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Canadian Work Permit & Visa Process: Immigration Lawyers & Agents Specialized in Immigration Services
Close to 2,200,000 New Foreign Workers Immigrate to Canada Every Year!
Working in Canada is an attractive option for many skilled foreign workers from all over the world. Each year, close to 2,200,000 foreign skilled workers come to work in Canada on Temporary Canadian Work Permits. There is no reason why this cannot be you too!
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 is 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:
- Employer applies for labor market opinion (if necessary)
- Employer extends temporary job offer to foreign workers
- Foreign skilled worker applies for work permit
- Work permit is issued
Step 1 Labor Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) formerly LMOs
Before applying for a temporary Canadian Work Visa, in most cases, you need to qualify for a Labor 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;
A new time limit for high-wage Canadian temporary work permits may be imposed, but has not yet been announced.
For 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.
New! – ‘Open Work Permits’ for PR Applicants
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.
New! Electronic Travel Authorization Form Now Required
New entry requirement now in effect: visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travelers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA.
Important: If you are stateless or if you are traveling with a travel document issued to non-citizens, such as a foreign passport or a refugee travel document, you need to apply for a visa to visit or transit through Canada.
Canadian Working Visas for Skilled Americans
Are you a citizen of the USA who wants to work in Canada? If so, you can fast track your way to working in Canada via NAFTA. Americans are applying for a Canadian work permit in record numbers and, if applicable, you should take advantage of this opportunity!
The Canadian economy is strong and is taking in many U.S. Citizens looking for work. The good news is that we have the NAFTA Agreement. NAFTA makes getting a Canada work visa for Americans and Mexicans much easier.
What is required is a job offer from a Canadian company in a field listed in the NAFTA agreement, proof of qualifications including work experience and education, as well as citizenship.
Canadian Family Visas
There are alternative ways to make sure that family members that wish to be together can migrate together. Some family members such as spouses and/or dependent children can be included during the initial work visa application for new immigrants to Canada. Other family members such as grandparents must be sponsored by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Under the Express Entry program, dependent family members of the work visa applicant are also granted permanent residence in Canada. They can enjoy all the same rights to live, work, and study in the country. The Express Entry program helps connect family members of the recipients of Canadian work visas with the rest of country.
Working in Canada While on a Student Visa
Since June 2014, those who are holding Canadian Study Permits who meet the eligibility criteria are allowed to work on or off the campus without the need for a separate work permit. The eligibility criteria to be able to work up to 20 hours a week are:
- Must have a valid Canadian Study Permit
- Must be a full-time student
- Must be studying at an authorized designed organization in Canada. These organizations include Canadian universities, community colleges, college d’enseignement general et professionnel (CEGEP), publicly funded trade or technical school, or a private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees.
- Must be studying at a post-secondary level in Canada, or;
- Must be studying towards a secondary level vocational qualifications, or a post-secondary level qualification in Quebec
- Must be studying on a program that awards a degree, diploma or certificate
- Must be studying on a program that lasts for at least 6 months
Have an immigration question?
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Top 4 FAQs about Canadian Working Permits
Question 1: Do all foreigners require a Canada Work Visa?
No. Certain persons are EXEMPT or do not require Canada Work Visas, such as:
- Foreign Diplomats
- Military Personnel
- Performing Artists (under certain circumstances)
- Ship or Truck Personnel
- Designated Foreign Buyers and Sellers
Note: Other exemptions are found in the Canadian Immigration Regulations.
Question 2: If I work in Canada on a work permit, can I get permanent resident status?
Possibly yes. If you work in Canada for one or more years under a valid work permit, you may be eligible for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class or another category depending on your job classification and your language proficiency.
Question 3: Can I apply for a temporary work permit and a Canada immigration visa?
Yes, you can. You may apply for a temporary work permit on its own or in combination with an application for a Canada immigration visa.
Question 4: How long will it take to get my work permit?
Work permits that are applied for at a Canadian Port of Entry can be issued the same day (which is rare). Most Canadian work permit applications are filed outside of Canada and are released within a matter of days or weeks, depending on whether or not a medical examination is required and the workload at the particular visa office to which you applied.
Why Seeking Professional Help for Work Visas is Important
Often, employment and business opportunities are time sensitive and for that reason having a legal representative in Canada with expertise in the area of work permits is the most efficient way to proceed.
For work permits, there is a higher risk of refusal in cases where the application is not properly prepared. The standards are very high. The documentation and processes involved in successfully obtaining a work permit are complex and usually require legal expertise. You are also not guaranteed a work visa renewal if you have received one before. Legal representation will better your case to ensure a renewal for Canadian work visa.
It is recommended that you seek professional immigration help to consult with your particular case. Many professional immigration law offices will help people from all around the world without the need for a face-to-face interview or consultation. These agencies use online tools such as phone calls, and email to speak with those looking for help obtaining a visa.
Why Hire Us to Help You with Your Work Visa Applications
We have helped millions of people worldwide successfully enter Canada on a work permit, and we are very certain we can help you too perfectly. We are confident with our years of experience and current success rate that we will significantly increase your chances at a positive outcome for your case.
The first step towards a successful Canadian working visa application is getting an evaluation of your case. Fill out our FREE online immigration evaluation, and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and visa options.
Skilled Worker Applications
Skilled Worker Applications: A path for Permanent Residence in Canada
If you are a skilled worker, you may be able to qualify for Immigration to Canada. A Skilled Worker application is one of the main paths for immigration to Canada. Canada accepts thousands of Skilled Worker Applications each year. However, the process is not easy and is very time consuming. Applying for Canadian Permanent residence requires knowledge of the requirements, procedures, Canadian Embassies as well as how to respond to inquiries from Canada immigration during the application process.
Our law firm has over 32 years of experience in handling Skilled Worker cases from virtually every country. Applying for Canadian immigration will be one your the most important life decisions. Make sure your case is in good hands!
Contact our immigration office for a comprehensive assessment of your Skilled Worker Application.
Applying for Canadian immigration as a Skilled Worker
The Skilled Worker Category is for individuals who immigrate to Canada on the basis of their own personal credentials. To qualify for this category, applicants are assessed on a number of different “factors” about their personal circumstances and are awarded “points” for each factor. How many points do you need to qualify? The answer is 67. What are the factors that give you these points?
Skilled Worker Application Tips
Here are some tips to get you started to give you a just an idea of what score you are likely to get.
Note that to qualify under the Skilled Worker Class, you will have to have at least one (1) year of full-time (37.5 hours per week or more) work experience within the past ten (10) years in one of the occupations listed in either Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The NOC was developed by Human Resources Development Canada to be a systematic cataloging of occupations in the Canadian labour market. The NOC is divided into five (5) bands:
- Skill Type 0 Management Occupations
- Skill Level A Professional and Related occupations
- Skill Level B Technical, skilled trades and paraprofessional occupations
- Skill Level C Occupations of intermediate level, clerical or supportive functions
- Skill Level D Elemental sales or service and primary labor occupations
Subject to certain limited exceptions, only experience in Skill Type 0 or Skill Levels A and B are considered relevant for applicants in the Independent/Skilled Worker Class.
If you have at least one year of work experience within the last ten years in occupations listed under Skill Type O, A or B, you then have to be assessed according to various selection criteria by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Applicants must attain a minimum score of sixty-seven (67) points overall in order to be eligible to become permanent residents of Canada.
These selection criteria are as follows:
Education Maximum 25 Points
Official Languages Maximum 24 Points
Experience Maximum 21 Points
Arranged Employment Maximum 10 Points
Age Maximum 10 Points
Adaptability Maximum 10 Points
TOTAL POINTS 100 Points
Points to Pass 67 Points
How Many Points Do YOU Get?
Calculating your points can be somewhat complicated. It is more than just a matter of adding up the scores. It is NOT recommended that you rely on your own assessment. There are many legal issues involved in the proper calculation of immigration points that must be taken into consideration when adding up your score. A thorough understanding of Canadian immigration law is required to accurately assess whether you have enough points to immigrate. It is recommended that you get a professional assessment to accurately calculate your score.
IMPORTANT: Changes to Skilled Worker Program Announced June 26, 2010.
In order to expedite backlog processing, some restrictions have been placed on Skilled Worker program applications. Some applications will not be processed.
Unless you have an offer of arranged employment; or you have already been living legally in Canada for one year as a temporary foreign worker or international student, you must have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in one of 29 specific high-demand occupations.
What if I don’t get enough points to qualify as a Skilled Worker?
It is important to note that if an applicant scores below sixty-seven (67) points, he/she may still be approved in cases where the immigration officer assessing the case exercises positive discretion in the applicant’s favour. The Immigration Regulations permit an immigration officer to exercise positive discretion in such a case, if the officer is of the opinion that it is likely that the applicant will economically establish himself/herself in Canada. Beware however, that the Immigration Regulations gives an immigration officer the power to exercise negative discretion in cases where the applicant scores 67 points or above if the officer forms the opinion that the applicant will unlikely economically establish himself/herself in Canada.
How can we help with your Skilled Worker Application?
Like all immigration applications, getting it right the first time is essential. Our firm makes sure that your Skilled Worker Application is prepared properly which means ALL the documentation and information necessary is assembled and organized for review by the Visa officer. We also prepare a detailed legal submission letter explaining why you are a qualified candidate for Canadian immigration. Finally, we make sure your application is submitted to the correct Visa office. Once your application is submitted we also monitor it as its being processed. We are there for you every step of the way!
Changes to Skilled Worker Program
Changes to the Skilled Worker Program have been proposed to take effect early 2013.
Update: New Skilled Worker Program announced. Here are the details. Will take effect May 4, 2103
Update: Skilled Trade Occupations open up for Permanent Residence
Do you need help with your Skilled Worker Application?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org