Hundreds of thousands of work permits are issued by Canada each year to people from all over the world. This is attributable to Canada’s ambition to attract international talent to help it achieve its social and economic objectives. Canada offers work permits to foreign workers in order to meet the country’s economic and labor market demands.
Work permits are often issued for social purposes, such as keeping families together in Canada and strengthening cultural relationships with partner nations. More than 100 distinct work permit options are available in Canada to fulfill these policy objectives.
The paths are divided into two categories: The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
About the TFWP and IMP
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) was created to alleviate Canada’s labor shortages. Employers must show the Canadian government that recruiting a foreign worker is necessary owing to a lack of qualified workers in Canada. They must pass a labor market exam to demonstrate the aforementioned. It is known as the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
The Canadian government must then determine if the foreign worker’s hiring will have a positive or neutral influence on the Canadian labor market. Once this is validated, the foreign worker can proceed to the Department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC)in Canada to apply for a work permit.
The International Mobility Program (IMP) was created to promote Canada’s numerous economic and social objectives. The IMP does not require an LMIA. Instead, under the IMP, qualifying foreign workers can apply for a work visa through the IRCC. Some foreign workers may be able to skip this phase entirely and come to Canada to work for a limited time.
The IMP’s numerous paths are the outcome of Canada’s numerous free trade agreements and domestic policy goals. For example, the Canada-United States-Mexico Deal (CUSMA, formerly known as NAFTA) is a well-known free trade agreement that permits Americans and Mexicans to work in Canada without the need for an LMIA.
Due to the youth mobility agreements between Canada and partner industrialized nations, youth from all around the world are able to work in Canada under the IMP. Under the IMP, Canada also allows its citizens, such as international graduates and qualifying spouses/partners, to get work permits in order to gain local work experience and support themselves financially while living in the country.
About obtaining a Canadian work permit under the TFWP
Employers are in charge of obtaining a work permit under the TFWP. An employer must have a job opening and evaluate that no suitable personnel is available in Canada to fill it. After that, the employer must apply for an LMIA and wait for a positive or neutral response. Once this is in place, the foreign worker can apply for a work permit by submitting their employment offer letter, LMIA letter, and all other supporting documentation to IRCC.
Employer-specific work permits, often known as “closed” work permits, are issued under the TFWP. This means that the foreign worker can only work for the company that hired them and for a period of time that the Canadian government has permitted.
An employer or a foreign worker can lead the process of obtaining a work permit under the IMP. If a business has a vacancy and a foreign worker qualifies for an IMP stream, the foreign worker can be hired. Furthermore, unlike the TFWP, a foreign worker covered by the IMP can, in principle, work for any employer of their choice (although this is not the case for everyone).
The following are some of the most common grounds for being qualified to work in Canada under the IMP:
- CUSMA: American and Mexican citizens may be eligible for facilitated processing when applying to work in Canada.
- Intra-Company Transfers: This allows certain employers to transfer workers to their offices in Canada.
- Television and Film: Canada welcomes entertainment industry workers to support its booming TV and film industry.
- Business Visitors: Foreign workers who demonstrate they meet certain conditions, such as that they will be in Canada for less than six months, and will not be entering the Canadian labor market, can be eligible to work in Canada without needing a work permit.
- International Experience Canada: Canada has bilateral agreements with over 30 countries that allow youth to gain work experience in Canada.
- Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP): Eligible skilled worker candidates living in Canada can apply for a BOWP while their permanent residence application is being processed. In addition, eligible spouses/partners of Canadian citizens/permanent residents can get a BOWP if they are living in Canada.
- Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP): The PGWP is the most common work permit under the IMP. Eligible international graduates of Canadian designated learning institutions (e.g., colleges and universities) can obtain a PGWP for up to three years.