Close to 200,000 New Workers Come to Canada Every Year!

Working in Canada is an attractive option for many skilled workers from all over the world.  Each year, close to 200,000 foreign skilled workers come to work in Canada on Temporary Work Permits. There is no reason why this cannot be you too!

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

If you are applying for a PR card, you can also apply via an ‘Open Work’ permit and if you are American or Mexican you can fast track the working visa process via the NAFTA agreement.

There are 4 basic steps to getting a temporary work permit in Canada:

  1. Employer applies for labour market opinion (if necessary)
  2. Employer extends temporary job offer
  3. Foreign skilled worker applies for work permit
  4. Work permit is issued

Step 1: Labor Market Opinion (LMO)

Before applying for a Canadian Work Visa, in most cases, you need to obtain a Labor Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada (formally HRSDC).

How to get Get a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) letter from Service Canada?


The procedure involved in obtaining an LMO from Service Canada involves the prospective Canadian employer applying for approval of the job offer to the foreign worker. Service Canada will issue the LMO approval.

An applicant will get this approval only IF Service Canada is satisfied that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are qualified for and willing to fill the position offered to a foreign worker OR that the foreign worker will train Canadians during his or her employment in Canada.

Typically, the prospective employer must demonstrate to Service Canada that it has made efforts to recruit a Canadian citizen or Canadian permanent resident for the position but had not been successful in finding a suitable Canadian candidate. The Canadian employer will often be required to advertise for the position offered to the foreign worker.

If Service Canada is satisfied that the prospective employer has made best efforts to hire a local worker, they will “confirm” the offer of employment to the foreign worker and issue an LMO letter.

Important Update About LMOs:

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley and Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced:

  1. Employers can no longer pay below 15% of the prevailing wage for high-skilled occupations and no longer pay below 5% of the prevailing wage for low-skilled occupations.
  2. The Accelerated Labour Market Opinion Process is now suspended.
  3. Additional questions will be added to the Labour Market Opinion process.
  4. English or French can be the only languages that are a job requirement.

Who does not need to apply for a LMO?

Not everyone requires a LMO to get a Canada Work Permit. There are certain occupations which do not require an LMO from Service Canada such as:

  • Certain computer professionals
  • Foreign Students holding a Canadian study permit
  • Citizens of the United States whose occupations fall under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This category is for US Citizens and Mexican Citizens.
  • Spouses of highly skilled workers

Step 2: Employer Extends Temporary Job Offer

The employer must send a copy of the positive LMO along with a detailed ‘job offer letter’ to the foreign skilled worker.

Canadian employers are required by CIC to prepare a formal employment contract or what our industry refers to as the ’Job Offer Letter’, which must include:

  • Job title for the position
  • Job description
  • Requirements for the position
  • Details about start and end dates
  • Specifics about the salary
  • The name and address of the employer

Canada Service Agency will ensure that the job offer is legit and real. Once the Canadian immigration department has confirmed the job offer with a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), then the CIC will grant employment authorization for the company’s future employees to work in Canada.

Once the LMO is granted, the Canadian employer can extend a temporary job offer to the foreign skilled worker.

Step 3: Foreign Skilled Worker Applies For a Work Permit

Once you have your LMO and ‘Job Offer Letter’ squared away, you then can apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit.  If the employer that is hiring you is in the province of Quebec, then you may also need to obtain a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) in order to work temporarily in Quebec.

In some cases, the foreign worker will be required to attend an interview with a visa officer. If the visa officer is satisfied that the foreign worker’s employment will not adversely affect employment in Canada for Canadians, and that the foreign worker qualifies for the position, then a Canada Work Permit will be issued.

Note: In some cases, applicants from certain countries will be required to undergo medical examinations.

Step 4. Get Issued a Work Permit

A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will issue the Canada Temporary Work Permit at the point of entry when the foreign worker arrives in Canada.  Depending upon the foreign worker’s country of citizenship, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also need to be obtained in order to enter Canada.

New! - 'Open Work Permits' for PR Applicants

As of December 15, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced that they will be allowing permanent resident applicants to obtain work permits while they are awaiting the finalization of their application. This will allow permanent resident applicants to now work while they are awaiting the answer on their application!

Who is eligible for the Bridging Work Permit?


What are the requirements?


In order to be eligible, you must fall into one of the above categories, and you must also meet the following criteria:

  • You are currently in Canada
  • You have a valid Work Permit and it is set to expire within 4 months.
  • You have received a positive decision on your permanent resident application under an economic class, Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, or the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
  • You have made an application for an Open Work Permit.

This new ‘open work permit’ is a great development in Canadian immigration and allows applicants to work during the processing of their PR applications.

Canadian Working Visas for Americans

Are you a citizen of the USA who wants to work in Canada?  If so, you can fast track your way to working in Canada via NAFTA. Americans are applying for Canadian work visas in record numbers and, if applicable, you should take advantage of this opportunity!

The Canadian economy is strong and is taking in many U.S. Citizens looking for work. The good news is that we have the NAFTA Agreement. NAFTA makes getting a Canada work visa for Americans and Mexicans much easier.

What is required is a job offer from a Canadian company in a field listed in the NAFTA agreement, proof of qualifications including work experience and education, as well as citizenship.

Top 4 FAQs About Canadian Working Permits

Question 1: Do all foreigners require a Canada Work Visa?

No. There are certain persons who are EXEMPT or do not require Canada Work Visas, such as:

  • Foreign Diplomats
  • Military Personnel
  • Clergy
  • Performing Artists (under certain circumstances)
  • Athletes
  • Artists
  • Ship or Truck Personnel
  • Designated Foreign Buyers and Sellers

Note : There are other exemptions that are found in the Canadian Immigration Regulations.

Question 2: If I work in Canada on a work permit, can I get permanent resident status?

Possibly. If you work in Canada for one or more years under a valid work permit, you may eligible for permanent resident status under the Canadian Experience Class or another category depending on your job classification and your language proficiency.

Question 3: Can I apply for a temporary work permit and a Canada immigration visa?

Yes, you can. You may apply for a temporary work permit on its own or in combination with an application for a Canada immigration visa.

Question 4: How long will it take to get my work permit?

Work permits that are applied for at a Canadian Port of Entry can be issued the same day (which is rare). Most work permit applications are filed outside of Canada, and are issued within a matter of days or weeks, depending on whether or not a medical examination is required and the workload at the particular visa office to which you applied.

Why Seeking Professional Help for Work Visas is Important

Often, employment and business opportunities are time sensitive and for that reason having a legal representative in Canada with expertise in the area of work permits is the most efficient way to proceed.

For work permits, there is a higher risk of refusal in cases where the application is not properly prepared. The standards are very high. The documentation and processes involved in successfully obtaining a work permit is complex and usually require legal expertise.

It is recommended that you seek professional immigration help to consult with your specific case.

Why Hire Us to Help You With Your Work Visa Applications

We have helped thousands and thousands of people worldwide successfully enter Canada on a work permit and we are very certain we can help you too.  No one can guarantee an approval (not even us), but we are certain with our years of experience and current success rate that we can greatly increase your chances at a positive outcome for your case.

The first step towards a successful Canadian working visa application is getting an assessment of your case. Fill out our FREE immigration assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and visa options.

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