Canadian Work Visas Guide

Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Work Visas: Types, Requirements, and Application Process


Comprehensive Guide on Canadian Work Visas

Whether you’re an international worker seeking new opportunities, or an employer looking to hire skilled labor from abroad, understanding Canada’s work visa system is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the various types of Canadian work visas, their requirements, application processes, and more.

Introduction to Canadian Work Visas

Canadian work visas, also known as work permits, allow foreign nationals to work in Canada for a designated period. They are issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and are typically employer-specific, job-specific, and location-specific.

However, there are different types of work permits, each with its own requirements and limitations. Let’s delve deeper into these.


Temporary Work Permits

A Temporary Work Permit is a standard work permit issued to foreign workers who have a job offer in Canada. This permit is both employer-specific and job-specific, meaning the permit holder can only work for the employer stated on the permit and cannot switch jobs without obtaining a new permit.


  • A valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
  • A positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the employer, which shows that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.
  • Be able to demonstrate that you intend to leave Canada once your work permit expires.

Application Process:

  1. Obtain a valid job offer and a positive LMIA from your employer.
  2. Complete the Application to Work in Canada form.
  3. Gather all required documents.
  4. Pay the work permit and Open Work Permit Holder fee, if applicable.
  5. Submit your application.
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Work Permits for Specific Jobs

Certain professions or jobs do not require an LMIA. These include intra-company transferees, professional athletes, and clergy. The requirements and application process are similar to that of the Temporary Work Permit.

Please note that due to the length limitation, the above sections are shortened. We will cover the other types of work visas, FAQs, and a conclusion in the upcoming sections.

Open Work Permits

Unlike the Temporary Work Permit, Open Work Permits are not job-specific. This means that holders of an Open Work Permit can work for any Canadian employer, without the need for a positive LMIA or a confirmed job offer.


  • Be eligible to apply from within Canada, have a valid temporary resident status, and meet other specific conditions.
  • Be an international student who graduated from a designated learning institution and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
  • Be a dependent family member of someone who applied for permanent residence.
  • Be a refugee, refugee claimant, protected person, or their family member.

Application Process:

  1. Determine your eligibility for an Open Work Permit.
  2. Apply online through the IRCC portal.
  3. Gather all necessary documents.
  4. Pay the work permit and Open Work Permit Holder fee.
  5. Submit your application.

Spousal Open Work Permit

A Spousal Open Work Permit allows the spouse or common-law partner of a temporary foreign worker or international student to work in Canada. This permit is an excellent way for couples to increase their income while in Canada, and it offers the same flexibility as a regular Open Work Permit.


  • Be the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0, A or B approved to work in Canada six months or longer.
  • Be the spouse or common-law partner of a foreign student engaged in full-time study.
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Application Process: The application process for a Spousal Open Work Permit is the same as that for a regular Open Work Permit.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows students who have completed a program of study at certain Canadian educational institutions to gain valuable Canadian work experience.


  • Have completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months at a designated learning institution.
  • Apply for the work permit within 180 days of receiving written confirmation from your educational institution that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program.

Application Process:

  1. Verify your eligibility for the PGWPP.
  2. Apply online through the IRCC portal.
  3. Pay the work permit fee.
  4. Submit your application.

Frequently Asked Questions about Canadian Work Visas

1. How long does it take to process a Canadian work visa application? Processing times vary depending on the type of work permit and where the application is made. As of 2023, most applications are processed within a few weeks to a few months.

2. Can I bring my family with me on a Canadian work visa? Yes, you may be able to bring your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children with you to Canada. They will need to apply for their respective permits and/or visas.

3. Can I apply for permanent residence while on a Canadian work visa? In many cases, yes. Canada has several immigration programs that allow foreign workers to apply for permanent residence, such as the Canadian Experience Class or Provincial Nominee Programs.

4. How long can I stay in Canada on a work visa? The length of stay on a work visa can vary, but it is typically up to two years for a Temporary Work Permit.

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5. Can I extend my work visa? Yes, you can apply for an extension of your work visa, but you must do so before your current visa expires.

6. Can I change jobs or employers on a work visa? If you have a job-specific work permit, you must apply for and receive a new work permit before changing jobs or employers. If you have an open work permit, you can change jobs or employers without a new work permit.


Navigating the Canadian work visa process can be complex, but understanding the different types of work permits, their requirements, and the application process can make your journey to working in Canada smoother. With the right preparation and information, you can increase your chances of success in obtaining a Canadian work visa.

Whether you’re seeking a temporary job opportunity, looking to gain Canadian work experience after graduation, or aiming for permanent residence, the diversity of Canada’s work visa options means there’s likely a path that suits your situation. So, get started on your application today, and you could soon be working and living in Canada!

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