Work Permits

Work permits are available to residents and citizens of countries other than Canada who desire to temporarily reside and work in Canada.  Individuals in certain specified job categories do not require a work permit (see for details).  In most cases, however, an individual will have secured an offer of employment from a Canadian employer and will be required to obtain a work permit.  Individuals may also need to ensure that the prospective employer obtains a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). The LMIA is required to ensure that the employer will not deprive a qualified Canadian citizen or permanent resident from a work opportunity.


The process that must be followed to obtain a work permit varies depending upon the applicant and circumstances underlying the application.


For temporary foreign workers:  a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), formerly referred to as a "Labour Market Opinion"), is generally required (except in specified cases, such as workers covered under international agreements, participants in exchange programs or religious workers - a complete list can be found at:  A temporary worker application is usually made from outside Canada, but can also be made from within or when entering Canada.  A number of conditions must be met by an applicant, including:

must leave Canada at the end of the employment period;

must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support the stay in Canada;

must be in good health (a medical examination may be required);  and

must not be a risk to the security of Canada and does not have a criminal record.

For detailed information relating to eligibility and application requirements, please refer to:


For businesses seeking to transfer employees from non-Canadian locations to their Canadian offices on a temporary basis, the federal government's Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) program may be a route to securing work permits upon terms appropriate to the needs of the business.

Transferees must have at least one year of full-time work experience with the foreign employer and be coming to Canada to perform comparable work for the business's Canadian affiliate. Work in Canada must fall under one of three categories:  

Executive  -  An employee who primarily directs the management of the business or a major component thereof. 

Senior Managerial  -  An employee who manages all or part of the business and supervises or controls the work of other senior employees.  

Specialized Knowledge  -  An employee who can demonstrate both proprietary knowledge of their company's products or services in addition to an advanced level of specialized knowledge which is above average for workers in their occupation. 

Eligible Intra-Company Transferees are exempt from the requirement that the employer obtain a favourable Labour Market Impact Assessment, which is applicable to other Temporary Foreign Worker applications.  This can significantly reduce application cost and processing time.

For business people (as distinguished from "business visitors," who do not need a work permit), a work pemit must be obtained in order to enter Canada to conduct business or investment activities underone of the free trade agreements (FTAs) to which Canada is a signatory.  Such agreements include the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other bilateral agreements (for example, the Canada-Chile FTA, the Canada-Peru FTA, etc.) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The conditions for obtaining a Work permit under an FTA vary according to the particular agreement (more details can be found at:

For live-in caregivers, who are persons able to provide care for children, elderly people or people with disabilities in private homes without supervision.  A live-in caregiver must live in the same private home where he or she works, as well as fulfilling other conditions:

The employer must secure a positive labour market impact assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada;

 A written contract with the prospective employer must be submitted with the application;

 The applicant must have finished the equivalent of a Canadian secondary school education; and

 The applicant must have a minimum of six months of training or one prior year of full-time paid experience as a caregiver or in a related occupation.

For complete details, please consult:



For students, eligibility requirements vary depending upon the location and type of work for which an application is made, such as work on-campus, work off-campus, co-op work or internship, or work following graduation from a program of study.  Specific requirements can be found at: