Canada is known for its welcoming and inclusive culture, offering a range of opportunities for those seeking to work in the country. Working in Canada provides many benefits, including access to government-subsidized healthcare, social services, and educational opportunities. It also opens the door to potential permanent residency and eventually Canadian citizenship.

Foreign nationals can work in Canada through various programs and permits, allowing them to live, work, and gain valuable experience in the Canadian job market. Temporary foreign workers and international graduates often have pathways to extend their stay and transition to permanent residency.

With a variety of work programs available, we can help guide you in selecting the right one for your needs. Review the scenarios below to determine which option may apply to you.

Popular Canadian work permits

International Experience Canada (IEC) is a program that allows young adults from partner countries to work and travel in Canada for up to two years. The program offers three streams: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op. Each stream provides different opportunities for participants to gain international work experience, improve their language skills, and immerse themselves in Canadian culture.

Candidates must meet specific eligibility criteria, including age limits and country of origin. The application process involves creating an IEC profile, receiving an invitation to apply, and submitting the necessary documents. Successful applicants receive a work permit that allows them to work for any employer in Canada or a specific employer, depending on the stream.

The application process can take several months and typically costs between $250 to $500 CAD, including fees for the work permit and biometrics.

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada may need to obtain before hiring a foreign worker. It serves as proof that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do so. The LMIA process ensures that the employment of foreign workers will not negatively impact the Canadian labor market.

Employers must provide detailed information about the job offer, including the wages and working conditions, and demonstrate their efforts to recruit Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Once the LMIA is approved, the foreign worker can apply for a work permit to work in Canada.

The LMIA process involves a rigorous evaluation by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and typically takes several weeks to a few months. The cost of obtaining an LMIA is $1,000 CAD per position, and there may be additional costs associated with advertising the job and other recruitment efforts.

Intra-Company Transfers (ICT) allow international companies to transfer employees to their Canadian branches without needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This program facilitates the temporary transfer of key personnel, such as executives, managers, and employees with specialized knowledge, to help Canadian operations grow and succeed.

To be eligible, the employee must have worked for the company for at least one year in a similar full-time position and must be transferring to a role that requires their expertise. The Canadian and foreign offices must have a qualifying relationship, such as a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.

The application process involves providing evidence of the qualifying relationship between the companies, proof of the employee’s work history and expertise, and detailed information about the job in Canada. Successful applicants receive a work permit, allowing them to work in Canada for up to three years, with the possibility of extension.

The process can take a few weeks to several months and typically costs between $155 to $465 CAD, depending on the specifics of the application.

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) allows international students who have graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada to gain valuable Canadian work experience. The PGWP is an open work permit, meaning graduates can work for any employer in Canada, in any occupation, and change jobs as they wish.

To be eligible, graduates must have completed a program of study that was at least eight months long, leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate. Applications for the PGWP must be submitted within 180 days of receiving confirmation of program completion.

The duration of the PGWP depends on the length of the study program, ranging from eight months to three years. Work experience gained through the PGWP can help graduates qualify for permanent residency through programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The application process typically takes 80 to 180 days, and the cost is $255 CAD, which includes the work permit fee and the biometrics fee if applicable.

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) allows individuals who are currently in Canada on a valid work permit and have applied for permanent residency to continue working while their application is being processed. The BOWP is an open work permit, meaning it is not tied to a specific employer and allows the holder to work in any occupation.

To be eligible, applicants must have submitted a permanent residency application under one of the following programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). They must also have a valid work permit that is set to expire within the next four months.

The BOWP helps prevent work permit holders from having to leave Canada or stop working while waiting for a decision on their permanent residency application. It provides continuity and stability for applicants and their families during the transition period.

The application process typically takes 90 to 120 days, and the cost is $255 CAD, which includes the work permit fee and the biometrics fee if applicable.