A Canadian work permit allows you to work under a specific employer (employer-specific work permit) or with any employer (open work permit) in Canada. As a foreign national, you’ll require a work permit before working in Canada, with a few exceptions.

Work Permit Canada Requirements

For you to be issued a Canadian work permit, there are specific requirements that you must meet. These requirements may differ depending on your location when applying and the type of work permit you’re applying for. However, regardless of these various factors, one must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a work permit:

  • Prove that you are financially capable of supporting yourself and your family during your time in Canada
  • Prove that you’ll leave Canada once your work permit expires
  • Not plan to work for an ineligible employer, i.e., employers who have failed to comply with the given conditions
  • Have no criminal record
  • Be of good health

If you are in Canada and you want to apply for a work permit, you must meet one or some of the following requirements:

  • Have a valid study or work permit
  • Graduated from an eligible school in Canada
  • If you’re under sponsorship, the sponsor must have a valid work/study permit
  • You applied for permanent residence and are awaiting the results
  • Have a temporary residence permit valid for at least six months
  • You’re an investor, business person, professional, or intra-company transferee under NAFTA
  • You’re protected by the IRCC or recognized as a convention refugee
  • Were previously working without a work permit but now you require one for another job

For an employer-specific work permit, you’ll need the following to be eligible:

  • Proof to show that an employer has offered you a job and they have paid the employer compliance fee
  • A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

Note that if you have a specific work permit, you can acquire an open work permit. An open work permit is only issued under specific circumstances.

How To Apply For Canadian Work Permit

How to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit

  1. Confirm Your Eligibility

Depending on the type of work permit, there are requirements that you must meet to become eligible. Check these requirements to ensure that you qualify for the program under which you want to apply for your work permit.

  1. Prepare the Required Documents

When applying for a work permit, there are certain documents that the IRCC will request you to submit together with your application forms. Preparing the necessary documents on time enables you to complete and submit your application in a smooth manner.

  1. Get Your Work Permit Application Forms

Work permit application forms can be completed online or by hand. Completing the forms online is more efficient as you’ll save on mailing costs and the forms will be delivered instantly to IRCC, which saves time. Note that you must apply online if:

  1. Submit Your Documents

Once you fill out your forms and attach the necessary documents, submit them to IRCC. It’s always good to double-check your application to make sure that all the required details and documents are included. Make all the payments before submitting the documents to avoid any delays.

Canadian Work Permit Processing Time

The work permit processing time varies from where (inside or outside Canada) and the country you’re applying from. Click here to check the processing time as per your location.

Work Permit Canada Checklist

  • Ensure you have the required documents as per the type of work permit you’re applying for
  • Before you start your work permit application process, make sure you’re eligible
  • Ensure that you apply as required, i.e., for some programs such as Global Skills Strategy, you have to apply online
  • Make sure you complete your forms as necessitated and attach all the supporting documentation

Canadian Work Permit Cost

Fees Amount in $CAN
Work permit per person

(Includes extensions)

Work permit for a group of three

Or more performing artists (including extensions)

Open Work Permit holder 100
Restore worker status($200) and get a work permit($155) 355


The short answer is “NO”.

Most work permits in Canada are issued for specific jobs with specific employers for a specific period of time. So, stating to work in an area different from what is stated on your work permit would be violating the conditions of your work permit.

Businesses in Canada can only be started by Canadian citizens or permanent residents (also known as landed immigrants). 

The only solution is changing your status to a permanent resident of Canada. As mentioned earlier, Permanent residents or Landed Immigrants are allowed to legally start their businesses in Canada. Therefore, you need to apply to immigrate to Canada under the possible options considering your situation.

There are several programs for which you can apply to immigrate to Canada such as Start-Up visa, Self-employed Person program, entrepreneur programs like Ontario Immigration Nominee Program- Entrepreneur Stream, and also Express Entry programs for skilled workers.

The International Mobility Program lets an employer hire a temporary worker without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). For the first step, a Canadian employer must confirm the position or worker in question qualifies for an LMIA-exemption, pay the employer compliance fee of $230 CAD, and finally submit the official job offer. After employer’s part is done, the temporary foreign worker must apply for a work permit. 

Workers who are eligible for the International Mobility Program (IMP) include:

  • Those who enter Canada under trade treaties, such as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) or the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).
  • Those who enter Canada on an open work permit.

Those who enter Canada as intra-company transferees.

The International Mobility Program Plus (IMP+) is a new open work permit option for Quebec-selected permanent residence candidates. Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) holders who live outside Quebec are eligible for an open work permit. This work permit will allow you to work for almost any employer in the province of Quebec. The IMP+ work permit will allow those who are selected by Quebec and received a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), but are residing abroad, to move to the Quebec and begin working while their application for permanent residence is processing. The approved IMP+, applicants will receive a three-year open work permit in order to work for almost any employer in Quebec.

Employer Requirements

Employee Requirements

Workforce Mobility Brochure

Let Us Be Your Immigration Experts

Whether you’re looking to obtain a closed or open work permit, or you’re an employer looking for a favourable LMIA from ESDC, Jane Katkova and Associates can expertly handle your case. We help you complete and submit your application and offer advice on the best strategies as per the uniqueness of your case.

Contact us today on any issues regarding work permits, and we’ll be glad to provide our services throughout the whole process.