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How to Apply For Canada Work Permit

If at all you wish to work in Canada as a foreigner, it means you will be needing a Canadian work permit in order to join the over 180,000 immigrants who are accepted to work in Canada every year. 

Every worker needs workers to permit except for a few exceptions which include those in the following category; foreign representatives, family members of foreign representatives, athletes and team members, performing artists, news reporters, media crews, public speakers, convention organizers, business Visitors, clergy, judges, referees and similar officials, examiners and evaluators, expert witnesses or investigators, foreign government officers, health care students, civil aviation inspector, transportation Crew, aviation accident or incident inspector, on-campus employment, military personnel, implied status.

This article covers every piece of information about the Canadian Work Permit including visa, requirements, application, processing time, and eligibility.

What is a Work Permit?

According to CareerWako, a work permit or work visa is the permission granted by a country to a foreigner to take a job within the country.

In Canada, work permits are issued under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) by Canada immigration and Citizenship. And the TFWP operates in four streams which include; high-skilled workers, low-skilled workers, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, and the Live-In Caregiver Program.

There are two types of work permits which are the “open work permits” and “employer-specific work permits.” If you have an open work permit, you can work for any employer, but with an employer-specific work permit, you are allowed to work for just a specific employer.

How to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit

It takes just two steps to apply for a Canadian work permit. Most times, applicants are required to already have a job offer before they can apply for a Canadian work permit. Moreover, it is possible to apply for a Canada work permit without having a job offer.

Step 1:

The first step to getting a Canadian Work permit is to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), as this is the option in the vast majority of cases. It is the duty of the Canadian employer to undertake domestic recruitment efforts and agrees that no Canadian permanent residents or citizens are qualified for the position at hand.

Step 2:

The applicant can go-ahead to apply for a Canadian work permit after a positive LMIA has been issued to them.

Usually, If there is a need for you to change an employer, you will have to apply for a new Work permit on your new job except you have an open work permit. It is important to note that Canadian work permits also have a limited duration.

Canada Work Permit Requirements

For All

Irrespective of where you apply from and the type of work permit you wish to apply for, you must:

  • make an officer believe by proving that you will leave Canada as soon as your work permit expires
  • show that there’s enough money with you to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home
  • obey Canadian law and should have no record of criminal activity. Sometimes, a police clearance certificate may be required from you.
  • not cause a threat or be a danger to the Canadian security
  • be healthy and not come to Canada with ill health. A medical exam might be taken if needed
  • not have it in your plans to work for any employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers that have failed to comply with the conditions
  • not have it in your plans to work for any employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
  • provide any other document requested by the officer to prove you can enter the country

For Those Applying From Outside Canada

Requirements for applying for Canada Work Permit from outside Canada vary depending on your country or territory of application. Your Visa officer might require some documents, and this depends on the country or territory as said.

For Those Applying From Inside Canada

It is possible to apply for a work permit from inside Canada if:

  • you have a study or work permit that is still valid
  • your relatives such as; spouse, common-law partner or parents have a valid study or work permit
  • you’ve done any program and graduated at a:
    • Canadian university
    • community college
    • CÉGEP
    • publicly funded trade/technical school, or
    • other eligible schools
  • your temporary resident permit is valid for six months or more
  • you’re waiting for the result of your application for permanent residence from inside Canada
  • you have made or will make a claim for refugee protection
  • You are recognized as a convention refugee or protected person by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • you have been given permission to work in Canada on a specific job, but need to acquire a work permit in other to work in a different job, or
  • you fall into the following categories. (intra-company transferee, investor, trader, or professional under NAFTA

For Those Applying at Port of Entry (POE)

It is recommended by CareerWako that you apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada. But what if you do not apply? Then you can apply for a work permit when you enter Canada if:


  • your application is for an open work permit, or
  • the person employing you has done all the steps required for your employer-specific work permit
  • You might undertake a medical exam before you will be allowed to enter.

The requirement information was gotten from Canada’s official immigration website – www.canada.ca.

Canada Work Permit Processing Time

There is no specific time for the work permit processing time in Canada, it highly depends on the office where you apply from, the distance is a factor when it comes to the processing time.

On average, the processing time takes anything between 1 – 9 months. We have observed that most visa offices take under 3 months to process the applications. Click here to see a table of the complete list of visa offices and processing times.

If you applied for your work permit within Canada, the average processing time is 1 – 3 months.

Processing Time at Local Visa Office?

If you applied outside Canada, you can use the table below to check the average processing time for your work permit application to be completed.

The data below are based on the processing time for a completed application. This report measures average processing time and is subject to change without notice. This statistic is not a guarantee as applications may take a longer time than what we have below. We will always update this table as often as we can.

RegionLocationAverage Processing Time in Weeks
Africa and the Middle EastAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates30
Accra, Ghana7
Algiers, Algeria14
Amman, Jordan7
Ankara, Turkey7
Beirut, Lebanon8
Cairo, Egypt11
Dakar, Senegal7
Lagos, Nigeria18
Nairobi, Kenya7
Pretoria, South Africa18
Rabat, Morocco 19
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia10
Tel Aviv, Israel9
Tunis, Tunisia11
AsiaBangkok, Thailand3
Beijing, China8
Chandigarh, India7
Colombo, Sri Lanka8
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam34
Hong Kong, China7
Islamabad, Pakistan15
Jakarta, Indonesia7
Manila, Philippines6
New Delhi, India7
Seoul, South Korea6
Shanghai, China7
Sydney, Australia12
EuropeBucharest, Romania7
Kyiv, Ukraine4
London, United Kingdom15
Moscow, Russia5
Paris, France14
Prague, Czech Republic7
Rome, Italy6
Vienna, Austria7
Warsaw, Poland7
AmericasBogota, Colombia7
Buenos Aires, Argentina5
Caracas, Venezuela7
Detroit, United States3
Guatemala City, Guatemala2
Havana, Cuba7
Kingston, Jamaica4
Lima, Peru6
Los Angeles, United States3
Mexico City, Mexico3
New York City, United States3
Port-au-Prince, Haiti7
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago1
Santiago, Chile6
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic5
Sao Paulo, Brazil8
Seattle, United States3


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