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Work Permit for Canada: Types, Requirements, Eligibility, and Application Process

Bhavya Rawal Bhavya Rawal
Study Abroad Expert

A Canadian work permit is a document that is issued by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The permit authorizes a person to work legally in Canada. Though this permit allows an international applicant to work in Canada, it also sets out certain conditions for the worker. These include-

  • Type of work
  • The employer they can work for,
  • Work location
  • Work duration

International immigration from 2017-18 to Canada accounted for around 80% growth in the Canadian population. International students and visitors on a Canadian work visa were around 78,880 in 2017. A contribution of 31 Billion CAD to the economy is made through the jobs available for international applicants.

Work after Graduation in Canada

An international student can work temporarily after completing his/ her graduation from a college or university in Canada. They would require a Canadian work visa to be eligible to work after graduation. The Canadian work experience can help international applicants to apply for PR through Canadian Experience Class Express Entry. The types of post-study work permit are as follows:

  • Post Graduation Work Permit
  • Other types of work permit
    • Open work permits
    • Employer-specific work permits

Post Graduation Work Permit in Canada (PGWP)

A Post Graduation Work Permit allows an international student to work in Canada for up to three years. Any PGWP is exempted from the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirements, a document that allows an employer to hire an international candidate for a job in Canada.

To be eligible for a PGWF, a student must have attended a full-time study program in Canada for at least eight months duration. The full-time study program must be done from an eligible Designated Learning Institutions(DLI).

Open Work Permit

An open work permit is provided to an international applicant in very specific cases. This type of Canadian work visa is provided under the International Mobility Program(IMP). This work permit makes an applicant eligible to work with any employer in Canada.

However, some employers not complying with the requirements provided by the Temporary Foreign Worker Program(TFWP) or IMP cannot offer open work permit. Given below is a graph representing the number of TFWP and IMP work permits issued: Permits

Graph: The number of Work Permits issued to internationals in Canada

The open work permits do not require an LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada. For an employer looking for international students to hire through open work permit, it is not mandatory to apply though Employers Portal.

An applicant applying for an open work permit can apply for the same-

  • from outside Canada,
  • at a port of entry, or
  • after arrival to Canada.

There are two types of open work permits-

  • Unrestricted Open Permit- An unrestricted open permit allows an applicant to work in any occupation and location.
  • Occupation Restricted- A restricted open permit restricts an occupation or location for the worker.

Employer-specific Work Permits

An employer-specific work permit allows an international applicant to work in Canada based on the job profile of the candidate. The basic details that the IRCC considered for issuing this Canadian work visa include the name of the employer, duration of the job and the site of the work in Canada.

Canada Work Permit Eligibility

The eligibility for work permit varies depending on from where the applicant is making their applications. The details of the basic Candian work permit eligibility criteria are as follows:

Eligibility for all the Applicants

Irrespective of the type of work permit for Canada applied for, all applicants are required to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have proof of leaving Canada after the expiration of the work permit.
  • Have proof of minimum required funds
  • There should be no record of criminal activity. The applicant may be asked to submit a police clearance certificate.
  • Have medical exams and be in good health condition.
  • Not be a danger to the Candian security
  • Must not be working with an ineligible employer.
  • Must not work with employers offering striptease, erotic dances, escort services erotic massages.
  • Provide additional documents, if asked by the officer.

What are the Forms and Documents Required for Canadian Work Permit?

Applying from Outside Canada

Forms required- The below mentioned IRCC forms must be completed, signed and dated by the applicant and then submitted.

  • Application for Canadian work visa made Outside of Canada (IMM 1295)
  • Family Information form- To be filled by those aged 18 or above or by a minor traveling to Canada alone.
  • Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409)
  • Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
  • Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475)- To be filled only if the applicant allows IRCC and CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) to release the candidate’s information to someone other than himself/herself.

Documents required- The below mentioned documents must be submitted by the applicant with their Canadian work visa application:

  • Payment of the application processing fee and the other applicable fees (biometric fee or open holder permit fee) in an acceptable payment method by the visa office.
  • A valid passport with copy of the information page that includes:
    • Passport number
    • Issuance and expiry dates
    • Applicants photograph, name, date and place of birth
  • 2 passport size photographs meeting the requirements of the visa application photograph specifications
  • Proof of current immigration status
  • Photocopy of Marriage Certificate, if applicable
  • Proof of eligibility for the job offered
  • Proof of LMIA provided by ESDC to the employer and copy of job offer


Offer of Employment ID number

  • Certificate d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) if working in Quebec region
  • If applying for PGWP, submit proof of the completion of the study program:
    • A final transcript
    • A letter from the college/ university of graduation
  • Other specific documents as asked by the visa office in respective home countries

Additional Eligibility Requirements for Canadian Work Permit

Applicants may have to fulfill additional criteria, depending on where they apply. These are discussed in the sections below:

Eligibility for Applicants Applying from Outside Canada

For applicants applying from outside Canada, some of the eligibility requirements may vary depending upon the country or province from which they apply. Applicants applying from outside Canada can benefit from Global Skills Strategy’s two-week application processing.

Eligibility for Applicants Applying from Inside Canada

Applicants for a Canadian work permit can apply for the same from inside Canada, if:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Spouses or common-law partners should have a valid study permit if required.
  • Have graduated from a Canadian university, community college, CEGEP, or other eligible schools.
  • Have a temporary resident visa, valid for six months or more
  • Are waiting on a decision for PR application.
  • Planning to claim for refugee protection
  • Are recognized as protected persons or convention refugees by IRCC.
  • Are a trader, investor, intra-company transferee or a profession under NAFTA.

Eligibility for Applying from Port of Entry (POE)

Applicants can apply for a Canadian work permit at POE, if:

  • A visitor visa is not required for coming to Canada. And
  • Applying for an open work permit
  • The required steps for the employer-specific work permit must be completed by the employer.

How to Get a Work Permit in Canada?

Applicants for a Canadian work permit can apply online for the same. The details of the application process are detailed below:

Gather the Required Documents

Applicants must ensure that all the documents required are gathered before submitting the filling the application. This will ensure that the details or document copies are provided carefully with the application form.

Fill in the Application Form and Answer all the Questions

The application form has questions addressing the following details of the applicants:

  1. Personal details
  2. Language proficiency details
  3. Passport details
  4. Details of work in Canada
  5. Education details
  6. Previous work experience details, if any

Pay the Application and Related Fees

The applicants for a Canadian work permit are required to pay three separate fees. These are the application processing fee, work permit holder fees, and biometric fees. The details of the fees are as follows:

ApplicationCost in CAD
Work permit (including extension/person)155
Work permit (including extension for a group of performing artists)465
Openwork permit holder100

Note: Applicants for an open work permit are required to pay the open work permit fees as well as work permit fees.

Biometric FeesCost in CAD
Per person85
Family (2 or more)170
Group of performing artists255

Submit the Application

Online applicants can submit their applications after completion of the application process with a single click. The offline applicants can submit the completed application package at VAC (Visa Application Center). India has around 10 VACs in the following cities:

New DelhiMumbai
Pune Banglore

Why Apply Online

  • No mail delivery time and courier fees
  • Quick processing
  • Ensures that only a complete application is submitted
  • In case of additional document requirements, quick online submission is available.
  • Submission of the passport is not required.
  • Application details are sent to the online account used for the application.


Once the application has been processed the applicants may be asked to attend an interview, send additional information and medical exam results. In case the application is incomplete, it is refused or returned.

For applicants who apply from outside Canada, if the applications are approved, a letter of approval is sent. This letter is not the work permit but is required to obtain a Canadian work visa on reaching Canada. For applicants who apply at POE, the work permit is issued by the border services officer. Applicants who apply for a work permit from within Canada are mailed the work permit at their Canadian address.

Arriving in Canada

Applicants are required to inform the BSO (border Service Officer) about their arrival in Canada. The following procedure is followed after the arrival:

  • Applicants who enter at the 10 major Canadian airports: Fingerprints are checked at Primary Inspection Kiosk.
  • Applicants who enter at other Canadian airports: Fingerprints will be required if the applicant is referred to secondary inspection.

After the applicant passes the identity check, the following entry requirements must be fulfilled:

  • Valid travel documents
  • Good health condition
  • No criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • Convince the immigration officer regarding the intent of return to the home country.
  • Proof of funds

Applicants are required to submit the following presenting documents at the POE:

  • Letter of introduction: It is the visa confirmation letter. It should be accompanied with
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • Travel documents
  • Proof of meeting job requirements
  • Copy of employer positive LMIA
  • Offer of employment number sent to the employer on submitting offer through the employer portal.

Applicants must apply for SIN (Social Insurance Number) to avail or access government programs and benefits related to medical and health insurance. Applicants can apply for the same through Service Canada Office. The decisions regarding the work permits and the processing time depend on the number of applications received by the IRCC. Check the processing time for the work permit.

Work and Study in Canada

International students are required to provide proof of available finances to cover the living expenses in Canada. They can also apply for work-studyto supplement their spending allowances with part-time jobs available on-campus and off-campus.

Work while studying in Canada can help an international student immigrate to Canada after graduation. International students on a valid study permit can apply for on-campus/ off-campus part-time jobs without any Canadian work permit.

It was reported by IRCC that around 332,000 international students were eligible for a work permit (on and off-campus work) in 2017. It was also reported that around 114,000 had a work permit under PGWP. The statistics from previous years suggest that a high number of international students apply for a Candian work permit, both while studying and post-study.

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