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Pile of Coins

Work Permit

Earn a living while pursuing your dreams with our immigration service

At the cornerstone of a healthy economy is a strong labour market. Over the years different sectors of the Canadian economy have experienced what can be considered a boom. Among them is the construction industry in certain parts of Canada which has expended not only because of our growing population, but also because of the growing value of land in Canada. It is for these and many other reasons, that labour shortages arise. 


Some industries and professions may have an advantage of being labour market impact assessment or LMIA exempt. This means that people qualified to work in those professions may be eligible for a work permit without an LMIA from their employer. This is the case for certain kinds of athletes, performers, religious workers, researchers, guest lecturers to name a few. A professional immigration consultant or immigration lawyer can advise regarding exemptions and the complex LMIA process.


Spouses of skilled workers working in Canada are also LMIA exempt. Spouses of students enrolled in eligible courses of study and post graduation work permit holders also benefit from some exemptions. People who have already applied for permanent residence through Express Entry or a provincial nominee program may qualify for open work permit through the bridging open work permit program. 


Conversely, most other immigrants interested in coming to work in Canada will require an approved LMIA from their potential employer. This means that the employer must obtain a positive opinion from Service Canada stating that the employment of a foreign worker is likely to have a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labour market. The LMIA immigration service is at the cornerstone of securing a work permit. The other factors that are vital to success on a work permit application are the applicants employment history and education as well as any criminal, health or admissibility issues. Labour market needs change from time to time and LMIA is directly effected by such changes and economic needs. An immigration consultant is constantly on top of the latest industry developments and can be contacted for more information at our firm.


For employer-specific work permits, it is important to comply with all the restrictions of the work permit which usually limit the location of work, the occupation, the duration of employment and other prohibitions from engaging in studies etc... In the case of open work permits, they are usually not location or industry specific and the employee is much more flexible in seeking employment of their choice. However, not every job or work experience will qualify for permanent residence and people on open work permits who are interested in eventually applying for permanent residence must be aware of provincial and federal program requirements regarding the hours of work, wages offered and industry experience. 


Temporary status holders in Canada must be weary of compliance regimes surrounding employment and work permit requirements. Be aware of what constitutes work and especially engagement in the Canadian labour market. If you are uncertain, ask a lawyer because violations of conditions could lead to inadmissibility in the future.


The kind of documents one can expect to comprise a work permit application include an employment contract, approved LMIA or LMIA exemption, proof of meeting the requirements of the job including education and experience, resume or CV, biometrics, a valid passport for the duration of the employment offer and forms and/or other qualifications specific to the industry or occupation. Some jobs are regulated and require a licence to practice while others are not. All these factors effect the ultimate approval of a work permit. 


There are several ways to apply for a work permit. The one that is the most commonly used by our lawyers and consultants is to apply online. The wait times very depending on the volume of applications received by IRCC at that particular time. A popular alternative in the past has been to apply at the border, however, this has its own downside and may not be an option for everybody. Visa-exempt passport holders can rely on the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations in order to request this option but visa-required passport holders may encounter some issues in this approach. More often than not in the recent months, people have been turned around and told to apply online with IRCC. We therefore caution work permit applicants to explore all the avenues through an immigration service and really weigh their options prior to undertaking a path that may not be optimal at the end.

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