Work Permit - The Easiest Path to Canadian Permanent Residence

The Canadian government allows foreign nationals in certain categories to come to Canada as temporary residents after receiving a work permit. Temporary immigration programs help Canadian businesses attract people with the talent they need for a short duration of a few years.
What Type of Work Permit Matches Your Profile?

Canada’s temporary immigration programs assist Canadian businesses in attracting newcomers with the talent they need to succeed in the global marketplace. That is why there are many different programs in Canada for temporary workers. You must get a Work Permit (WP) to legally work in Canada.

  1. If you need authorization to work in Canada only for a specific employer, you should apply for the Employer-Specific Work Permit. The following programs offer this type of permit for you:
  1. If you want to have the freedom to work for any employer in Canada while you are there for a specified period, you should apply for an Open Work Permit. The following programs offer this type of work permit:
    1. International Mobility Program;
    2. Working Holiday Stream of International Experience Canada;
    3. Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for recent graduates from Canadian universities;
    4. Programs for Hong Kong Recent Graduates.

Please note that there are two types of Open Work Permit:

  • The Restricted Open Work Permit restricts the occupation or location where you can work, but not the employer; and
  • The Unrestricted Open Work Permit – a normal Work Permit with no such restrictions on location or occupation.
  1. If you apply to change your legal status in Canada from temporary to permanent resident you should apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). It is considered a transitional and temporary measure that allows the individual to keep working while waiting for the results of a permanent residence application.

Keep in mind that technically, a Work Permit will not grant you entry into Canada. You will need (and will be automatically issued) a Visitor's Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) at the port of entry when you arrive in Canada and show your Work Permit to a border officer. That visa or eTA is your official permission to enter Canada.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Currently available immigration programs for temporary workers support Canadian business by providing a fast and reliable way to bring in the highly skilled foreign talent that Canada needs to succeed in the global marketplace when workers in Canada are unable to fill the need. There are two main programs for persons who want to perform temporary work in Canada:

The TFWP is jointly managed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This program was developed to assist Canadian employers in filling their labour requirements with foreign workers when qualified Canadians and permanent residents are not available. In 2019, 98,310 individuals were issued work permits through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The philosophy behind the TFWP is that both Canadian employers and foreign workers will benefit. Thus, both must take some actions to ensure that a Work Permit will be issued.

First, the employer must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to ESDC. The LMIA is a document that proves that the employer can’t find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident available and suited to do the job for which a foreigner will be hired. The document is called a positive LMIA or a Confirmation Letter. Once the employer gets the positive LMIA, the foreign worker can apply for a Work Permit.

Available Streams

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program consists of seven streams, which are based on the level of wages offered to a foreign worker (more or less than the Canadian average salary) and the worker’s occupation, in accordance with the National Occupation Classification (NOC). Each stream has admissibility requirements for both, foreigners and Canadian employers. The Canadian employer must apply for the LMIA under a particular stream.

Requirements to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit under the TFWP

Each stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has its specific requirements for foreign applicants. However, there is a set of basic requirements to be met for all streams. To become eligible for the TFWP, a person must:

  1. Have a valid job offer letter from a Canadian employer. The offer should explains the details of the job, such as pay, duties, and conditions of employment;
  2. Have a copy of the employer’s positive LMIA;
  3. Prove that he or she meets the requirements of the job. It can be your university diploma or degree in a particular field that has successfully passed an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) or the confirmation of your previous work experience in this field;
  4. Show proof of funds to take care of himself or herself and any accompanying family members during the stay in Canada.
The International Mobility Program

The International Mobility Program (IMP) was designed to assist Canadian employers in hiring foreign workers on a temporary basis without the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This makes the application process for the IMP faster and simpler than for the TFWP. Exemptions from the LMIA are based on:

  • Broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada;
  • The reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.

However, there is an exhaustive list of LMIA exemptions established by the Canadian government. To hire an international worker via the IMP, the Canadian employer must:

  • Confirm that the position or worker in question qualifies for an LMIA exemption;
  • Submit the job offer through the Employer Portal; and
  • Pay the fees.

Once the employer completes these steps, a foreign worker can apply for a Work Permit. In most cases, the IMP grants foreigners an Open Work Permit.

Available “Streams”

Under the IMP, there is no concept similar to the “streams” available under other programs. A better way to describe it is that there are certain options available for foreigners who want to temporarily work in Canada with an Open Work Permit:

  1. Options established in the international free trade agreements between Canada and other countries: Certain types of employees can transfer to Canada from other countries, and vice versa, if they are able to demonstrate this will have a positive impact on Canada. Such provisions are contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), etc. Contact our team, and we will guide you through various available options and help to choose one that suits you the most.
  2. Options established in the reciprocal youth exchange agreements: Foreign persons  18 to 30 years old who want to travel and work in Canada can apply for a Work Permit under International Experience Canada (IEC), a subprogram of the IMP.
  3. Options under circumstances of social or cultural benefit to Canada: This category is for persons who can contribute to Canada in a significant way (for example, filming in Canada, etc.).
  4. Options under the Intra-Company Transfer program: This permits companies with a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in Canada to transfer workers who currently work for this company in other countries.

There are different eligibility requirements for persons who want to apply under one of the IMP options.

Other Options for Temporary Workers

International Experience Canada

International Experience Canada (IEC) offers youth from certain countries the opportunity to travel and work in Canada. This program is based on reciprocal bilateral agreements between Canada and other states. It consists of three streams:

  1. Working Holiday Stream: This was developed for adventurous young adults who want to travel while working part-time in Canada. A valid job offer is not required. This stream grants an Open Work Permit that lasts from one year to two years.
  2. Young Professionals Stream: This allows young people to gain Canadian professional work experience to better compete in a global economy. This stream requires that an applicant (a) has a job offer in Canada that contributes to his or her professional development, and (b) works for the same employer in the same location during the whole stay in Canada. Thus, a foreigner will get an Employer-Specific Work Permit.
  3. International Co-op Internship Stream: This is designed for post-secondary students who want to get foreign work experience related to their field of study and need an internship or work placement to complete their studies. An applicant must have a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada. An Employer-Specific Work Permit will be issued for successful applicants.

The application process under IEC has two stages:

  • First stage: A candidate creates an IEC e-profile. If he or she meets the eligibility criteria, his or her account automatically enters the IEC pool. The government regularly conducts random draws of IEC candidates. If a candidate is selected in a draw, he or she will be issued an Invitation to Apply. A candidate must accept the Invitation within ten days.
  • Second stage: Once the candidate accepts the Invitation, he or she has 20 days to apply for a Work Permit. If an application is successful, the applicant will receive confirmation of the Work Permit.

If you are interested in one of the above options, contact us, and we will provide you with detailed guidelines and assess your chances of success.


Programs for Hong Kong Recent Graduates

There is a special immigration program for Hong Kong recent graduates who want to work temporarily in Canada. This program grants eligible applicants an Open Work Permit that is valid for up to three years. To become eligible, a person must:

  • Hold a valid passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or the United Kingdom to a British National Overseas; and
  • Have graduated with a degree or diploma (minimum 2-year program) no more than five years before applying for this Work Permit from any learning institution in Canada or abroad.

Please note that if you hold graduate or postgraduate credentials, the credential must be for a program that:

  • Is a minimum of one year, and
  • Requires a post-secondary degree or diploma, which you completed no more than 5 years before you started the post-graduate program.

An applicant does not need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) to apply if he or she got a degree outside Canada. The ECA is necessary only for a diploma acquired outside Canada. However, we recommend getting ECA in both cases as it may be requested later.

General Application Procedure for Work Permit

The application procedure is different depending on which program you apply for. However, the basic application stages are almost the same. Here is step-by-step guidance for obtaining a Canadian Work Permit:

  1. Choose a program that works for you: There are many options for foreigners who want to temporarily work in Canada. Select which type of Work Permit may work for you:  Open Work Permit or Employer-Specific Work Permit. Each has a different procedure and fees. If you need assistance in figuring out the most suitable program, contact us and our team will help you with this choice as well as with the whole application process.
  2. Apply for a Work Permit: If you choose a stream that requires an LMIA, you should coordinate your actions with your employer. Only after you get a copy of the positive LMIA can you fill out the application and provide supporting documents. In other situations, you do not need to wait for your employer’s action and can apply immediately. You must pay all required fees.
  3. Wait for approval: The processing time for a Work Permit application depends on the chosen immigration stream and the applicant’s country of residence at the time of application. Processing times range anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Salary Range in Canada for Temporary Workers

As of January 2020, the average salary for full-time employees was CAN $54,630 per year or CAN $1,050,59 per week. Average weekly earnings increased in all Canadian provinces and territories, year over year, except for Manitoba, where there was little change. The largest percentage increase in earnings was observed in British Columbia. Please note that the level of wages depends on many factors such as working experience, area of specialization, level of education and skill, as well as on the province where you work.

However, average salaries for temporary workers are slightly lower than the average salary of Canadians and temporary workers together.

Below you will find data on average Canadian annual salary by province and territory. Keep in mind that where wages tend to be lower, living costs are also often lower.

Province or Territory

Salary in CAN$



British Columbia




New Brunswick


Newfoundland and Labrador


Northwest Territories


Nova Scotia






Prince Edward Island








How to Find a Job in Canada

Canada welcomes foreigners from around the world and helps them build a new life in Canada. However, finding a job may be challenging. Additionally, some job titles and duties may be different from where you worked before. That is why there are many tools and resources that you can use to find a job:

  1. Job search websites:
    1. Job Bank has up to 2,000 new vacancies posted every day;
    2. posts vacancies for public service positions.
  2. Job fairs in your city or town;
  3. Government employment agencies that provide training for newcomers and assist in finding jobs;
  4. Direct messages to companies you are interested in;
  5. LinkedIn, a website actively used by Canadian employers;
  6. team. Contact us and we will help you to find a job that suits your career goals.
Getting Permanent Residence After a Temporary Work Permit

The Temporary Work Permit is often considered a step towards Permanent Residence in Canada. There are several ways to change your status from temporary resident to permanent. In 2019, 63,020 individuals transitioned from temporary to permanent residents, nearly one-fifth of the number of WPs issued in that year. Thus, one in five persons who come to Canada as temporary workers are granted PR.

The most common way of obtaining PR in Canada for temporary workers is the Express Entry programs, especially the Canadian Experience Class, a program specifically designed for persons who have Canadian work experience. Temporary workers can also apply under one stream of the Provincial Nominee Program, as many provinces and territories offer special programs for individuals who want to settle in a particular area.

Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions that our client ask; if your question is not covered here, please contact us.
We Can Help

Contact us, and our team of professionals will assess your credentials and help you navigate in the process of obtaining a Work Permit in Canada. We will provide you with a realistic assessment of your chances of success and assist you in creating the best path for obtaining WP in Canada. We will explain how to avoid the pitfalls and improve your credentials to ensure success in your quest for temporary resident status.

The importance of providing clear, complete, and accurate information throughout the process cannot be overstated. It is usually a good idea to seek the assistance of a professional who is experienced in the process so that you avoid making mistakes or acting on incorrect information at any step. We can assist you in all stages of your journey for Canadian temporary residence as well as make the application process efficient and stress-free.

If you are unsure about your likelihood of successful obtaining a Canadian Work Permit, contact us for a free evaluation. If you have any other questions that are not addressed in this article, please contact us and we will be happy to help.