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Each year, nearly 300,000 foreign workers come to work in Canada on Temporary Work Permits.

Although there are some exceptions, as a general rule, foreign workers require a work permit to work in Canada on a temporary basis.

Obtaining a Canadian temporary work permit is a multi-step process that can take several weeks. There are a number of different ways to secure a work permit. Depending on one’s nationality, occupation, and intended work in Canada.

There are specific requirements you need to meet depending on where you are when you apply for your work permit.There are 2 types of work permits:

  • Employer-specific work permit
  • Open work permits

An employer-specific work permit lets you work in Canada according to the conditions on your work permit, such as:

  • the name of the specific employer you can work for
  • how long you can work
  • the location where you can work (if applicable)

Before you submit your application for an employer-specific work permit, the employer who wants to hire you must complete certain steps and give you either a copy of a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an offer of employment number to include in your application.

An open work permit lets you work for any employer in Canada, except for one that:


  • An international student who graduated from a designated learning institution and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
  • Spouses of international students who are studying full-time in Canada.
  • Spouses of foreign workers who are working under NOC skill type 0, A and B
  • Persons who are already applied for permanent residency in Canada and their applications have received a positive eligibility assessment
  • Family members of someone who applied for permanent residency in Canada
  • Refugee, refugee claimant, protected person or their family members
  • Persons who hold employer-specific work permit and are being abused or at risk of being abused in relation to your job in Canada
  • Students who’s no longer able to meet the costs of your studies (destitute student)
  • Spouse or common-law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
  • Persons who are under an unenforceable removal order
  • Persons who are a temporary resident permit holder
  • Persons who are a young worker participating in special programs
  • Family members of a foreign representative or foreign military member who is working in Canada