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How To Obtain A Work Visa In Canada

How to Obtain a Work Visa in Canada

Canada is a popular place to live, attracting immigrants from around the world. It is no wonder that the country ranks above average in critical quality of life metrics, including security, health, work-life balance, income and wealth. Canada is also known to be extremely immigrant-friendly. In fact, it has been rated the most welcoming country in the world for immigrants.

If you are looking to make Canada home, you have made a great choice. You can also expect to find many job opportunities awaiting, from office jobs in urban metropolises like Toronto to outdoorsy gigs in picturesque Vancouver ski resorts, education jobs in university cities like Montreal, and government roles in the country’s capital of Ottawa.

That said, if you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you cannot just enter the country and start working. You will need a work visa. This article gives you the information you need about work visa requirements for foreign nationals who want to work in the Great White North.

Who Needs a Canadian Work Visa?

Canadian nationals and permanent residents do not need a work visa. In most cases, if you do not fall into one of these categories, you will need a visa to work in Canada. There are a few exceptions. Certain jobs, defined by the Canadian government, are exempt from visa requirements, including: Athlete or athletic coach, Military personnel, Emergency services provider, Health care student, Family members of foreign representatives, Foreign government officer, Convention organizer, Clergy, Civil aviation inspector, Business visitor, Media or news reporter, Public speaker, and Performing artists.

There are also exemptions for short-term highly skilled workers, short-term researchers and international students working on- or off-campus, among others.

However, note that simply filling one of these definitions alone will not be sufficient. There are other criteria you will need to meet to qualify for the work visa exemption. For example, if you are the family member of a foreign representative, you must have an accreditation from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) as attested by the GAC counterfoil in your official passport. You must also have a letter from the GAC.

Here is another example: As a health care student, you do not need a work visa if you are working as part of your training program and studying in Canada. The primary goal of your employment needs to be training, the training must last less than four months, and you need to have a written letter of approval from the relevant province’s regulatory authority.

As you can see, it is important to do your due diligence to determine what Canadian work permit requirements apply to your unique situation. The above list is not comprehensive. You can get more details on which roles require a work visa and learn about criteria for exemption eligibility via qualified Canadian Advisors on Relocate. Whether you have a specific question or general inquiry, browse qualified Advisors in Canada.

Canadian Work Visa Requirements

The visa application process for getting a Canada work permit will depend on the permit you apply for and the type of work you do. However, the Canadian government has a few general requirements for work visa applicants that apply across the board. Relevant points include:

  • Intent to leave Canada: You must convince immigration officials that you will only stay in Canada for as long as your work visa is eligible, and that you will leave the country once it expires.
  • ** Financial means:** You must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to care for yourself and any family who will accompany you to Canada. You must also have enough money to return to your home country.
  • Criminal past: You must have a clean criminal record and might be asked to provide a document from your home country’s law enforcement attesting to this fact. You must further convince immigration officials that you will not pose a threat to Canadian national security.
  • Personal health: You should be in good health if you plan to work in Canada. You may have to provide documentation such as medical exams, vaccination records, etc
  • Employer: Canada has a list of ineligible employers who have been non-compliant with Canadian immigration law in the past. You cannot plan to work for these employers.

You also must comply with any requests for additional documentation made by Canadian immigration officials when applying for your work visa. For more details about who can apply for a work visa in Canada, request consultations directly with Canadian Advisors.

4 Steps to Getting a Temporary Canadian Work Visa

If you get an offer of employment from a Canadian company, they can sponsor you as a temporary foreign worker. With this type of visa, your Canadian employer will have to start the visa application. However, it is critical that you familiarize yourself with the formal steps of the process, as well.

Canada frequently requires employers who want to hire foreign nationals to undergo a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to confirm they are justified in hiring a foreign individual to the job. The LMIA verifies that there is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident available who could fill the role in question, and thus, that there is a need for the employer to fill the role from outside the country.

There are LMIA exemptions (e.g., on the basis of international agreements, for certain types of work, for individuals with refugee status). Your future employer can consult the government website list of exemption codes to see if they can skip the LMIA. Note that this situation applies for employer-specific work permits.

How to Turn a Temporary Work Permit Into a Permanent Canadian Residence

Your temporary resident visa will have a designated expiration date. At this point, it is no longer valid, and you will have to leave Canada. However, if you are enjoying your time in Canada and want to stay for longer, you might consider transitioning to a permanent Canadian residency permit. This will require you to complete additional paperwork and go through a different visa application process.

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These are some of the common pathways to permanent residency you might pursue.

Canada’s Express Entry program offers a streamlined path to permanent residence. It uses a points-based evaluation system to identify applicants with good odds of succeeding as an immigrant in Canada. It looks at factors like education, age, language skills and prior Canadian work experience, among others.

Express entry is possible for work permit holders in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class. Express Entry may also be implemented in the framework of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) — more on that below.

You can apply for Express Entry online. First, confirm your eligibility. Then, gather the documents you need. You can then submit your personal Express Entry profile online. If your application is successful, you will get an invitation to submit an application for permanent resident status.

Get Help Obtaining Your Canadian Work Visa

Getting a visa to legally work in Canada typically involves some heavy lifting and administrative, yet important, paperwork. Find support in your journey through Relocate. Dig-deeper into important topics for immigrating to Canada, and connect with qualified Advisors who can confidently address your questions about living and working in Canada.

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