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Work Permit

Most foreign nationals need a work permit to work in Canada. There are two types of work permits

  • Open Work Permit - allows to work for any employer in Canada, except for an employer

    • who is listed as ineligible on the list of employers who have failed to comply with the conditions or

    • who regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages

  • Closed Work Permit - allows to work according to the conditions on work permit

    • the name of the employer can work for

    • how long can work

    • the location where can work (if applicable)


Eligibility for all work permit applications

  • prove to an officer that will leave Canada when work permit expires

  • show having enough money to take care of self and family members during stay in Canada and to return home

  • obey the law and have no record of criminal activity

  • not be a danger to Canada’s security

  • be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed

  • not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions

  • not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages


Eligibility for applying work permit from inside Canada

  • have a valid study or work permit

  • spouse, common-law partner or parents have a valid study or work permit

  • eligible for a post-graduation work permit and study permit is still valid

  • have a temporary resident permit that is valid for more than six months

  • waiting on a decision on an application for permanent residence inside Canada

  • allowed to work in Canada without a work permit but need a work permit to work in a different job

  • trader, investor, intra-company transferee or professional under the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).


Global Skills Strategy


Start working in Canada almost within two weeks.


Requirements LMIA (LMIA-exempt) not required

  • apply from outside Canada

  • job is either skill type 0 (managerial) or skill level A (professional) in the National Occupational Classification system

  • employer has submitted an offer of employment using the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee

  • International Experience Canada applicants are not eligible.


Requirements for LMIA required

  • Apply from outside Canada

  •  have a positive LMIA through the Global Talent Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program


Restore your status and get a work permit


Apply to extend or change the conditions of  current work permit at least 30 days before the expiry date. Status will be lost if the work permit expires before applying to extend or change.  and/or if the conditions on the work permit are followed. 


Work permit cannot be extended beyond the expiry date of current valid passport.


Foreign nationals should stop working immediately if they lose their status in Canada. Application to restore status should be made within 90 days of losing status. Applicants should leave Canada and apply from outside Canada if more than 90 days of losing status. 


Family members who are in Canada also lose their status and they must each apply separately to get status restored. 


Students whose study permit has expired, need to apply to restore their status and authorization to study. Eligible candidates can apply for a work permit at the same time.


For those with Employer-specific work permits must apply to extend or change the conditions of the work permit if:

  • their job is extended

  • there are changes to current job

    • a change in pay

    • new responsibilities

  • offered a different job

  • want to work for a new employer


Note that until a work permit is issued with new conditions, candidates cannot work at a different job or for a new employer. 


International students can work in Canada if study permit conditions allow them to work on- or off-campus.


Without a work permit conditions:

  • are a full-time post-secondary student at a:

    • public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec

    • private college-level school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools, and is at least 50% funded by government grants, or

    • Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law

  • have a valid study permit, and

  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).


International students without work permit must stop working on-campus

  • on the day stop studying full-time

  • when the study permit expires

  • on an authorized leave from regular studies

  • switching schools and not studying


Requirements for International students to work off campus without a work permit


  • a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI) enrolled in

    • a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program or

    • a secondary-level vocational training program (Quebec only)

  • The study program

    • is at least 6 months long and

    • leads to a degree, diploma or certificate

  • have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)


Work hours (Off-Campus) for International Students

  • can work up to 20 hours per week during regular school terms/semesters. 

  • can work full-time during a scheduled break such as winter and summer holidays, or a fall or spring reading week. 


Must be a full-time student both before and after the break to work full-time. However students cannot work before the start of the very first school semester.


Students must apply for a work permit in below situations


  • study permit does not authorize to work off campus during study

  • only enrolled in an English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) program

  • only taking general interest courses

  • only taking courses required to be accepted into a full-time program

  • situation changed and no longer meet all of the requirements to work off campus


Students can start working full time after completing study program in two ways 


  • already applied for a work permit before your study permit expired or

    • were already working off campus during studies

    • applied for a work permit or post-graduation work permit (PGWP) before expiry of current study permit

    • currently waiting for a decision on work permit application

  • starting a new study program

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