The Ultimate Guide to Work Permit Visa for Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide for Immigrants

Are you considering working in Canada? Do you want to understand the process of obtaining a work permit visa? Look no further. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining a work permit visa for Canada, so you’re fully prepared for the process.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right work permit visa for your situation: closed or open work permit.
  • To apply, you need a valid job offer and a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months or more, so plan accordingly.
  • Consider hiring a professional immigration lawyer or consultant to guide you through the process and increase your chances of success.


Canada offers a wide range of work permit visas, each with unique requirements and restrictions. It is essential to choose the right type of visa for your needs to ensure a smooth and timely application process.

Types of Work Permit Visa

Open Work Permit

An open work permit allows you to work for any Canadian employer for a specified period of time. Open work permits do not require a job offer and are available to spouses and common-law partners of international students or workers, refugees, and protected persons.

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Closed Work Permit

Closed work permits are issued for a specific job with a specific employer. Your employer must apply for the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). The LMIA is a document that serves to demonstrate that there are no Canadian workers available to fill the job you applied for.

Requirements for a Work Permit Visa

  • A valid job offer from a Canadian employer.
  • The employer must provide the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • The foreign worker must have the necessary education and work experience for the job.
  • The foreign worker must be in good health and provide proof of a medical exam if necessary.
  • The foreign worker must not have a criminal record and may be required to provide police certificates from all countries of residence.

The Application Process

The application process for a work permit visa can take several weeks to several months, depending on the quality of the application and your specific situation. Here is an overview of the steps involved:

  1. Determine eligibility: You must check whether you qualify for a work permit visa and which category applies to you.
  2. Obtain a valid job offer: You must find a Canadian employer willing to hire you and obtain a job offer letter.
  3. Receive a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA): The employer must apply for an LMIA to prove that there are no Canadians available to do the job.
  4. Apply for a work permit visa: You can apply online through the Canadian government’s website or in person at a Canadian visa application center.
  5. Wait for processing: Processing times can vary from several weeks to several months.
  6. Receive a decision: Once a decision is made, you will receive either a work permit approval letter or a letter of explanation outlining the reasons for the refusal.
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Tips for Applying for a Work Permit Visa

  • Apply early: Start the application process as early as possible to avoid unnecessary delays.
  • Hire an immigration lawyer/consultant: Consider hiring a professional to guide you through the process and increase your chances of success.
  • Be honest and accurate: Provide truthful and accurate information in your application to avoid delays or refusal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to process a work permit visa application?

The processing time for a work permit visa application can vary widely, ranging from several weeks to six months or more.

Can I work in Canada without a work permit visa?

No. You must have a valid work permit visa to legally work in Canada. Exceptions may apply for certain situations such as business visitors or performing artists.

How long is a work permit visa valid for?

The length of a work permit visa depends on the specific terms of the job offer and the LMIA. In some cases, work permit visas can be extended.

Can I study in Canada while on a work permit visa?

Yes. International workers with a valid work permit visa can study in Canada while working, provided they meet the conditions for both.

Do I need to attend an interview as part of the work permit visa application process?

Interviews are not typically required as part of the work permit visa application process. However, Canadian visa officers reserve the right to request an interview if they need further information or clarification on your application.

About the Author

Raymond Broady

Raymond is immigration attorney based in Los Angeles, California. He has a law degree from Harvard University and has been practicing immigration law for over two decades. Raymond is passionate about helping clients navigate the complexities of the US immigration system, and he shares his knowledge and expertise on the blog. His articles are informative and detailed, providing readers with valuable insights into US immigration policies and procedures.

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