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Have you always wished of travelling to Canada for longer than a typical very short vacation, but need to work while you’re here to continue to support yourself? This is not an uncommon situation for individuals who seek entry to Canada, especially because oftentimes individuals have to come to Canada to take care of a sick family member, or to spend more time living with close relatives. In these situations, it is tough to stop working and lose your income for the entire period you’re going to be out of your country of origin for other commitments, and no one likes to be without an income. So, being able to work while you are in Canada is a huge benefit. At the same time, it is often the case the people have a hard time finding work in their country of origin, and can have more success applying to work in Canada as a temporary foreign worker for pre-determined periods of time. If these circumstances sound like the situation you’re facing, it is likely you would want to apply for a Canadian work permit, so that you can work while you are in Canada. This article will aim to help you better understand the various work permits which are available to you.
First, you will need to ensure you are eligible to apply for a Canadian work permit. Most importantly, this means you must not be inadmissible to Canada for any reason. In addition to this, you must also meet all other general requirements of an individual requesting permission to work in Canada. This includes proving to an immigration officer you intend to leave when your permit expires, you must be in a position to support yourself financially and you may have to prove you are in good health, and will not place excessive demand on Canadian social services. Then, depending on the type of work permit you intend to apply for, you will also need to meet all the specific requirements for the work permit you’ve applied for.
1. Open Work Permit
An open work permit is one that is not job specific. In other words, with an open work permit you are free to work for anyone in Canada, so long as they are registered with the Canadian government and are an eligible employer. It is important to understand the application process for an open work permit does not require as much information as a regular work permit. If you are applying for an open work permit, you can leave the “details of intended work in Canada” section blank. This is because you are not attempting to work within the country to pursue a specific job opportunity, rather, you have applied for general permission to work somewhere in Canada. Therefore, unlike an employer specific work permit, the application for an open work permit does not require the individual to submit a valid labor market impact assessment (LMIA) number, proof that your employer has offered you the job, or proof that the employer submitted the job opportunity through the government Employer Portal.
2. Employer Specific Work Permit
On the other hand, you could apply for an employer specific work permit, meaning you are applying to for permission to pursue a specific work opportunity in Canada. If you are applying for an employer specific work permit, you will need to include all the above information in your application for a work permit, which will be requested in the “details of intended work in Canada” section.
3. NAFTA Work Permit/ Other Free Trade Agreement Permits
In addition to these two main types of work permits, there are some more specific work permits individuals can apply for if they meet the eligibility requirements. For example, someone could obtain a NAFTA work permit, if they are coming from the United States, Mexico or Canada. The purpose of a NAFTA work permit is to make it easier for individuals living in one of these three nations to find work within North America. Applying for a job with the protection of NAFTA relieves individuals of requiring their employer to secure a positive labor market impact assessment (LMIA) before they can be hired. Similar to this, Canada is party to other agreements which help individuals from certain countries find work in Canada more simply. Canada has an agreement like NAFTA with Chile, Colombia, Peru and Korea. These are all Free Trade Agreements (FTA).
Please note, Canada is party to several other agreements which impact the way employees of certain organizations worldwide can migrate through the world for work. If you believe your organization may be impacted by an international agreement, please feel free to contact Akrami and Associates and we will help you assess your specific situation.
4. Student Co-op Work Permit
If you are a student in Canada and are enrolled in a program of study which requires you to complete a co-op term, you are allowed to do so. However, you must apply for a co-op student work permit to be allowed to do so. Essentially, this is an open work permit which allows you to be employed wherever the school places you, and the employer on the permit is listed as the school itself, as they are responsible for your employment.
This is a special type of open work permit available to individuals who have recently graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution, to allow you to find work in Canada.
6. Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program Work Permit (SAWP)
The SAWP program allows individuals to come to work in Canada for up to 8 months in a 1 year period, and work for any employer who is registered with the SAWP program. It is important to understand whether you are a citizen of a country who is registered with this program to ensure you are eligible.
7. Bridging Open Work Permit
A bridging open work permit is a special permit which allows you to work in Canada while waiting for a decision on your permanent residency application. There are very specific requirements you must meet to be eligible for a bridging open work permit, though, there are many benefits to this type of work permit. Therefore, it is worth assessing your specific situation to find out if this is something you can apply for.
8. Open Spousal Work Permits
If you are the spouse of a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen, and you wish to work while you wait for the decision on your permanent residency application, you are eligible to apply for an open work permit because of your circumstances.
The application for an open work permit is much more selective than that of an employer specific work permit, as a result of the increased freedom individuals can have on an open work permit. Therefore, to apply for an open work permit, first you must be eligible to work in Canada, then, in addition to this you must meet the additional requirements which make you eligible for an open work permit. Obviously then for example, the application for a bridging work permit requires you to meet even more restrictive requirements than a regular open work permit.
In many cases, it is hard to assess your specific situation to ensure you apply for the most suitable work permit. Though, it may help by eliminating the circumstances which clearly do not apply to you. For example, if you are not from Mexico, the USA, Chile, Peru, Colombia or Korea, you automatically cannot take advantage of the benefits individuals who are applying from these countries have. Furthermore, if you do not meet the requirements of an open work permit, you must apply for an employer specific work permit, and have all the details of your intentions to work in Canada outlined in your application.
There is an over whelming amount of information to consider when applying to work within Canada. It can be very confusing trying to assess your specific circumstances and get all the things you need in your application ready and submitted properly, to give yourself the best chance of being allowed to work in Canada. Should you have any further questions or feel confused or unclear about how to apply for a work permit, it is important to talk about any questions you may have and discuss your concerns. Akrami & Associates would be more than happy to assist you with obtaining your work permit. Feel free to contact our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you want to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice. At Akrami & Associates, we have submitted many successful work permits and have helped our clients gain exceptional job and career experience for their future.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!