Are you a foreign national looking to work in Canada? Have you already received a job offer from a Canadian company and not sure what you need to do next? If so, this blog will provide you with useful information about the work permit application process and what you will need to do to work legally in Canada.
A work permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows a foreign national to work legally in Canada. There are two types of work permits: an open work permit and a closed work permit.
The work permit will set conditions for the worker such as the type of work you can do, the employer you can work for, where you can work and how long you can work. The condition may or may not be written on the document, so it is important to know what they are. Generally, all work permit holders are prohibited from working for an employer or business where the worker may be at risk for sexual exploitation, such as strip clubs, massage parlors or escort agencies.
A closed work permit, also called employer specific work permit, is a type of work permit that allows a temporary foreign worker to work for a specific employer. Before hiring a temporary foreign worker, the Canadian employer may need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) through the Employment and Social Development Canada and be issued a positive LMIA.
The LMIA is a process that requires the Canadian employer to show their efforts to hire a Canadian worker for the position. An approved LMIA is essentially confirmation that despite the employer’s best efforts, they were unable to find a Canadian employer and instead had to hire the temporary foreign worker to fill the position. Once the employer is issued the positive LMIA, the worker can then apply for a work permit.
To apply for the work permit, the temporary foreign worker will need an offer of employment letter, a contract, a copy of the LMIA and the LMIA number. If approved, the temporary foreign worker will be issued a closed work permit that only allows them to work for the LMIA-approved employment. The document will indicate the name of the employer the temporary foreign worker can work for, how long he or she can work for the employer and if applicable, the location where the person can work. As a closed work permit holder, you cannot work for any other employer than the employer specified on the work permit document.
A work permit is a temporary document and like all other temporary documents, is authorized for a specific time period. If eligible, you may be able to apply to extend you work permit. However, to avoid being out of status, you should aim to apply for an extension at least 30 days before your work permit expired.
It is important to know what type of work permit you have and whether you meet the eligibility requirements for an extension. For example, for those who hold a closed work permit, you may be eligible to apply for an extension if you and your employer sign a new employment contract. In this case, your employer may need to apply for a new LMIA and you may be required to submit a new offer of employment. On the other hand, individuals with a post-graduate open work permit may not be eligible to extend their work permit.
An open work permit is a work permit that is not job specific and allows you to work for any employer in Canada, unless otherwise specified by IRCC. Those who apply for an open work permit will not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). They also do not need to show proof of a job offer from an employer.
Those eligible to apply for an open work permit include international students who graduated from a designated learning institution, destitute students who can no longer meet the costs of their studies, permanent residence applicants, refugee claimants, or temporary resident permit holders. Even if you fall under one of these classes of people, there are still additional eligibility requirements you will need to meet to qualify for an open work permit. For example, you must not be criminally or medically inadmissible.
After determining the type of work permit you are eligible for, you will need to complete the right government forms, gather the necessary support document, the processing fee and submit your application to the applicable visa centre. Processing times vary depending on the type of application you submit and your location at the time of submission.
The application process for a work permit can be quite complicated. If you have been looking for help with your application, the Akrami & Associates immigration professionals can assist you. We have qualified and trained representatives with experience working on all types of work permits. We have helped many clients, both inside and outside Canada, obtain a work permit. If you have any questions or would simply like to discuss your own unique immigration matter, contact us at our office at 416-477-2545 to request a consultation with one of our specialized immigration lawyers. Here at Akrami & Associates, we are focused on results and enjoy assisting our clients on even the toughest immigration matters. At Akrami & Associates, there is always a way, so let us help you.