Do I Need a Job Offer to Get a Work Permit?
(Below is a transcription of this video)
Hi, this is Michael Niren, Immigration Lawyer and founder of VisaPlace.com. We were asked this common question, “Do I need a job offer in order to get a work permit?” Now, I’ve had discussions about this before online and I am going to try my best to clarify and outline the circumstances that are applicable in this case, because in some cases you don’t actually need a job offer to get a work permit. But let me just outline the situations, the most common situation where you in fact do need a job offer.
Applying for a Work Visa to Canada or United States
In most cases if you’re applying for a work visa to Canada or to United States, you need a job offer first. You need a company who is willing to commit to you, to sponsor you and offer you a job. And that’s the first step. Then after that if the company is willing, their forms have to be filled out and an application has to be submitted to the government to get you a work permit and usually it’s a two step process where the company first has to get approved for the job offer to the foreign national and then step two is that the applicant (the foreigner) has to then apply for the work permit.
Instances Where you Don’t Need a Job Offer to get a Work Permit
Now, there’re some exceptions to that, for example under NAFTA where you could apply at the port of entry without necessarily going through that two step process. But, in both cases a job offer is the first thing. However, having said that, there are certain circumstances where a job offer, at least a formal job offer, is not necessarily required. For example, if you’re a businessperson and you wish to start your own business you could potentially apply for a work visa on that basis. In the United States we call that an E-2 visa, in Canada it’s a different type of visa. But essentially there are circumstances where if you’re interested in investing in your own business and starting a new business you can actually get a work visa without having a job offer from a separate company.
Open Work Permits
In addition, if you are a spouse of a work permit holder you could potentially apply for what we call an open work permit, which means that you don’t need a job offer from a company. You could as a spouse get a work visa because your spouse has a former work visa. We call it an open work visa. Now, there are restrictions to that, not all visas are allowed for that. For example currently the H1B visa you can’t really get as a spouse a work visa although there’s talk to change that and I hope that comes through, but there’re other circumstances where you can.
Thirdly, let’s say you wish to expand your business from your home country into United States or Canada, we call that an inter-company transfer. That’s a circumstance where you could not necessarily get a formal job offer, or you don’t need a formal job offer from a company, but rather you are expanding and growing your business into Canada and the United States and on that basis apply for a visa. So there are circumstances where you don’t need a job offer in order to get a work permit. But every case is different and in most cases you’re going to have to really explore what your options are and do your homework and preferably consult with an immigration professional before you make such an application. So this hopefully has cleared up some misconceptions that people have that, “Oh, if I don’t have a job offer I can’t get a work permit.” Yes, in many cases that is true, but not in all cases.
So hopefully this has given you some insight and if you liked the video I’d appreciate if you can click like and feel free to visit our website at www.VisaPlace.com.
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About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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