I want to work in Canada !
Unless you are a permanent resident or a citizen of Canada, you should normally hold a work permit to be allowed to work in Canada. There are some very limited exemptions, however you should confer with the immigration authorities or an immigration professional before starting a job in Canada without proper work authorization.
Applying for a work permit is the sole responsibility of the foreign worker. To do so however, the foreign worker will need the support of the Canadian employer. Most work permit applications are submitted electronically. Before applying, the Canadian employer must provide the foreign worker with either:
- A positive/neutral LMIA and the associated Quebec Acceptance Certificate (if applicable)
- The offer of employment number as obtained through the employer’s MyCIC account
Processing delays will fluctuate greatly based on the country of residence of the foreign worker, the nature of the position, the qualifications of the foreign worker and the time of the year the application is submitted. While some work permits can be delivered on the same day, others can take up to six months to be finalized.
Foreign workers are protected, just as for any Canadian workers, by the applicable provincial or federal labour laws. If you decide to resign or if you are terminated, you will most likely be required to change your work permit given most permits are employer-restricted (meaning restricted to one employer only).
The costs relating to the LMIA fees ($1,000 Cad) or the employer electronic job offer fees ($230 Cad) must be paid by the Canadian employer. Government fees for the issuance of the work permit ($155 Cad) can be paid by the Canadian employer or the foreign worker, subject to an agreement between the parties.
When a foreign worker is employed in Canada on an employer-restricted work permit that is valid for at least six months, the worker is usually eligible to provincial public health care coverage. A waiting period of 3 months may apply. Under certain type of work permits, such as the International Experience Canada streams, a private medical coverage can be required.
All conditions as declared by the employer when applying for the LMIA or the work permit must rigorously be respected to avoid any situation of non-compliance. You should always confer with the Canadian immigration authorities or an immigration professional prior to accepting any changes to your employment conditions once the work permit has been issued.
It is generally not recommended to come to Canada before a decision is rendered on the work permit application. This is become a Border Officer may assume that you will start working without a work permit.
Your spouse or common-law partner (at least 12 months of cohabitation) and your children below the age of 22 can accompany you to Canada. Depending on the nature of your job in Canada, your spouse or common-law partner could be issued an open work permit.