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Canada Temporary Work Permit Options

Update: If you are a Canadian Employer, operating in agriculture, food processing, and trucking, for 10 occupations from these industries You might be able to skip the advertising requirement for the Labour Market Impact Assessment.

In order to work in Canada, it is necessary to ensure that a person has the proper working authorization.


The following programs in different degrees consider Your Canadian work experience as an asset and advantage when reviewing Your application:

•           Express Entry

•           Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

•           Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)

•           Federal Skilled Trades (FST)

•           Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

•           Quebec Immigration Programs

•           Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program


Types of Canadian work permits

There are many different options for obtaining a Canadian work permit. Some work permits require a job offer from a Canadian employer, some require that the employer provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), while others require that a person has some sort of connection to Canada (previous education, spousal sponsorship, etc.). Please refer to the categories below to determine the work permit which best suits your qualifications:  


Requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

•           Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

•           LMIA Work Permits

•           Facilitated LMIA (Quebec)

•           Global Talent Stream

LMIA-Exempt but requiring a job offer or employment contract

•           International Mobility Program (IMP)

•           LMIA-Exempt Work Permits

•           NAFTA Work Permits

•           CETA Work Permits

•           Intra-Company Transfers

Open Work Permits (no job offer or LMIA required)

•           Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)

•           Spousal Sponsorship from Inside of Canada

•           International Experience Canada (IEC)

•           Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

•           Spouse Accompanying International Student

How to obtain a Canadian work permit?

The process for obtaining a Canadian work permit varies greatly depending on which type of work permit you are applying.

Most closed work permit applications require that a foreign national has an official job offer from a Canadian employer which is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Even those who are LMIA-exempt or exempt from requiring a work permit should be aware of the unique documentation they need to prepare in order to ensure they are granted entry to Canada. There are two general pathways for obtaining a Canadian work permit: a closed work permit and an open work permit.

Closed work permits are tied to specific employers, this means that a foreign national issued a closed work permit must remain working with the same employer at the same location unless they change their work permit.


Each year, close to 200,000 foreign skilled workers come to work in Canada on Temporary Canadian Work Permits.

In order to work in Canada on a temporary basis, foreign skilled workers must have a temporary offer of employment from a Canadian employer and be granted a Temporary Foreign Worker Permit by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. If you or a family member are applying for a PR card, you can also apply via an ‘Open Work’ permit, and if you are American or Mexican, you can fast track the working visa process via the NAFTA agreement.

There are four basic steps to getting a temporary Canadian Work Visa:

1.         The employer applies for labor market opinion (if necessary)

2.         Employer extends a temporary job offer to foreign workers

3.         A foreign skilled worker applies for a work permit

4.         A work permit is issued


Step 1: Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) formerly LMOs

Before applying for a temporary Canadian Work Visa, in most cases, you need to qualify for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIAs) previously called an LMO from Service Canada. A temporary tourist visa will not provide eligibility to work within Canada


What is the difference between LMOs and LMIAs?

The procedure involved in obtaining an LMIA is similar to LMOs, but there are significant differences.:


High Wage Positions

  • The application forms have changed from the old LMOs and are more extensive

  • Employers must complete a ‘transition plan’ that will explain how they intend to permanently fill the job being held by the temporary foreign worker;

  • Employers are required to keep more detailed records during the foreign worker’s stay in Canada;

  • Individual applications will be processed more quickly.

  • Foreign workers in skilled trades, high paid workers with salaries in the top 10% of Canadian earnings, and employees immigrating for 120 days or less will all receive LMIA decisions in 10 business days;


Low-Wage LMIAs

The procedures and criteria involved for Low-Wage LMIAs are somewhat different than for High-Wage LMIAs. More restrictions are imposed on Low-Wage job offers than are high wage as follows:

Positive LMIAs for low-wage jobs will now allow employers to hire a foreign worker for only one year at a time.

For organizations with more than ten employees, low-wage foreign workers can make up no more than 10% of the workforce.

Transitional measures will apply to employers whose workforces do not comply with this new rule.

Canadian companies in the accommodation and food service sector as well as the retail trade sector will no longer be allowed to apply for LMIAs for jobs in ten lower-skill occupations.

As with high-wage LMIA applications, Canadian companies must now qualify with a higher application fee, complete longer application forms, and keep detailed records about their recruitment practices.

Who does not need to apply for an LMIA?

As in the case of the old LMOs, Canadian employers can recruit some TFWs without an LMIA. The following are categories where temporary work permits are LMIA exempt:

•           Skilled Workers covered under the NAFTA agreement;

•           Intra-Company Transferees;

•           International Experience Canada participants (also known as Working Holiday Permit holders);

•           Post-Graduate temporary work permit holders;

•           Bridging Open Work Permit holders; and

•           Participants in private academic exchanges such as postdoctoral fellows and visiting professors.

•           Programs such as those above have now been reclassified as ‘International Mobility Programs.’

Also, beginning in summer 2015 employers hiring through some International Mobility Programs must have their job offers approved by a Canadian visa office before their hired employees can request a Canadian temporary work permit. The processing fee for the job offer approval application will be $230.

Step 2: Employer Extends Temporary Job Offer

The employer must send a copy of the positive LMIA along with a detailed ‘job offer letter’ to the foreign skilled worker.

Canadian companies are required by CIC to prepare a formal employment contract or what our industry refers to as the ‘Job Offer Letter,’ which must include:

•           Job title for the position

•           Job description

•           Requirements for the temporary position

•           Details about start and end dates

•           Specifics about the salary

•           The name and address of the employer

Canada Service Agency will ensure that the job offer is legit and real. Once the Canadian immigration department has confirmed the job offer with an LMIA, then the CIC will grant employment authorization for the company’s future employees to work in Canada. Once the LMIA is granted, the Canadian employer can extend a temporary job offer to the foreign skilled worker.

Step 3: Foreign Skilled Worker Applies For a Work Permit

Once you have your LMIA and ‘Job Offer Letter’ squared away, you then can apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit. If the employer that is hiring you is in the province of Quebec, then you may also need to obtain a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)in order to work temporarily in Quebec. In some cases, when applying for a temporary foreign worker permit, you will be required to attend an interview with a visa officer. If the visa officer is satisfied that the foreign worker’s employment will not adversely affect employment in Canada for Canadians and that the foreign worker qualifies for the position, then a Canada Work Permit will be issued.

Note: In some cases, applicants from certain countries will be required to undergo medical examinations.


Step 4. Get Issued a Canadian Temporary Work Permit

A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will issue the Canadian Temporary Work Permit at the point of entry when the skilled foreign worker arrives in Canada. Depending on the foreign worker’s country of citizenship, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also need to be obtained in order to enter Canada. There are a few more minor steps and processes for obtaining a work visa.

As of December 15, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced that they would be allowing permanent resident applicants to obtain work permits while they are awaiting the finalization of their application. This will allow permanent resident applicants to now work while they are awaiting the answer on their application!

Who is eligible for the Bridging Work Permit?

•           Federal Skilled Worker Applicants

•           Canadian Experience Class Applicants

•           Federal Skilled Trades Program Applicants

•           Provincial Nominees


What are the requirements?

In order to be eligible, you must fall into one of the above categories, and you must also meet the following criteria:

•           You are currently in Canada

•           You have a valid temporary Work Permit, and it is set to expire within four months.

•           You have received a positive decision on your permanent resident application under an economic class, Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, or the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

•           You have made an application for an Open Work Permit.

This new ‘open work permit’ is a significant program in Canadian immigration and allows applicants to work during the processing of their PR applications.

General Information on Temporary Foreign Agricultural worker

You can only hire a temporary foreign agricultural worker in occupations and activities related to primary agriculture.

Primary agriculture is defined as work duties that must:

be performed within the boundaries of a farm, nursery or greenhouse
involve at least one activity, such as:
operation of agricultural machinery
boarding, care, breeding, sanitation or another handling of animals, other than fish, for the purpose of obtaining raw animal products for market collection, handling, and assessment of those raw products, or the planting, care, harvesting or preparation of crops, trees, sod or other plants for market

A temporary foreign agricultural worker can be hired under one of the following streams:

  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

  • Agricultural stream

  • Stream for high-wage positions

  • Stream for low-wage positions

How to proceed if you require assistance?

1. Email us ( Your issue and any documentation that you consider relevant


2. We review your documents and appoint a consultant/lawyer to contact you with the brief assessment


3. You decide whether to proceed.


All our cases are handled by experienced lawyers and RCIC immigration specialists.


Source & Copyright: The source of the above visa and immigration information and the copyright owner is the: Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Immigration Quebec

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