Work Permits

Work permits are, for many, the first introduction to life in Canada.  Opening doors to wonderful employment opportunities and in some cases to permanent residency to Canada.  There is also another side where individuals are exploited with fake opportunities, or do not qualify because they did not properly address and understand the requirements to qualify.  At Bellissimo Immigration Law Group PC we have been representing workers for decades at every level.  We pride ourselves on our in-depth assessments and meticulous preparation.  We have shared with many foreign nationals, over many decades, the joy of a new opportunity in Canada.           

Like you, we know our work, so we are delighted to work for you.  Read below to learn more.

Work Permits

Foreign workers, who wish to enter Canada to work on a temporary basis and ease skill shortages in Canada, generally, require work permits/visas.

There are a few types of work permits/visas that one can apply for to Canada. Most of the work permits require an employer.

  1. Temporary Foreign Worker Program – under this program the employers must obtain first a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to temporarily fill positions whose skills are in short supply in Canada. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) / Service Canada must grant an approval to the employers to hire a foreign worker, because there is a need for such skills and no Canadian permanent residents or Canadian citizens are available. Once the positive LMIA is obtained by the company, the foreign worker can apply for the work permit/visa (WP). 
  1. International Mobility Program (IMP) – under this program, there are a few WP categories not requiring employers to first obtain a positive LMIA. A few examples of these WPs refer to the following: 
  • International or national agreements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection  Regulations (IRPR) section 204 – like the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) which replaces the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); Canada-Chile FTA/ Canada-Peru FTA/ Canada-Colombia FTA, Canada-Korea FTA; Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA); Agreement on Trade Continuity between Canada and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (CUKTCA); Canada-Panama FTA; Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP);
  • Provincial Nominees WPs
  • Canadian interests – IRPR s 205
  • Applicants with no other means of support under IRPR s 206
  • Permanent residence applicants in Canada – IRPR s 207
  • Vulnerable workers – IRPR s 207.1
  • WPs under humanitarian reasons – IRPR s 208
  • Other unique work situations

LMIA-exempt applications involve two phases:

1. The employer must submit an offer of employment to IRCC, together with an employer compliance fee, and provide the foreign national with the offer of employment number (the AA number), the fee receipt; and 

2. The WP application, together with a visitor visa for each family member, spouse work permit, and/or dependent children study permit/visitor record, depending on the situation. 

Note: If a job is at the NOC 0 (managerial, executive) or NOC A (professional) level, you may be eligible for a two-week application expedited processing.

The application must be submitted online, must be complete, and the application fees must be paid correctly.

Some of the most common Canadian WP applications include:

LMIA-Based Work Permit

A LMIA is a document issued by ESDC)/ Service Canada (SC) and is required to apply for most Canadian WPs. Prior to submitting the application for an LMIA, the employer must advertise, and advertising placement on the Job Bank must be one source. Applications for an LMIA for a temporary position have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker application.  The positive LMIA is provided by ESDC / SC to the employer, who will provide it to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a WP.

The validity of an LMIA was extended recently to three years, for certain categories of positions. Thus, the WP granted, could range for one to three years in validity. There are shorter processing times of ten days available for eligible highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay and for positions that are less than 120 days.

An application for an LMIA has the same requirements as an LMIA for Express Entry and Permanent Residence, hence receives the same scrutiny from ESDC. The foreign workers must demonstrate that they meet all the requirements of the position (i.e. education, experience, skills) as listed in the LMIA application. For more details about the LMIA process, please click here.

Global Talent Stream (GTS) LMIA

A program designed to hire highly-skilled global talent, which began in 2017, under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Global Talent Stream is a relatively new streamlined process. In 2019, GTS was transitioned into a permanent program. The Global Talent Stream is a key part of the Innovation and Skills Plan, which has as a primary objective, making Canada a world-leading centre for innovation.

The main characteristic of this program is the Labour Market Benefits Plan to detail the specific benefits for the Canadian Labour market and the Canadian economy. Employers must provide activities and targets for each benefit. By hiring highly-skilled global talent, the employer must commit to further providing both mandatory and complementary benefits, depending on the category they apply including:

Category A

  • referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of Global Talent Stream’s designated partners;
  • hiring unique and specialized talent;
  • mandatory benefits for Category A: creating jobs;

Category B

  • only occupations on the Global Talent occupations list;
  • mandatory benefits for Category B: increasing skills and training investments.

Alongside job creation and investment in skills and training, other benefits include transferring knowledge to Canadians and permanent residents and enhanced company performance.  There is presently no advertising requirement and no transition plan for this stream; however, there is a mandatory progress review of the employer’s commitments in the Labour Market Benefits Plan. 

LMIA-Based Work Permit under Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)

Provincial Nominee Programs facilitate the entry to Canada of many categories of professionals who otherwise might not qualify under the Express Entry System. Note: if a Canadian employer has not found or trained a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to fill a labour shortage, proper planning is necessary ahead of time for a new LMIA. The temporary worker can apply for a work permit extension before the initial work permit expired, and can continue working while awaiting a decision to be made on their application. For new LMIA applications for high-wage positions, the transition plan must be feasible, to be credible, with realistic and verifiable implementation steps of the following:

  • increased efforts to hire Canadians and train them in the long-term; or
  • support the high-skilled temporary foreign worker transition to becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

If currently working in Canada on a work permit, which will soon expire, and you have submitted an application for permanent residence through the Express Entry system, under one of the programs available – Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) or Federal Skilled Trades (FST) – you may be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). As the name suggests, a BOWP is issued to bridge the gap between the expiry of the work permit and the final decision on the permanent residence application.

After an electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) is submitted through the Express Entry system, an Acknowledgement of Receipt letter is generated in the applicant’s “My Application” account. This letter provides a file number and confirms that the application has been received. Applicants who are eligible for a BOWP may apply immediately after receipt of this letter.  To be eligible for a BOWP, the e-APR must first pass a completeness check.

This means that an Immigration Officer has completed an initial assessment of the application and has verified that all necessary information and documentation have been received. If the completeness check is successful, the application for a BOWP will then be processed. If the e-APR is found to be incomplete, the application for permanent residence will be rejected and the application for a BOWP will be refused. Therefore, if relying on a BOWP to continue working in Canada, it is very important that the permanent residence application is completed accurately. If the application is rejected and the work permit has expired, you will not be legally able to submit another BOWP application until after a new e-APR is received by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).  In addition to passing the completeness check, to be eligible for a BOWP an applicant must:

  • Be currently in Canada and intend to live outside of Quebec;
  • Have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within the next four months;
  • Be the main applicant on the permanent residence application submitted;
  • Have submitted an application for an open work permit, which includes the processing fee.

Business Expansion to Canada through PNPs

Provincial nominee programs authorize provinces and territories to nominate applicants based on the labour market and economic needs of each province or territory. Please visit our PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAMS page here.

Intra- company Transfer (ICT) – existing subsidiary in Canada

The first key element of an LMIA-exempt application is to establish the relationship between the Canadian organization and the parent company, branch or affiliate outside Canada. To be eligible for the intra-company transfer to the Canadian office, the foreign national eligible must have been employed for a minimum of one year in the same position by the parent company, subsidiary, branch or affiliate company, outside of Canada.

The transferred personnel have the option to be joined by their family members for the period  working in Canada. Contact us to explore best options.

Start-Up Intra-Company Transfer Work Permits – (New Office)

Before making an LMIA-exempt work permit application, the Canadian company must register or incorporate in Canada, so the qualifying company relationship between the entities is established.

International Experience Canada (IEC) Work Permit

A work permit under this category is meant for youth between 18 and 35 years of age from a country of citizenship that has an agreement with Canada that allows IEC WPs. There are three categories, (1) Working Holiday (2) Young Professionals and (3) International Co-op internship but not all three are applicable to all countries: 

Working Holiday, Young Professionals and International Co-op internships.

The working holiday category provides an open work permit, while the young professionals and the international Co-op internship provide employer-specific work permits. It is important to keep updated, as the eligibility requirements for countries and categories are continuously changing.

For example, Chilean citizens may participate in IEC twice, under any of the three categories. Under the Young Professionals category, Chilean citizens, particularly post-secondary graduates, who wish to further their careers by gaining professional work experience in Canada for up to 12 months can submit their profile to the pool. To be eligible, the Chilean citizen must:

  • be of age between the ages of 18 and 35 (inclusive)
  • have a signed letter of offer or contract of employment in Canada—the employment offer must be in their field of expertise and enhance their professional development
  • provide proof of financial resources to help cover expenses in Canada, and to purchase a departure ticket at the end of the authorized stay in Canada
  • provide evidence of health insurance
  • not be accompanied by dependents
  • be admissible to Canada.

To determine your eligibility please contact Bellissimo Immigration Law Group PC.

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