Work Permit

Every year, over 500,000 new foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily in jobs that help Canadian employers address skill shortages in various categories 

In order to work in Canada on a temporary basis, foreign skilled workers must have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer and be granted a Temporary Work Permit by Employment and Social Development Canada.


If you intend to work in the province of Quebec, you must obtain an Application for Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) before a work permit can be issued.


Sometimes, you can apply from inside or as you enter Canada with visit or study visa.


There are basic steps to getting a temporary work permit in Canada:

  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (if necessary)
  • Employer extends temporary job offer
  • Foreign skilled worker applies for work permit
  • Work Permit is issued at a Visa Post or at the Border 

Work Permits may be issued by Canadian immigration officials without the LMIA requirement in a limited number of situations, as follows:

  • Under international agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
  • Due to the significant economic, social or cultural benefits the work activity will bring to Canadians;
  • As part of reciprocal agreements such as youth and teacher exchange programs;
  • International students studying in Canada to fulfill academic requirements, referred to co-op placements;
  • Spouses/common-law partners of Work Permit and eligible Study Permit holders;
  • Charitable or religious work; (not including Volunteers)



"Foreign businesses wishing to establish a Canadian enterprise may use the Intra-Company Transfer program to bring critical workers to the country for start-up operations"


US and Mexican Citizens who want to work in Canada

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has made it much easier for citizens of the United States and Mexico to work in Canada. 

Most other Canadian work permits need a “Labour Market Impact Assessment” known as a “LIMA.” This is a lengthy and expensive process. 

NAFTA work permits do not require an LMIA. If the employee qualifies for a NAFTA work permit, the application process can be completed in just a few days. Compared with other work permits, there will be minimal involvement and little cost to the employer. 

There are three requirements for a NAFTA work permit:

  • First, the employee must be a citizen of the United States or Mexico. Green card holders and H-1B holders do not qualify.
  • Second, the employee must have a job offer in one of the sixty NAFTA occupations. These occupations include engineers, university teachers, computer systems analysts, software engineers, accountants, architects, scientific technicians, professional nurses, management consultants, psychologists, dentists and many others. For a complete list of NAFTA occupations consult us direct.
  • Third, the employee must have the qualifications for the occupation specified in the NAFTA agreement. In most cases this is a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the occupation. In some occupations, such as nursing and psychology, a professional license is required.

There is now a two step application process.

  • First, the Canadian employer must submit an online “Offer of Employment.” This is done through an online portal. The Offer of Employment includes a description of the job duties, and basic information about the employee such as name and passport information. There is a fee of $230 CAD to submit the Offer of Employment. 
  • The Offer of Employment should be submitted by the Canadian business which will benefit from the worker’s services. If the worker will be paid by a party outside Canada (such as a US consulting company), the Canadian business can state that the U.S. entity will be responsible for payment and supervision of the worker. Once the Offer of Employment is submitted, the online system generates an “A Number.”
  • Next, the employee simply travels to Canada, and applies for a work permit at either a land border port of entry or at a Canadian airport. The employee presents a print-out of the “A Number,” a letter explaining the job offered, and proof of the worker’s qualifications such as copies of degrees and transcripts. A work permit is then issued. NAFTA work permits can be issued for up to three years. [can be renewed]

Another advantage of a Canadian NAFTA work permit is that the employee’s spouse or common law partner can get an open work permit to work at any job in Canada. This includes jobs that are not on the NAFTA list. This open work permit can be issued at the same time the employee applies for his or her own NAFTA work permit. The spouse or common law partner does not need a job offer to get an open work permit.

A NAFTA permit is a temporary work permit. However, NAFTA is also a great pathway to permanent residence in Canada. Permanent immigration to Canada today is based on a points-based system known as Express Entry. 

A person who has held a NAFTA job for at least one year will receive 50 extra points for having a job offer in Canada, or 200 extra points for a management level job offer. 

The employee will also receive 40 points for the year of Canadian work experience itself. These extra points may improve chances of Federal invitation.

While NAFTA provides simplified procedures, applications must be prepared carefully. 


"Consult us to understand your eligibility on gaining work permit in Canada"