Canadian Work Permits

To work in Canada, a foreign national must receive authorization – work permit.
A work permit is a document issued by Immigration Canada that allows a foreign individual to work for a limited time at a specific job for a specific employer in Canada.

In most instances, a work permit will only be issued by an immigration officer after Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has approved the job offer of a Canadian employer to a foreign national.

An ESDC opinion enables Immigration Canada to determine whether the employment of the foreign worker is likely to have a positive, neutral or negative impact on the labour market in Canada. A positive or neutral labour market impact assessment is necessary for a foreign worker to be issued a work permit.

The factors ESDC considers include whether a Canadian or immigrant could fill the job; whether the hiring of a foreign national will help create opportunities or benefit for Canadian job seekers; and whether working conditions and wages offered are in line with what a Canadian would expect.

The ESDC validation process thus entails that the Canadian employer demonstrate that a “significant” effort has been made to seek and hire a Canadian for the position in which there is a petition for validation. Work permit will be refused if the ESDC opinion is that the wages and working conditions offered are insufficient to attract and retain Canadian job-seekers. This policy is to ensure that foreign workers are not improperly used by Canadian employers to drive down the wage structure in the Canadian labour market.

Once ESDC grants a confirmation for the job that the foreign worker has been offered, the worker may apply for a work permit at a visa office, or, if the worker is a U.S. citizen, at a port of entry.