Work Permit

Work Permits

Work permits are required for foreign workers who enter Canada to work on a temporary basis and ease skill shortages in Canada.

If you are currently residing in a country outside of Canada and are wishing to apply for a work permit, there are several mandatory documents that you must have ready for submission.

If you are currently residing in Canada and are wishing to apply for a work permit, you will have to satisfy all of the conditions for an individual applying for a work permit outside of Canada (refer to above) with additional steps that need to be taken.

If you want to work in Canada, you must understand the following important information:

  • Your employer helps determine if you are eligible. Your employer may need to get a labour market opinion from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). A labour market opinion confirms that the employer can fill the job with a foreign worker. To find more information about which jobs do not require a labour market opinion, see Eligibility to apply. You can also find out more about HRSDC labour market opinions in the Frequently asked questions section.
  • To work in Canada, you must meet the general requirements for entering the country and for staying here, in addition to those for getting a work permit. This means you may need a temporary resident visa. For more information on visas, see Visiting Canada.
  • A work permit is not an immigration document. It does not allow you to live in Canada permanently. To live here permanently, you must qualify under an immigration category, such as skilled worker. Live–in caregivers can stay in Canada permanently if they meet certain requirements. For more information, see Immigrating to Canada and the Live-In Caregiver Program.
  • If you want your spouse or common–law partner and your dependent children to come with you to Canada, they must apply to do so.

If your family members want to work in Canada

If you are authorized to work in Canada, your accompanying family members may also be able to work here by virtue of the permit you have obtained yourself. No other authorization is required. If they intend to work while in Canada, they should find out if they are eligible for an “open” work permit. Open work permits allow them to work in any job with any employer. An open work permit also means that they may be hired without the employer having to obtain a labour market opinion (the normal authorization required). Certain jobs may require medical checks or licensing from professional organizations. Their work permits will be valid for the duration of your own work permit.

Your spouse’s (and in some cases your children’s) eligibility for open work permits depends on the skill level of your job. You must also be authorized to work in Canada for at least six months. Note that open work permits for dependent children are available on a trial basis in participating provinces only. Accompanying family members must always apply for their own work permit. They should apply for one at the same time as you, before entering Canada. If they only decide to work after they arrive, they can apply once they are here.

New regulatory changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program took effect as of April 1st, 2011 which affect employers and temporary foreign workers.

Regulatory changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, in consultation with stakeholders, worked collaboratively to develop amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. These changes will help strengthen the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and provide further protections for temporary foreign workers while alleviating temporary labour shortages.

As a result of these amendments, there are important changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that affect employers and temporary foreign workers starting on April 1, 2011.

Highlights of the changes include:

1. A more rigorous assessment of the genuineness of the job offer;

- The genuineness of a job offer to a foreign worker, including a review of four factors for all work permit applications processed

  • The employer is actively engaged in the business;
  • The job offer is consistent with needs of the employer;
  • The employer is reasonably able to fulfill the terms of the job offer; and
  • The employer has complied with federal/provincial/territorial laws regulating employment in the province/territory where the worker will be employed.

2. A two-year prohibition from hiring temporary foreign workers for employers who have failed to meet their commitments to workers with respect to wages, working conditions and occupation;

- Workers are advised to protect themselves by consulting CIC’s employer ineligibility website prior to entering into or extending an employment agreement to determine if the employer they are planning to work for has been deemed ineligible to use the TFWP.

- Temporary foreign workers cannot enter into an agreement, or an extension of an existing agreement with an employer who has been deemed ineligible to use the TFWP. Doing so will result in the worker’s loss of temporary resident status in Canada.

3. A limit on the length of time a temporary foreign worker may work in Canada before returning home.

- The cumulative duration regulation establishes a maximum allowable duration of four years that a temporary foreign worker can work in Canada, followed by a period of four years in which the worker would not be eligible to work in Canada. It takes effect April 1, 2011 for all TFWs; therefore, the earliest date that a TFW could reach the four-year cumulative duration is April 1, 2015.

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