How to Get a Canadian Work Visa in 6 Steps

By Michael Niren July 30, 2012 (Updated January 6, 2021) 5 min. read
Canadian work visa

Each year, around 200,000 foreign-skilled workers come to work in Canada on Temporary Work Permits. Canadian work permits also known as, Canadian work visas, make provisions for working in Canada without the need to undergo points-based assessments. In order to work in Canada on a Canadian work visa, foreign-skilled workers must have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer and be granted a Labour Market Opinion by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).

Learn How to Get a Canadian Work Visa

Understanding the process is crucial when applying for a Canadian work visa. Canadian work visas, which are temporary and are not the same thing as immigration visas, are in most cases available only to those who have a job offer from a Canadian employer who is authorized to fill the position with a foreign worker.

The employer must cooperate with the prospective employee to complete this process because a positive labor market opinion (a document confirming the position’s status) is usually required to obtain the work visa.

  1. Determine whether a passport or temporary resident visa will be required to obtain a temporary work visa. These items are only required for some prospective employees, and it’s best to obtain passports and submit applications for additional visas early in the process if they are necessary.
  2. Check on the requirements to apply for a work visa. The requirements depend on the position. For most jobs, a written job offer from the employer, proof of a positive labor market opinion, and a diploma or proof of work experience are necessary to apply for the visa. For jobs that do not require a positive labor market opinion, a passport (or another travel document) and proof of immigration status in the country from which you are applying are required. A medical exam or criminal background check may also be necessary.
  3. Obtain a temporary work visa application package from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website or from a Canadian visa office in your home country (see Resources). Fill out all materials in the application package and gather together all additional paperwork required for the position. Failure to fill out the entire application or submit all the necessary paperwork can result in the work visa application being delayed or canceled.
  4. Find your Canadian visa office. The application and paperwork must be submitted, either in person or through the mail, to the Canadian visa office that is responsible for processing applications from your country or region. Ask the workers in that office about a processing fee; the costs vary depending on the type of visa and the office. Submit the application and paperwork, along with the correct application fee and any other necessary materials, to the visa office. Any incomplete applications will be returned to the applicants, so make sure all the requirements are fulfilled.
  5. Check the visa processing times. Work visa processing times can vary depending on where you are applying from. Submitting the application with all required materials can speed things along.
  6. Keep the Canadian visa office updated on address changes, name changes, or changes in marital status or living situation. Any changes can slow the application process if authorities are not informed of the situation.

How Can I Get A Canada Work Visa? (Canada Work Permit)

Before a Canada work permit can be issued, the Canadian employer who wishes to hire temporary foreign workers will need to apply for and be granted a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). HRSDC will grant a positive LMO if they are satisfied that there is no Canadian permanent resident or citizen available to do the job.

You should apply as soon as you receive written evidence of your job offer or contract of employment and your Labour Market Opinion (LMO) of HRSDC. You must show the Immigration department’s officer that you meet the requirements and that you will be in Canada for a temporary stay.

Further Steps to get a Canadian Work Visa

A properly completed form along with all the required documentation will make your application a lot smoother. No one wants their application delayed or worse, denied.

Frequently Asked Questions 

After completing an application, how long does it take to receive a work visa for Canada?

Unfortunately, we cannot know the exact processing time because each work permit application is decided on an individual basis.

Are the terms Canada Work Visa and Canada Work Permit the same?

Yes, the terms can be used interchangeably to describe a temporary visa granted by the Canadian government to workers.

Do I need a job offer in order to get a work permit?

For the most part, you will need to have a job offer before you can obtain a work permit for Canada. A company sponsorship is a crucial aspect of your application process.  However, there are exceptions like open work permits. Find out more about work permits for Canada that do not require a job offer.

Can an American work in Canada?

Yes! An American citizen can apply for a Canadian work visa. Find out more about your temporary Canada work permit options.

Let Us Help You Get a Canadian Work Visa

VisaPlace Legal have over 15 years of experience in handling immigration applications. Contact us and let us help you make your next move.