Canada Work Permits
Canada is a country of immense diversity and welcomes immigrants worldwide. To work in Canada, foreign nationals must obtain authorization through a work permit. There are two types of work permits; those that require an employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada, and those that do not.
LMIA Required Work Permit
These permits require employers to demonstrate that they have tried to hire Canadians for the position but have yet to find suitable candidates. The employer is then required to hire a foreign worker instead. Once approved by ESDC, the LMIA will allow an employer to apply for a work permit for the foreign worker.
LMIA-Exempt Work Permit (International Mobility Program)
These work permits are granted to foreign nationals who qualify for specific categories of work permit exemptions. This program allows employers in Canada to hire foreign workers without an LMIA if the candidate meets specific criteria ie; If they are from a country which has signed a trade agreement with Canada or if the employer is offering wages higher than the prevailing wage rate in the region. These categories include the following:
Intra-Company Transfers: This program allows multinational companies to transfer employees from one of their affiliates abroad to their Canadian Branch.
Open Work Permits: These permits allow foreign nationals to work in Canada for any employer, provided they meet certain criteria, such as having valid immigration status in Canada.
Post-Graduation Work Permits: These permits allow international students who graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution to work in Canada for up to 3 years.
In addition to these categories, there are other exceptional cases in which foreign nationals may be granted a work permit without an LMIA.
Canada- United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)
Foreign nationals may also be eligible for an LMIA-exempt work permit through the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. This program allows individuals aged 18-35 to come to Canada for up to two years for a temporary job or internship. To qualify, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements outlined in the program.
Professionals Working Under a Free Trade Agreement (FTAs)
Spouses or Common-Law Partners of Work Permit Holders
Spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers may be eligible to receive a work permit in Canada. This type of permit is typically valid for the same duration as the primary applicant’s work permit and can be extended, depending on the individual’s situation. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate that they are married or in a common-law relationship with a foreign worker who holds an eligible work permit, such as an LMIA exempt or International Experience Canada (IEC) permit.