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Work Permits For Canada


Individuals who are not Canadian or permanent resident of Canada and wishing to work in Canada require a work permit. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Contact our office to find out if you require a work permit to work in Canada. A Canada Work Permit is only issued once an offer of employment has been made. A Work Permit is not an employment contract but, is a document that is issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) formally Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the purpose of allowing an individual to work in Canada to fill a labour shortage, and to support economic growth in Canada.

A work permit is issued when a work permit application is accepted. More often than not, work permits are employer specific and cannot be used to work in another company. If a foreign national employment is terminated, the foreign national must apply for a new Work Permit in order to work in a new position. However sometimes, an open work permit can be obtained by a foreign national. An open Work Permit allows a foreign national to work in any position, and for any employer in Canada.

There are two types of Work Permits: Confirmed LMIA Employment (ESDC Confirmed Employment, Labour Market Impact Assessment); and Confirmation Exempt Employment (ESDC Exempt Employment).

ESDC Confirmed Employment requires an approval from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). If a confirmed employment is obtained, it simply means that there are no other permanent resident or Canadians qualified to fill the position. In order to obtain a positive LMIA, an employer must provide information of the position being offered, proof of their recruitment efforts in Canada, and evidence that they were no permanent resident or Canadian available to fill the position.
The ESDC outside Employment allows for an expedited processing. The categories of work that are under the ESDC Exempt Employment are:

Programs that fall under the International Mobility Program are exempt, such as The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) formally called the North American Free Trade Agreement for professionals, traders and investors. The regulation also allows the issuance of Work Permits to people who enter Canada under other types of international agreements such as the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Others who are exempt from an LMIA are Persons whose employment in Canada provides similar employment to Canadians abroad, such as participants in youth exchange programs, exchange teachers and other reciprocal programs. Abroad students studying in Canada who need to work in order to fulfill co-op placements. Also abroad students in Canada applying under the Off-Campus Work Permit program, Foreign students in Canada seeking to purse post-graduate employment also exempt from an LMIA. Spouses and common-law partners of skilled workers, spouses and common-law partners of certain foreign students, spouses and common-law partners of a person doing post-graduation employment for certain foreign students and post-doctoral fellows are also exempt from applying for an LMIA.

Social Insurance Number (SIN) & Health Coverage

Foreign nationals must apply for a Social Insurance Number, which is required upon the commencement of employment. The Social Insurance Number is used by an employer for tax purposes. In addition to a Social Insurance Number, a foreign national may also apply for Health Coverage in the province they are working. For example, foreign nationals who works in the in the province of Ontario, can apply for an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) which, becomes useful ninety (90) days after the foreign national begins working. Furthermore, foreign national’s family members may also be eligible to apply for provincial health coverage depending on the foreign national’s employment contract.

Applying for a Work Permit

Regularly, foreign nationals must apply for a Canada Work Permit at a Canadian High Commission, Canadian Embassy or Visa Offices abroad. On the other hand, certain foreign national that do not require a visa to enter Canada may apply at the Port of Entry. Normally, a foreign national spouse’s eligibility for an open work permit depends on the skill level (NOC Code) of the foreign national job. Dependent children may be eligible for an open Work Permit through an active pilot project.

For further information please contact us at [email protected].

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Batalmea Crightney

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