Requirements for Skilled Foreign Workers

To get a Canadian work visa, you will need to demonstrate that you are competent to perform the duties of the position offered to you. Typically, this can be done by providing a copy of your education credentials for skilled positions. As each country and institution has its own education standards, you are required to have an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) done to demonstrate that you possess Canadian qualifications. Your ECA must be obtained from a designated organization.

Depending on the type of work permit you are applying for, you will need to provide additional information and supporting documents. Not always, but particularly when applying for a TFWP, you may need to provide proof of your intention to return to your country of origin, as well as past work experience and funds when applying for a Canadian work permit.

How to obtain a Canadian work permit


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Depending on the type of work permit a person is applying for, the process for obtaining a Canadian work permit varies greatly. Students studying in Canada will often be automatically authorized to work part-time as part of their study permit.

For most closed work permit applications, a foreign national must have a job offer from a Canadian employer, which is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Even those with exemptions from the LMIA or who do not need a work permit should be aware of the unique documentation they need to prepare in order to gain entry to Canada. Canadian work permits can be obtained in two general ways: a closed work permit or an open work permit.

A closed work permit is linked to a specific employer. In other words, foreign nationals with closed work permits must remain employed by the same employer at the same location unless they change work permits.

Eligibility requirements for all applicants

When you apply for a work permit, you need to meet specific requirements depending on where you are.

No matter where you apply or what type of work permit you apply for, you must

  • Prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires;
  • Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home;
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (you may be asked to provide a police clearance certificate);
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security;
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed;
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions;
  • Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages; and
  • Give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.

Global Skills Strategy applicants: You can only benefit from two-week application processing if you apply from outside of Canada.


Stage 1: Employer applies for Labour Market Impact Assessment

Stage 2: Employer extends Temporary Job Offer

Stage 3: Foreign Worker applies for Work Permit

Stage 4: Work Permit is issued

Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA)

Before applying for a temporary Canadian Work Visa, in most cases, you need to qualify for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Employers must complete a ‘transition plan’ that will explain how they intend to permanently fill the job being held by the temporary foreign worker;

Employers are required to keep more detailed records during the foreign worker’s stay in Canada;

Individual applications will be processed more quickly.

Foreign workers in skilled trades, high paid workers with salaries in the top 10% of Canadian earnings, and employees immigrating for 120 days or less will all receive LMIA decisions in 10 business days.

Employer Extends Temporary Job Offer

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

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

  • The job title for the position
  • Job description
  • Requirements for the temporary 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 an LMIA, then the CIC will grant employment authorization for the company’s future employees to work in Canada. Once the LMIA is granted, the Canadian employer can extend a temporary job offer to the foreign skilled worker.

Foreign Skilled Worker Applies for a Work Permit

Once you have your LMIA 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, when applying for a temporary foreign worker permit, you 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.


Get Issued a Canadian Temporary Work Permit

A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will issue the Canadian Temporary Work Permit at the point of entry when the skilled foreign worker arrives in Canada. Depending on the foreign worker’s country of citizenship, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also need to be obtained in order to enter Canada. There are a few more minor steps and processes to obtaining a work visa.

Note: If a certain position of your job is at the NOC 0 (managerial, executive) or NOC A (professional) level, you may be eligible for two-week application processing.