Do You Need a Canadian Work Permit to Work in Canada?

Do You Need a Canadian Work Permit to Work in Canada?

For international talent and employers, Canada offers more than 100 different work visa opportunities.


The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program are run by Canada (IMP).

The Labour Market Impact Assessment, a test of the labor market, is what distinguishes the TFWP from the other two programs (LMIA).


It can be challenging to navigate Canada’s work permit possibilities, but we want to make it as simple as possible for you. With more than 45 years of experience, Cohen Immigration Law is a preeminent Canadian immigration law practice.

To arrange a free telephone consultation with one of our work permit attorneys, please fill out our contact form.

Work Permit Types in Canada

In Canada, there are two varieties of schemes for work permits:



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  1. Temporary Foreign Worker Program: A foreign national must complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before applying for a work permit.
  2. Program for Global Mobility: A foreign national may acquire a work permit without submitting an LMIA.


Employers are required by the LMIA to show the Canadian government that the hiring of foreign worker won’t have a negative effect on the country’s current labor force. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), a government agency, seeks to make sure that recruiting foreign workers won’t push down wages for local employees or cause them to be displaced. The Temporary category includes workers who require an LMIA.

Despite the fact that LMIA applications are the norm, there are a variety of work permits that are LMIA-exempt as a result of free trade agreements, such as the previous North American Free Trade Agreement, now known as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA. Through these FTAs, foreign workers can apply for a work permit without their employer first acquiring an LMIA. Foreign workers who do not yet have a job offer have a variety of work permit options available to them, including working holidays, post-graduate work permits, and open spousal work permits, in addition to these employer-sponsored work permits. The International Mobility Program covers employees who do not require an LMIA (IMP).

One can work in Canada under a variety of circumstances, including the following:

Required by LMIA

The process for these work permits includes the employer acquiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

LIA Exempt

Under specific conditions, people are permitted to work in Canada without first obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment.


These are given under the CUM Agreement (previously NAFTA), allowing work without an LMIA.

Transfers Within a Company

These licenses will enable an organization to bring specific staff from its overseas locations to Canada without an LMIA.

Commercial Clients

As long as they adhere to certain requirements and stay out of the Canadian labor market, business travelers can frequently work in Canada without a work permit.

Permits to Work After Graduation

International students may work for up to three years in Canada after completing a Designated Learning Institution.

Consider Your Options for a Work Permit

I have a job offer in Canada already.

Check out our Work Permit Services to learn more about what you need to do to obtain the necessary authorizations to work in Canada if you have received a job offer from a Canadian employer and are unsure of what to do next. Cohen Immigration Law will be pleased to help you throughout the entire procedure.

In the province of Quebec, I’ve received a job offer.

The requirements for working in Quebec are specific to the province. You must first complete the process by obtaining a document known as a CAQ. Additionally, you should be aware that Quebec has its own list of professions that qualify for a quick LMIA. Due to the fluency of several of our specialists in French, we are knowledgeable about the nuances of immigration and work permit applications to the province of Quebec. Contact us if you’d like to take advantage of our expertise, and make sure to mention that you have a job offer in the Quebec region.

I am a citizen of Mexico or the United States.

Certain people may work in Canada thanks to specific ties that the country has with the US and Mexico. The former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now known as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), permits people to work in Canada with a CUSMA work permit. Professionals, intra-company transfers, traders, and investors can avoid the standard work permit process thanks to CUSMA, which is divided into four categories. Please mention that you are a citizen of Mexico or the United States when contacting us.

I want to hire a foreign worker for my Canadian company.

We would be pleased to provide you with guidance on the best ways to bring a foreign worker to Canada if you are a Canadian firm wishing to hire a person from overseas. The requirements of the worker you have in mind, your business needs, and your choices for bringing them to Canada will all be covered by our work permit professionals. You might need to request a Labour Market Impact Assessment depending on your requirements. In contrast, there can be particular programs designed to meet your needs quickly through an exemption, such as an intra-company transfer. In order to determine your alternatives,

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As a tech worker, I

For international IT talent with a job offer in the country, Canada provides a variety of work visa paths, including through free trade agreements like CUSMA. The Global Talent Stream is one of the most popular pathways. The Global Talent Stream makes it possible for tech professionals to get federal government approval to work in Canada within one month. If you are an employee or an employer looking to secure a work visa for IT talent through the Global Talent Stream or any of the many other alternatives you may have, please get in touch with us.

I work in the movie and TV industry.

Although foreign employees and producers are still required to adhere to Canadian work permit regulations, labor market impact assessments are not necessary for TV and film workers in Canada. For information on how to obtain work permits for TV and film, click here.

As an entrepreneur, I’d prefer to work in Canada.

If you have business management or entrepreneurial experience in addition to the Entrepreneur Work Permits, make sure to research Canada’s Entrepreneur Start-Up Visa Program. To learn more about using an intra-company transfer work permit to launch a new firm in Canada, visit our page on International Business Start-ups in Canada.

As a self-employed person, I want to work in Canada.

Under certain conditions, a number of programs permit self-employed people to work in Canada. The application process could be a little challenging if you want to work independently in Canada. We would be pleased to evaluate your credentials for employment in Canada, nevertheless. To find out more about your choices, get in touch with us.

I attend a Canadian educational institution, or I recently graduated from one.

You can be qualified for a Post-Graduation Work Permit depending on how long you studied in Canada (PGWP). If you want to apply for Canadian immigration through Quebec, the Provincial Nominee Program, or Express Entry, this work visa is a great way for you to get experience in Canada. Contact us if you need PGWP support.

I’m seeking work in Canada.

We have the ideal resources to get you going if you are seeking for work in Canada or have received a job offer from a Canadian business but are unsure of what to do next. You might also want to look at some of our excellent tools for finding a job, including our Job Search Tool or our other Career Coaching Tools.


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