Work in Canada and How to Get a Work Permit

Migrate Canada » Work in Canada and How to Get a Work Permit

Canadian Work Permits

In this Episode we’re going to look at working in Canada or more specifically how to get a work permit for Canada.

Obviously Canada is one of the best places to live in the world. I do have a little bit of bias there. But mainly this is due to Canada having one of the strongest economies in the world with a significant upward economic trajectory, and in order to fuel this economic growth, each and every year, Canada issues hundreds of 1000s of work permits to talented individuals from all over the world.


Navigating Canada’s work permit options can seem really complicated. And actually, it’s quite straightforward and relatively easy. You just need to know where to look to have the right information at your fingertips at the right time.


But for now we’re going to look at the two major programs; the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) and the international mobility program (IMP). There are obviously similarities and differences between the two.


When it comes to the TFWP temporary foreign worker program, it exists only to address the critical labor shortages in Canada and employers must really demonstrate to the Canadian government that the hiring of a particular foreign worker is due to the absolute complete absence of suitably skilled workers in Canada and to prove this absence or lack of suitable workers already in Canada.


A company wanting to issue the temporary foreign worker program work permit to a new employee must complete what’s called a labor market test. You may have already seen this written or heard about it. It’s called the labor market impact assessment. LMIA which of course gives the Canadian government the final overall say on whether hiring a particular foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact on the overall Canadian labor market. And in practice, the Canadian government is not anti immigration in in any way. So if a company goes to them and says, “Hey, you know, we’ve done our labor market impact assessment, we need to hire this foreign worker”, it’s unlikely that the government is going to turn around and view that in a negative light.


The whole TFWP is pretty straightforward because once the labor market impact assessment has been confirmed, the foreign worker can actually then go ahead and submit a straightforward work permit application directly to the IRCC.


So then the TFWP is slightly different from the international mobility program. The IMP exists to further Canada’s very diverse and social interests. And for me, what really stands out is that for the international mobility program, a Labor Market Impact Assessment is not required.


If you are eligible for the Canada IMP, this is an even more efficient and expedient way of getting a Canadian work permit. So if you are eligible for the imp, simply go straightforward and make that application direct to the IRCC. And if you want to know how, then head over to for more information.



So what are the pros and cons of a work permit versus Express Entry and permanent residency?


Well, obviously the TFWP and the IMP are what’s called temporary work permits. And by temporary we’re not meaning, you know, not one week or two weeks what we’re talking about is something of a significant amount of time, potentially one to three or maybe even four to five years.


However, at all times within that period, being on those visas, you’re classed as a temporary resident. Now obviously this is different to the permanent residency classes available via Express Entry such as federal skilled worker visa, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experience Class, and of course, all of the other provincial nomination programs that are available. And obviously the benefits of permanent residency being it’s a pathway to citizenship you’re allowed to live and work in Canada without restriction come and go as you please access education, access healthcare, and after a certain amount of time obviously sponsor other people into Canada as well.


But this is not to say that the TFWP and the IMP should be discounted altogether. Because they know that absolutely, really good, solid ways of being able to move you and your family to Canada. And obviously, once you have been able to then build up a certain amount of direct work experience in Canada on one of these visas, then of course it helps your overall application for the Canadian Experience Class visa via Express Entry.



International Mobility Program


Lots of people will say to me, “Hey, Monty, you know, I understand what the TFWP right, I understand the labor market impact assessment. I’ve discussed it with employers and agents”. But not many people have heard of or have explored the international mobility program in anything more than a cursory glance.


So what then is the IMP, the international mobility program? Well, the many pathways that fall under the international mobility program, really as a result of Canada’s many free trade agreements and domestic policy arrangements, and one such agreement would be the Canada United States Mexico Agreement known as CUSMA. Now they see you CUSMA was formerly known as NAFTA. And it’s a great free trade agreement that allows Mexicans, Americans and Canadians to work in each other’s territories and regions without the need for a Labor Market Impact Assessment.


Other things that fall under the Canada IMP would be the Working Holiday Visa type visa agreement that Canada has with lots of other partners and nations around the world.




How do I get a Canadian work permit under the TFWP? Well, essentially the TFWP is an employer driven process and any suitable employer must have a vacancy, they must have advertised that vacancy and determined that there are no other suitable skilled workers in Canada available to do the job that’s advertised.


So once you’ve applied for the job, and once you’ve been accepted or once we’re certainly moving down the road towards acceptance, the employer will apply for the Labour Market Impact Assessment, they will receive a positive or neutral assessment back. Once this is secured the foreign worker could then go ahead and submit their job offer letter, the LMIA letter and all the other supporting documents that are required to the IRCC to get the work permit.


And if you want to know what those documents are, head over to Canada Made Check it out. Everything’s there. It’s available for free.


Work permits under the TFWP are classed as closed


This means that the foreign worker can only work for the employer so that the work permit is tied to the employer. And it’s only available for the set duration that has been already expressly agreed both in the contract with the worker and with the Canadian government.


If a job comes to an end, for whatever reason, you are afforded a little bit of time in order to find a different employer who will then also have to go through the same checks and balances and processes as the previous one. Although, unfortunately, if you’re not able to secure another job, then you don’t want to get into the position of being an overstayer at any point.


So the generally accepted route to take is once you’re on that TFWP and your family potentially has moved to Canada as well. Everybody settled, everybody’s enjoying life. As soon as you can apply for or simply get an Express Entry application in progressing that Canadian Experience Class because every month that goes past and every year that goes past that you’re working on that TFWP you’re building up direct Canadian in country experience, which is only going to help you in terms of that Canadian Experience Class and that move towards permanent residency.


So how do I work in Canada under the IMP?


Well, securing a working permit with the IMP can be either driven by the employer or the foreign worker. For example, if an employer has a vacancy, and the foreign applicant falls under one of the IMP streams, say for example, resident of Mexico or the United States, then the employer can quite easily hire that foreign worker.


Additionally, and unlike the TFWP, a foreign employee that falls under the IMP programme can usually go and work for any employer of their choice. So it’s not a closed visa per se.


Once you have an IMP work permit, you can go work for one employer. If for whatever reason that doesn’t work out, then it’s pretty straightforward to then switch it and go work for another or another without the risk of worrying about becoming an overstay. Of course, with that IMP as well, you’re building up that direct Canadian work experience so lots of other different permanent residency visa types will  start to materialise or become more accessible for you after that period of time.


So what are the main reasons for someone to get an imp or to come to Canada under the imp temporary visa program?


Obviously the first one we’ve already mentioned is the CUSMA, where US and Mexican citizens may be eligible for facilitated processing when making that application to work in Canada. The second most popular reason for an IMP includes inter-company work transfers where certain employers are allowed to obviously transfer their employees through different offices either around Canada or switched into or interspersed with the US or or other applicable regions.


Who uses the IMP?


Entertainment industry workers obviously come into Canada on that IMP and it supports what is actually becoming a booming and burgeoning television, film and entertainment industry in Canada. And Canada obviously has great bilateral agreements with over 30 countries that allow young people to gain work experience in Canada. And these countries include obviously the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, all of Europe, lots and lots of countries involved in that.


Business visitors, foreign workers or employees who show that they meet certain conditions such as maybe they’re going to be in Canada for six months, looking at business opportunities, for example. Maybe they’re attending conferences, but crucially it comes from the fact that a foreign business visitor won’t be technically entering the Canadian Labour market, but need to be there for some other reason. Maybe negotiating deals or speaking at conferences.


Canada Post Graduate Work Permit


The other really popular stream of IMP is the postgraduate work permit (PGWP) and we’re going to speak about this and lots of other different podcasts as well. PGWP is a great way of converting from a study visa into a work permit into ultimate permanent residency and citizenship as well.


So, after you’ve done a period of study at a Canadian university or a college, for example, maybe that three year course or four year course, maybe you’ve even gone on to do a masters or even in certain instances a PhD. Well, after that study has come to an end. You can apply for and be granted a post graduation work permit which allows you to work in Canada for a period of up to three more years.


And the benefit of that being that if you’ve gone to study in Canada. You are already now ticking the box for Canadian qualification.


The second tick in the box there’s going to be direct Canadian work experience well, because you’ve been working for three years on the PGWP you absolutely do, so really it’s a very easy, very efficient and very, very much utilized immigration pathway from one country to another via that study route.


The other instance of IMP being very popular would be a bridging open work permit. And this is where eligible candidates who are already living in Canada can apply for a bridging open work permit while their permanent residency process is actually being processed.


So not only is the applicant allowed to remain in Canada, all eligible spouses and partners and children can also get the bridging open work permit as well. If they’re living in Canada, and obviously are suitable.


These are obviously just some of the many many ways that you can enter Canada and work legally. And as we said before, don’t be confused about this. Don’t be confused about the jargon. have the confidence to certainly take a look at it yourself.


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