How to Get a Work Permit in Canada


The Canada work permit is issued to temporary workers in Canada, visitors, and students, for example, students running internship programs in Canada. Getting a work permit in Canada may be very similar to applying to get a permanent residence permit but they serve entirely different purposes. While the permanent residence permit as the name suggests is what you can apply for if you intend to permanently relocate to Canada, the work permit is a temporary visa for the period the applicant will be in Canada. There are several Canadian visa types apart from Canada’s work permit. We have sketchily mentioned the permanent residence permit above. You can also read more on how to get an invitation to apply for a permanent residence permit and work permit. There is the work visa, permanent residence visas, visitor visas, student visas, express entry visas, and business immigrant visas.


How to get a work permit in Canada is a very frequently asked question. It is a two-step process. Firstly, before looking forward to getting a work permit in Canada it would be assumed that you already have a job in Canada.  Applying and being called for a job is first, then applying for your work permit follows. We have put together what you need to know about some of the highest-paying jobs and how you can apply to work for them here.

How to Apply for Canada Work Permit

Before applying for a work permit, it is first important to find out your eligibility status, that is if you are eligible for the visa, you are about to apply for. You can be ineligible for a work permit and still be referred to apply for another kind of visa depending on the details your profile offers when you fill out the online questionnaire provided by the Canadian government.


After confirming your eligibility status, to apply, you must also create an online profile for your application. The next step is to compile your document file. This is a makeup of the necessary documents that will be needed to process your application. Then, pay your fees. The next steps after these are to wait for your Canadian visa (if your application has been processed and approved). Finally, you have to submit your passport and a processing fee that concludes your application process.

What Happens After Applying for a Canada Work Permit?

You will get your work permit at the port of entry when you arrive in Canada. Some things can cause delays in how your application is processed. If you book a biometric clearance on time, it can save you the delay. Also, if you have to carry out a medical examination, the processing of the result can delay your application process by a month or two. The work permit that you will receive at the port of entry will let you know what kind of work you are eligible to do, who you can work for, where you can work and how long you can work. All these details differ per applicant. They are derived from your application process and the information you provided about yourself.  The letter you receive if your application is approved is called a port of entry letter of introduction. The duration applications take to be processed differs, especially based on the kind of application done. For now, applications for Canadian work permits are done online. This includes even those within Canada during the time of application because of covid-19 guidelines and restrictions. You are also very eligible to apply for a Canadian work permit if you are awaiting a permanent residence permit. After applying, if your application is considered, you will be contacted to send some supporting documents which are necessary for the processing of your application. You have 30 days from when you are contacted to act accordingly, else, your application will become invalid. So, for your safety and best interest, you can start collecting your documents after submitting your application in preparation for when you will be contacted.  Remember that some things like medical examinations can take a while so follow up on time. Applications that are approved usually take about 30 working days which is approximately 6 weeks. Canada’s work permit is temporary. Because of this, having an approved work permit does not guarantee permanent status. The duration of work permits varies between applicants and this is largely based on the kind of work permit that you receive. Visas for students, visitors, and interns are usually for a shorter period. Generally, the maximum a work permit can admit is 48 months which is 4 years. At the end of the 4 years, foreigners whose work permits are expired have to return to their home countries. They only become eligible again after a period of another 4 years. This marks a distinction between temporary work permits and a permanent residence permit that admits a permanent status for living in Canada. Read this to see how you can make changes to an application you have already submitted. One very important piece of information that applicants, whether within or outside Canada must note is that every work permit they have is employer-bound. What this means is that you cannot suddenly decide to change jobs after your work permit has been issued. If for any reason you have a change of job, you must apply for a new work permit. This is because every application made in this regard is followed by an attachment of your job offer letter. A different job offer makes your initial work permit invalid. The only exception to this is if the applicant got an open permit. Applying for an open work permit will have its differences from applying for the “conventional” Canada Work permit.

Canada Work Permit Requirements

Your application is accessed after your documents are confirmed. If you perhaps do not have all the necessary documents including your biometrics, and by that ineligible, your application will not be processed. Read on carefully to know the documents required to process your application.

  • Job offer letter: Your job offer letter is your employment letter from an opening in Canada. It is different from a contract letter so; it describes you as a temporary worker and gives off a little information about the job offer. Your job offer letter will provide information regarding your pay, the amount to be deducted from the pay taxation or any other condition, job role, and work hours. Also, your employer will help you get an offer of employment letter which is to be included in your application for a work permit.
  • Police clearance certificate: This is one of the many ways that the Canadian government wants to be assured of who they are issuing a visa. Your police clearance certificate is gotten from a police officer in your country as proof that you have not been involved in any criminal case. It will describe you as a law-abiding citizen. This is to ensure you are not a threat to the security of Canada.
  • For your Canadian work permit, your biometrics/fingerprint is also needed.
  • You can also be required to carry out a medical exam.
  • You also have to pay an employer compliance fee.
  • You must prove to the officer at the consulate or o entry that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires.
  • Also, provide a piece of evidence that you can live and cater to your needs for at least two to three months from when you move into Canada.

Some other requirements are solely based on the officer you encounter. Canadian work permit requirements are very similar to the requirements for a permanent residence requirement. In the case of a work permit application, you must attach a job offer letter or its equivalent as the case may be. See other requirements in this article.

Is Canada Work Visa and Work Permit the Same?

The Canada work visa and work permit have different functions that they carry out. Thus, they are not the same. With a Canada visa or any kind of visa, you have entry to Canada or any other country that gave you, their visa. For Canada’s work permit, it explains our reason for migrating into the country and provides information as to how long you will live in Canada. As a result, even the process of getting both is not the same. While you can be processing both simultaneously, you will often process your Canada visa at the Canadian embassy in your country of residence. Your visa is a document you will travel with to grant you entry into Canada. A permit is processed by Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada (IRCC). As we stated earlier, since, after covid19, the process has been taking place online. Also, applicants for the Canadian work permit can either be within or outside of Canada while applicants for the Canadian visa are people looking out to immigrate to Canada, hence, they are outside of Canada at the time of application. Canada’s work permit is not such a difficult thing. You can follow the step-by-step procedures outlined here and, in the articles, also linked here to get yourself a Canadian work permit. Remember what is key is that you, first of all, confirm your eligibility status, open an account or profile, get your documents ready, check regularly, and above all, be optimistic about it as you put in efforts into your application.

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