to work in Canada without a work permit. You will also be able to live and work anywhere in Canada without restrictions.
The Canadian work experience you gain while on a work permit may increase your eligibility to apply under some of the Canadian permanent residency programs. These include:
- Express Entry:
- Provincial nominees (PNPs)
The value you will receive under each of these programs due to your level of Canadian work experience may vary.
Types of Canadian work permits
There are different types of Canadian work permit. If you may be issued work permit based on a job offer from a Canadian employer. You otherwise be eligible for another category that requires the employer to apply for, and receive a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Other work permit types may be based on whether you have previous Canadian education, spousal sponsorship or some other form of connection to Canada.
No LMIA needed but job offer or employment contract required
Some work categories do not require an LMIA for you to work in Canada. These are generally referred to as LMIA exempt. They include work permits associated with certain international trade agreements such as NAFTA and CETA as well as the transfer of some employees within multinational companies.
Open Work Permits: no LMIA or job offer needed
You may be eligible for an open work permit if you:
- applied for permanent residence in Canada;
- are a dependent family member of someone who applied for permanent residence;
- are the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker or international student;
- are an international student who graduated from a designated learning institution and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program;
- are the spouse or common-law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program.
In each of these situations, you must meet additional criteria to be eligible.
LMIA required Work Permits
In order for you to work in certain roles in Canada, you require an approved (positive) LMIA. If the job you intend to do requires an LMIA, the employer in Canada would need to get it before hiring you. You cannot apply for an LMIA.
The LMIA option is a two-step process. It requires that the employer first applies for and receives a positive LMIA. You would then need to apply for a work permit based on the positive LMIA that the employer has received.
A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for you to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job.
How an employer applies for an LMIA will differ depending on the salary the employer will be paying. In most instances, employers are required to include evidence in their application showing that they made substantial efforts to recruit Canadian citizens and permanent residents to fill the position before hiring you.
After the LMIA application is made
If the Canadian authorities approve the LMIA application, the employer will issued a positive LMIA. The employer will then be able to provide you with this positive LMIA to use as the basis for your work permit application. If the LMIA application is refused (negative LMIA), the employer would not be able to hire you.
Let us help you
Coming to Canada as a worker can be an effective way to transition to Canadian permanent residency. Let us help you with your Canadian work permit application. Book a free 15 minute call with us now!