A work permit is a legal document that allows its holder to work in Canada. The IRCC issues two kinds of work permits, an Employer specific and an Open work permit.
Work permits are a staple for students, newcomers and temporary residents who wish to work in Canada. It is obtained through programs like the Post Graduate work permit program for international students, the Temporary Foreign Workers program for essential foreign workers and the International Mobility program for eligible youth of countries that have an agreement with Canada. The 2021 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration placed the number of work permit holders in 2020 at 242,130 under the International Mobility Program (IMP) and 84,609 under the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs).
What is the difference between an Employer specific work permit and an Open work permit?
An employer-specific work permit allows the holder to work for a specific Canadian employer at a specific location. Due to the nature of this work permit, applicants must provide an employment contract, a positive Labour market impact assessment (LMIA) and an offer of employment.
On the other hand, an open work permit allows an individual to work for any employer anywhere in Canada.
Who can apply for a work permit?
There are specific requirements that every applicant must fulfil regardless of the type of work permit they’re applying for. As per the IRCC, every applicant must:
- Prove their intention to leave Canada when their work permit expires.
- Have money to take care of themselves and other dependents for the course of their stay in Canada
- Obey Canadian laws and have no previous record of criminal activity
- Not be a security threat to Canada
- Be in good health
- Not work for an ineligible Canadian employer
- Provide any additional documents as required by immigration officials
What are the eligibility requirements if you apply from inside Canada?
Applications for a work permit from inside Canada are reserved for applicants who:
- have a valid study or work permit
- have a spouse or common-law partner with a valid study or work permit
- are eligible for a Post-graduation work permit and have a valid study permit
- have a temporary resident permit valid for six months or more
- are awaiting a decision on their permanent residency application for the in-Canada spousal class and temporary resident permit holder class
- made a refugee protection claim
- are recognized as a refugee or protected person
- are eligible under international agreements like the Canada-United States- Mexico Agreements (CUSMA)
How to apply for a Canadian work permit?
The procedure for application starts at the IRCC portal. You will have to specify where you’re applying from, whether it’s outside Canada, inside or at a port of entry. After checking the appropriate boxes, you can create an IRCC account to submit your application, pay your fees and check your application status.
Applying from outside Canada
Applicants from outside Canada will have to fill a form IMM 1295 for ‘Work Permit Made Outside of Canada’
Applying from inside Canada
Applicants applying from inside Canada have to fill out the form IMM 5710 for ‘Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker.’
The form requires you to fill in the sections for:
- Personal details- including your name, gender, date of birth, country of birth, immigration status and marital status.
- National identity document
- Contact Information, including your current mailing address, residential address, phone no.
- Background on entering Canada, including data on the date and place where you entered, the purpose of your visit, your most recent Visitor record and study or work permit.
- Your intended work in Canada- including the type of work permit you’re applying for:
- Co-op Work Permit
- Exemption from Labour Market Impact Assessment
- Labour Market Impact Assessment Stream
- Live-in Caregiver Program
- Open Work Permit
- Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers
- Post-Graduation Work Permit
- Start-up Business Class
- Employment and
- Background information
What is the processing time for a Canadian work permit
Work permit applications (initial and extensions) from inside Canada have a processing time of 168 days for online applications and 81 days for paper applications.
The processing time for applications made from outside Canada varies with each country. For example, work permit applications from India have a processing time of 8 weeks.
What is the cost of a Canadian work permit?
The processing fee for a Canadian work permit is $155. Applicants for an Open-work permit must pay an additional Open work permit holder fee of $100.
What happens after you apply for a work permit?
Once you’ve submitted your application, you can continue to track its status from your IRCC profile.
If you apply from outside Canada and are approved, you’ll receive a port of entry letter of introduction. This letter should be presented at the port of entry; your work permit will also be issued here the day you arrive.
If you apply from inside Canada, you’ll receive your new work permit by mail at the Canadian address provided on the application. Once you receive your work permit, you can start working in Canada.