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How to apply for a work visa for Canada?

Posted on June 18, 2020
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How to apply for a work visa for Canada

If you wish to work in Canada, you will need a work visa. The work visa is known as the work permit in Canada. You will have to apply for a work permit if you are not a permanent resident but have a job from a Canadian employer.

 Different types of work permits

There are two types of work permits – open work permit and an employer-specific work permit. An open work permit basically allows you to work for any employer in Canada. This visa is not job-specific, so applicants do not require the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an offer letter from an employer who has paid the compliance fee.

With an open work permit, you can work for any employer except for those companies that do not comply with labor requirements or are involved in services like escort services, erotic massage, or exotic dancing.

The employer-specific work permit as the name suggests is a permit that allows you to work for a specific employer. 

Eligibility requirements for a work permit

As an applicant you should:

  • Prove to the officer that when your work permit expires, you will leave the country
  • Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members and return to your home country once the work permit expires
  • Have no criminal record and have police clearance certificates
  • Not be a security risk to Canada
  • Have good health and undergo a medical examination of required
  • Not be planning to work for an employer with an “ineligible” status on the list of employers who have failed to meet the conditions
  • Offer the officer any other documents that they request to prove that you can enter the country

Required documents:

  1. Passport with validity for more than six months after your planned date of entry into Canada
  2. Proof of your educational qualifications
  3. Marriage certificate if applicable
  4. Birth certificates of children if applicable
  5. Medical examination certificate-you need to complete a medical exam to be eligible to work in childcare, health services, primary or secondary school teaching or in the agriculture field

Applicants may use the open work permit to bring their spouse or partner and minor children provided they include their documents in the application so that they can be assessed as a family.

Stages of the application process:

  • In the first stage of the application process, the employer applies for a Labor market impact assessment (LMIA)
  • In the second stage, the employer gives a temporary job offer
  • In the third stage, the foreign worker will apply for a work permit
  • In the fourth stage, the work permit is issued
  • Applying for the work permit within or outside Canada

Anyone from outside Canada can apply for a work permit before they enter the country. This is required if they need a visa to enter Canada and must undergo a medical examination before they enter the country.

You can apply for a work permit from within Canada

  • If you are currently working or studying in Canada or if your spouse or parents have a study or work permit.
  • If you have completed your graduation from a Canadian university
  • If you have a temporary resident permit which is valid for six months or longer
  • If you have applied for a PR visa or have been included in an application

 A work permit to permanent resident visa

Applicants who have applied for a PR visa and are in a job that ends before approval of the application will obtain a Bridging Open Work Permit. They will not need to be required to leave the country in the period between the expiry of their previous permit and receiving the PR status.

 A work permit visa will help you work and stay in Canada on a temporary basis. However, you can always apply for a permanent residency in the country.

If you are on a temporary work permit in Canada, there are various ways to obtain permanent residency in Canada.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

If you work on a temporary work permit with a Canadian employer and the employer has made an offer to you for permanent jobs, you might be able to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program for your permanent residency. Such an offer is called an arranged job. The temporary worker would have to meet the necessary criteria under the Foreign Skilled Worker Program which includes getting an educational credential assessment.

Points are awarded based on factors such as education, age, adaptability, language skills and job offer for the applicant. The process can take up to 12-18 months.

Canadian Experience Class

Temporary workers in skilled positions can apply under the Canadian Experience Class program using their work experience in Canada. This is a common choice for those temporary workers who are not reaching the points that the federal skilled worker program needs.

Applicants under the CEC must have at least 2 years of work experience in Canada or have a post-secondary degree in Canada or have 1 year of work experience. Applicants who qualify under the CEC must meet at least one of these requirements before applying for their Canadian permanent residency.

Provincial Nominee Program

In general, applicants may apply for permanent residency within a year to a year and a half under the Provincial Nominee Program. Through this program, employers nominate foreign workers for permanent residency but each program may vary across provinces. But these candidates need to be highly qualified.

Quebec Experience Class

Temporary staff can apply via the Quebec Experience Class for their permanent residency. The Quebec Experience Class (QEC) is similar to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), but additional criteria under the QEC are required.

Applicants under the QEC must have served in a professional position in Quebec for a minimum of 1 year and must speak French at an intermediate level.

PNP and CEC candidates have better fortune in the labor market of Canada because they have probably had prior work experience as temporary workers. This gives them an advantage as they are aware of expectations from Canadian employers and are prepared to fulfil them.

Prior work experience is a highly favorable factor in gaining a PR visa, it is an indication that a foreign worker will easily fit in with the needs of the Canadian labor market. More than 93 percent of PNP candidates and 95 percent of CEC candidates have prior work experience. This acts in their favor while applying for a PR visa.

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