Perera Legal

Work in Canada

Generally, in order to legally work in Canada, workers must have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer supported by a LMIA unless they qualify for an exemption.

LMIA Work permits

In most cases, employers are required to obtain a positive LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment) before applying for a work permit. A LMIA is a document that allows a Canadian employer to hire a foreign worker. A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job where no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job. If the employer succeeds in obtaining a positive LMIA then the foreign worker can submit his work permit application, which is typically issued for one year if granted.

LMIA applications should show the following:

  • Efforts made to recruit available Canadian citizens/permanent residents. This will include showing proof of all recruitment done in Canada including advertising the position for at least 3 consecutive months in Canada, interviews, interview notes, call backs and reasons for not hiring;
  • Wages offered for the position are consistent with the prevailing wage rate paid to Canadians/permanent residents in the same occupation in the region;
  • Working conditions for the occupation meets the current provincial labour market standards;
  • Any potential benefits that hiring a foreign worker might bring to the Canadian labour market, such as the creation of new jobs or the transfer of skills and knowledge;
  • Transition plans will be required for high-wage positions whereby employers must demonstrate increased efforts to hire Canadians in the long-term.

LMIA exempt work permits

  • International agreements: Canada is a party to a number of international agreements that facilitate the entry of foreign workers. Admission of foreign workers under these agreements is considered of significant benefit to Canada and, as such, does not require a LMIA. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada-Chile FTA, Canada-Peru FTA, Canada-Columbia FTA are example of this case.
  • Entrepreneurs: A LMIA exemption may be granted to private entrepreneurs who wish to come to Canada temporarily in order to start or operate a business. Applicants to one of these programs must be the sole or majority owners of the business they wish to pursue in Canada. They will also have to demonstrate that their business will be of significant benefit to Canada.
  • Intra-Company Transferees: Intra-Company Transferees may be granted a LMIA exemption for a temporary transfer to Canada. Transferees must be considered executives, managers, or specialized knowledge workers, and must work for a foreign company with a qualifying relationship to the company in Canada.
  • Dependents of Temporary Workers: Spouses and children of Foreign Workers holding a Canadian work permit for a skilled position do not require a LMIA when applying for an Open Work Permit (OWP).
  • Religious leaders
  • Visiting lecturers, professors and guest speakers
  • PNP nominees who have a job offer

Open-work permit​

You may be eligible for an open-work permit if you fall into one of the categories below:

    • Spouse/common-law partner being sponsored for Permanent Residence; through an Inland Spousal Application;
    • Spouse/common-law partner of a Temporary Foreign Worker;
    • Spouse/common-law partners of International Students studying in Canada;
    • International Students who recently graduated from a study program in Canada;
    • Candidates of International Experience Canada (IEC).

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

If you are presently residing in Canada and have made an application to IRCC under Federal Skilled Worker class, the Federal Skilled Trades class, the Canadian Experience Class or one of the PNPs then you may consider applying for a BOWP if your current status is set to expire in the next 3-4 months. Applying for a BOWP prior to expiry of your temporary status will enable you to continue working until a decision is made on your PR application.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Currently reside in Canada;
  • Have valid status that will expire in 3-4 months;
  • Be the principal applicant for the PR application;
  • Received a positive eligibility assessment on the PR application;
  • Applied for an open work permit.

You may not qualify if you:

  • If you are in Canada where no permit was required for work;
  • Status expired;
  • Have status that will not expire in 3-4 months;
  • Applying at a port of entry;
  • Spouse or dependent of the principal applicant for PR; *there are certain requirements that must be met for the spouse of the principal applicant to obtain a BOWP;
  • PNP restrictions stated on the nomination.

International students

Full-time international students who are enrolled at a DLI may work on campus or off campus without a work permit. Generally, you can work up to 20 hours per week during the regular term and full-time during scheduled breaks such as spring break, winter and summer holidays.

Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)

International students graduating from their programs of study in Canada can apply for PGWP which is an open work permit without a job offer.

To be eligible:

  • Apply for PGWP within 90 days of receiving a program completion letter;
  • Eligible to graduate from a DLI;
  • Valid study permit and complied with all conditions stated on the study permit;
  • Maintained full-time student status;
  • Did not engage in unauthorized study or work without explicit permission from IRCC.

Need Help?

Contact us for more information about working in Canada or for assistance in applying for an open work permit.

At Perera Law Group, we do not offer recruitment services nor do we find employment positions for candidates. Please note that it is fraud and illegal to offer compensation for employment positions in Canada. We highly encourage you to contact a trusted legal professional to ensure that your interests are protected.