Category:Work Permits

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General Comments


  • HRSDC will issue an LMO if it has satisfied itself that the employer, after exhausting all reasonable possibilities, has been unable to find a qualified Canadian resident to fill a position.


  • This usually means that the employer has advertised the position across Canada for three months.


Advantages of Temporary Work Permits

  • Temporary work permits usually are issued much more quickly than permanent residence visas (usually in months rather than years).



  • The spouse of a work permit holder receives a break that most foreigners do not get. Unlike other foreigners, he/she may apply for a work permit from inside Canada rather than having to apply from outside Canada.


  • If you come to Canada on a work permit and your job is listed in Skill Level O, A or B in the National Occupational Classification Matrix, your spouse will be able to work through the Spousal Program. That is, he/she will be able to apply for spousal open work permit (SOWP). He/she will be able to apply for any kind of job in Canada, and the employer offering him/her the job with not have to secure an LMO from HRSDC. But your spouse should be aware that it will take him/her a couple of months to get as SOWP if he/she applies in Canada. For that reason, it would be better if he/she lodged his/her work permit application with yours, before he/she came to Canada.


  • The spouse of a fulltime university student who is in Canada on a study permit also is entitled to a spousal open work permit.


  • Most government-funded school jurisdictions treat children of work permit holders like other residents of Canada. That is, they provide them with schooling that essentially is free. You may apply for Study Permits for the minor children who are accompanying you to Canada if you wish. However, in most instances that will not be necessary. They will be allowed to register in school just like other residents of Canada.


Disadvantages of TWPs

  • A temporary work permit usually is issued with restrictions. It is common for a temporary work permit to be issued for a finite period of time, say one year or two years. It is, after all, temporary.


  • It also is common for a temporary work permit to tie you to a specific employer. That is, the WP is valid only as long as your employment with the specified employer continues. If your relationship with that employer is severed for any reason, your work permit no longer is valid.


  • There are a few jurisdictions that treat children of work permit holders like foreign students. As such they charge them tuition in the order of C$10,000 / student / year. It would be prudent to check how the municipality to which you will be moving handles children of work permit holders.


  • If you have teenagers, one of the disadvantages of moving to Canada on a work permit is that your children will not be allowed to work at a stage when many young people like to earn extra spending money through part-time jobs. The BE forum has witnessed instances in which teenagers have been so unhappy about this that the family has returned to the UK.


  • Moving to Canada on a temporary work permit is not without its risks, especially if you "burn your bridges" (by, for example, selling your UK home and buying a Canadian home). Employment relationships between Canadian companies and work permit holders have been known to unravel for any one of a number of reasons. Since your work permit's validity usually is subject to your being employed by a specific organization, your work permit collapses if your employment relationship terminates for any reason.


  • Notwithstanding the fact that a temporary work permit has certain limitations, many British expats use the TWP route as a way of getting into Canada. Once they have secured work permits, they apply for permanent residence as skilled workers. The PR application process often goes more quickly if you already are working in Canada. As a ballpark figure, you might expect the PR application process to take a year if you already have a job, compared with the 5+ years that it typically takes if you don't have arranged employment.


Work Permit application process

To apply for a temporary work permit, you need:

  • A job offer from a Canadian employer.
  • A positive labour market opinion (LMO) that your prospective employer has secured from Human Resources and Social Development Canada. HRSDC issue a positive LMO if they are satisfied that the employer has been unable to find a willing and able Canadian resident to fill the position. This means, amongst other things, that the employer has advertised the job across Canada for three months and has found no qualified Canadian residents. Here is the section of the CIC website that provides information for Canadian employers.
  • A completed application for a temporary work permit.
  • To satisfy a visa officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires.
  • To demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself and your family while you are in Canada.


You may need to:

  • Undergo a medical examination (but this requirement usually applies only to people who want to work amongst vulnerable populations, e.g., in hospitals, schools, childcare centres, etc.).


Note. According to the previous rules, the employer had to a apply to HRSDC for an LMO. Only after the LMO had been issued was the applicant allowed to submit an application for a temporary work permit. However, since February 23, 2007, CIC has allowed concurrent processing of the employer's application for an LMO and the foreign national's application for a work permit.


Where to apply

  • Under different circumstances, you may apply for a temporary work permit from outside of Canada, from inside of Canada, or when you arrive at a Canadian port of entry.
  • To find out more about the possibilities and the pros and cons, please read the BE Wiki article called [WP : Where to apply].


Occupations under Pressure

  • In some regions, the demand for workers in specific occupations is far outstripping the available supply.



  • For occupations noted on these lists, the length of time that the employer has to advertise across Canada before an LMO will be issued has been reduced.



Expedited Labour Market Opinion


  • For the 33 occupations listed on the E-LMO website, LMOs are available within 5 working days, provided the employer has registered with the program and provided that the application is submitted correctly.


Jobs that require TWP but not LMO

  • Workers covered under international agreements
  • Professionals, traders, investors and business people coming to Canada to work under certain international agreements
  • Entrepreneurs and intra-company transferees
  • Some types of entrepreneurs, workers transferring within a company, and other types of workers who will provide significant benefit to Canadians or permanent residents by working in Canada
  • Participants in exchange programs
  • People whose employment in Canada will provide similar employment to Canadians abroad, such as participants in youth exchange programs, teacher exchange programs or other reciprocal programs
  • Co-op students
  • Foreign students who are studying in Canada and who need to do co-op work placements as part of their program of study
  • Spouses and common-law partners of certain foreign workers, spouses and common-law partners of certain foreign students, and spouses and common-law partners of work permit holders doing post-graduate employment
  • Certain academics and students
  • Religious workers
  • People doing charitable or religious work
  • Certain people who need to support themselves while they are in Canada for other reasons such as the refugee determination process
  • Some Information Technology Workers, especially some software developers, do not need a positive LMO from HRSDC before applying for a temporary work permit.


Jobs that do not require a Work Permit

You may not need a work permit if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • Business visitors
  • Foreign representatives
  • Family members of foreign representatives
  • Military personnel
  • Foreign government officers
  • Students working on campus
  • Performing artists
  • Athletes and coaches
  • News reporters
  • Public speakers
  • Convention organizers
  • Clergy
  • Judges and referees
  • Examiners and evaluators
  • Expert witnesses or investigators
  • Health-care students
  • Civil aviation inspectors
  • Accident or incident investigators
  • Crew members
  • Emergency service providers




Working Holiday Visas (18 to 30-year-old)

BUNAC offers British citizens from 18 to 30 years of age the opportunity to do any kind of work, anywhere in Canada, for up to 12 months.


Live-in Care Giver Program

This is a program about which there are few enquiries on the BE forum.

If you want to know more about it, you can read the details on the relevant page of CIC's website.

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