Annually, millions of people apply to visit and work in Canada. Typically, to work in Canada as a foreign worker, you’ll need a work permit. This article tells you everything you need to know about how to get a Canada work permit:

Step 1: Get a job

Usually, you will need a written job offer or contract of employment from your employer in Canada before you can be granted a work permit.

Note that to apply for an open work permit, you do not need to provide a written job offer with your application.

However, open work permits are issued in limited circumstances. They are usually granted to:
1. Accompanying spouses and common-law partners in certain cases,
2. Accompanying dependent children in certain cases.
3. Participants in International Experience Canada (working holiday).

Note also that some jobs do not require a work permit. However, If you are a citizen of Nigeria or other countries that require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada, you will need to apply for a visa if you do not need a work permit.


Step 2: Potential employer gets Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

In most cases, your employer will need to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire you. The LMIA is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This is the document that gives an employer permission to hire a foreign worker. LMIA is usually granted when the employer satisfies the ESDC that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident ready to take the job. You will still need to provide evidence that you meet the requirements of the job offer before you will be granted the work permit.

There are a few cases where LMIA may not be required and they include cases:

  1. That comes under international agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
  2. Where the work brings significant economic, social or cultural benefits to Canadians;
  3. Which falls into part of the reciprocal agreements entered into between Canada and its provinces/territories with other countries, such as youth and teacher exchange programs;
  4. that allows international students studying in Canada to fulfil academic requirements, known as co-op placements;
  5. To allow the spouses/common-law partners of Work Permit and certain Study Permit holders in Canada to work in Canada;
  6. Because the nature of the work is charitable or religious;
  7. In recognition that certain persons in Canada for reasons other than the above-mentioned, such as the making of a refugee claim, need to support themselves.

Step 3: Potential employer makes a job offer

The LMIA, as we have mentioned, is an approval which allows an employer to hire a foreign worker. So, upon securing the LMIA, the Canadian employer can offer a (temporary) job to a foreign worker. Note that for the work permit application, the employer must send a copy of the positive LMIA and a detailed job offer letter to the foreign worker. These documents are required in completing an application for a work permit.

Step 4: Apply for your work permit

With these documents, you can now apply for Canada Work Permit.

Sample Canadian Work Visa | Image Credit: Beeton & co

Where to Apply

You normally have to apply for a work permit from outside Canada. Sometimes, you can apply as you enter Canada or from inside Canada, but many of the requirements are the same.

How you apply and how long it will take to process your application depends on the kind of work you will do when you get to Canada.

Note, You must apply for a work permit outside of Canada if:
1. You or your accompanying dependents need a temporary resident visa, or

2. Your accompanying children (6-18 years old) need a study permit, or

3. You or your accompanying dependents require a medical examination, or

4. You are participating in International Experience Canada, or

5. you will be working as a live-in caregiver, or

6. you will be working as a seasonal agricultural worker, or

6. you or your accompanying dependents have been convicted of a criminal offence.

Note also that in addition to the LMIA and job offer, you must meet the requirements to enter and stay in Canada.

Documentation and Language 

Submitted documents must be in English or French. Documents in other languages must be accompanied by a certified translation.

Failure to submit all required documentation may result in the refusal of your application or processing delays.

False statements or submission of fraudulent documents will result in immediate refusal, five-year ban and potential legal action.

If your spouse/common-law partner and/or children wish to accompany you to Canada, they need to apply for their own Work permit, Study Permit or Temporary Resident Visa.

Required documentation:
Application form (click here to apply)

  1. Two (2) passport photographs
  2. Original passport for yourself and each family member requesting a visa, including
    children. (Note: Visa validity will coincide with the work permit validity or passport validity whichever is shorter as the visa cannot be).
  3. Curriculum vitae or resume – up to date, in English or French, for yourself and your accompanying spouse or common-law partner
  4. Original Police clearance certificates
  5. Proof of present employment (if any) or Proof of business (if applicable)
  6. Job offer from your employer in Canada
  7. Evidence that you meet the requirements of the job offer such as employment references outlining previous jobs and job duties, copies of relevant education certificates, proof of professional qualifications.
  8. Marriage certificate and birth certificates (if applicable)
  9. Relevant license to practice a profession (if applicable)
  10. Processing fee in the acceptable format.
  11. A copy of the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), (if applicable).
  12. Proof of financial support to cover the expenses for the duration of your visit.
  13. Family Information Form (IMM 5645)

click here for other details

Student Work Permit:

It is possible to work in Canada while you are living in Canada as a student. In some cases, you will need to apply for a student work permit.

As of June 1, 2014, you may qualify to work off campus without a work permit. If you qualify, your study permit will allow you to:

Work up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions

Work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays or spring break.

Work as a Co–op Student or Intern:

For some academic programs, work experience is part of the curriculum. Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit.

Stay and Work in Canada after Graduation:

To work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). If you want to stay in Canada as a permanent resident after you graduate, there are a number of programs available, each with its own requirements.


If you need any further assistant, call +234-903-000-1895 or email: [email protected].

Here is a list of what you’ll get for using our visa consultant:

  1. Consultation and confirmation that this visa is appropriate for you
  2. Thorough preparation of your visa application
  3. An extensive checklist of documents that you need for your visa application
  4. A full review of your personal, financial & employment history
  5. Careful arrangement of all correspondence with government agencies
  6. Submission of your visa application to the proper government agencies
  7. Expert advice on how to handle yourself at your Consular interview
  8. Unlimited assistance over the phone and in person


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Michael Alvin

Michael Alvin

Creative Writer
Michael Alvin is a lawyer and a UNESCO certified journalist. At Afro Tourism, he blends creativity with his training in telling moving stories about his personal experience on his various trips across Africa.
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin

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