Most international people or workers need a work permit to work in Canada. If you’re not sure if you need one, find out if you need a work permit. There are 2 types of work permits: open work permits and employer-specific work permits.

The following people usually either doesn’t need a work permit or their work permit are LMIA-Exempted:

  • a worker on a film or television production
  • an academic
  • a researcher at certain Canadian institutions
  • a co-op student on a work term
  • a repair or maintenance worker for industrial or commercial equipment
  • a religious worker or someone working for a charity
  • a professional athlete or coach
  • a dancer, actor, orchestral musician or opera singer or someone in a related job
  • an entrepreneur
  • a worker on a farm (agricultural worker)
  • an employee for a foreign diplomatic mission, consular post, international organization, or foreign government
  • an employee of the owner or operator of an international bridge or tunnel
  • a worker whose employer is applying to hire you through the Global Talent Stream
  • a worker whose employer is applying to hire you under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot

Moreover you don’t need a job offer to obtain a work permit if you are:

  • aged 18-35 and wanting to travel and work under International Experience Canada
  • a commitment certificate holder for the Start-up Visa Program
  • already living or working in Canada and wanting to stay permanently
  • a spouse or family member of someone working or studying temporarily in Canada
  • a recent graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution
  • a worker under an international agreement
  • holding a temporary resident permit valid for at least 6 months
  • filed a claim for refugee protection in Canada
  • taking part in an exchange or reciprocal program
  • a worker under a federal-provincial/territorial agreement
  • a participant in the World Youth Program
  • a study permit holder who can no longer support themselves financially
  • a worker who is being abused or at risk of being abused in relation to their job in Canada
  • a French-speaking or bilingual skilled worker who intends to work outside Quebec
  • an employee being transferred within a company




Temporary Resident



Most employers need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can hire a temporary worker. Before you start the hiring process, you must determine if you need an LMIA. If you do need an LMIA, you must hire the temporary worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The TFWP lets employers hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for the foreign worker to fill the job you are offering and that there is no Canadian worker available to do the job.

Once a positive LMIA has been issued, you should provide a copy of the confirmation letter to each temporary worker and advise each of them to apply for a work permit.

You can find more information about LMIAs, application forms and employers’ responsibilities on Employment and Social Development Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program web page.

If you are an employer from Quebec, your job candidate may also need to get a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Quebec government before a work permit can be issued. For information about the CAQ, see the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (Quebec’s immigration department) website.

Open work permit

An open work permit is a work permit that is not job-specific. You may be eligible for an open work permit if you:

In each of these situations, you must meet additional criteria to be eligible. In most cases, you will have to pay the open work permit holder fee at the same time that you pay the work permit fee.


Skilled youth through International Experience Canada

If you’re a Canadian employer, you can hire skilled youth participating in International Experience Canada (IEC) to fill temporary jobs you haven’t been able to fill locally.

IEC has agreements with more than 30 foreign countries and territories that help youth (aged 18 to 35) from those areas get work permits faster. By hiring an IEC participant, you may be able to find skilled workers to fill jobs sooner.

You don’t need to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment to hire an IEC participant.

IEC has 3 streams that participants can apply to, although not every stream is available for all partner countries. Make sure the job you’re offering matches the requirements for the candidate’s stream.

(1) Young Professionals stream

Youth can gain professional Canadian work experience to help them compete in the global economy. To hire somebody from the Young Professionals stream, you need to make them a job offer.

The job must:

(2) International Co-op (Internship) stream

Participants in this stream must be students registered at a post-secondary institution. The work placement or internship must be required in order to complete their study program. To hire somebody from the International Co-op (Internship) stream, you need to make them a job offer.

The job must:

(3) Working Holiday stream

Participants in the Working Holiday stream have open work permits. There are no specific instructions to hire somebody with an open work permit. Follow the same hiring process as you normally would.

Global Skills Strategy

Employers want to attract top talent to work for their company, and they want a fast and predictable process to do this. To help employers find these highly skilled workers faster, we introduced the Global Skills Strategy (GSS). The strategy features faster application processing times, work permit exemptions and enhanced customer service.

Foreign nationals eligible for this priority processing must still meet all other eligibility and admissibility requirements, including providing police certificates if required. Eligible applicants must submit all required documents with their application. If they don’t submit the required documents, they will not get the 2-week processing time.

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt workers qualify for 2-week processing of their work permit application if they meet all of these requirements:

  • They’re applying from outside Canada.
  • Their job is either skill type 0 (managerial) or skill level A (professional) of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
  • The employer has submitted an offer of employment using the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee.

Spouses and dependants

Workers’ spouse or common-law partner and dependent children are also eligible for 2-week processing of applications. This applies to applications for visitor visa, work permit, and study permit. Spouses, common-law partners and dependent children must submit a complete application and apply at the same time as the worker.

The ideal gateway to apply for your Canada migration application at YLG: