This status is granted to those who wish to work temporarily in Canada. Depending on the country of origin, a visa is required to enter Canada, thus it is necessary to make the application on time and to meet the requirements of the Government of Canada before the planned date of travel. In most cases, in order to work in Canada foreign nationals must first obtain a work ​permit. This authorization may be “open” or “closed” depending on the type of permit
In order to obtain work permit in Canada, you must usually have pre-arranged employment from an employer authorized to hire you. If you are accompanying a spouse or common-law partner to Canada you may be eligible for a spousal work permit.


1. Having a job offer or the employer’s employment contract in Canada previously confirmed by the federal government through the Ministry of Employment and Social Devolvement. This is done after the employer has obtained a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA);
2. Being able to demonstrate that the applicant and all persons traveling with the applicant will leave Canada at the end of the work period;
3. The applicants should demonstrate that they possess a sufficient amount of financial resources that will cover their expenses while in Canada, and the expenses of those accompanying them.
4. Being able to show that none of the people who plan to travel have criminal record;
5. Provide all the documents required by the immigration office of the Government of Canada where the application will be filed
6. Being able to demonstrate that the applicant and all persons traveling are in good health;
The temporary worker visa is the document that allows you to travel to Canada. However, upon arrival, an immigration officer will be the one to generate the work permit, which may be conditioned depending on:
• The type of work in which the applicant may work
• The employer for whom the applicant may work
• The city or province in which the applicant may work
• The time for which the applicant is authorized to work
Family members who plan to travel with the applicant may be allowed to work or study during their time in Canada. Processing times for this visa vary depending on the country where the service is requested. The Government of Canada is the one who determines the processing time.
It is important to note that it is difficult to change the status within Canada. If during your stay in Canada as a visitor you receive a job offer, the applicant must manage to change their status from visitor to temporary worker outside Canada and meet all requirements of the Canadian Immigration office where it will be filed on record.
Currently there are several international treaties that allow citizens of certain countries to obtain open work permits in Canada. However, this must be handled in accordance to each of the international treaties. Normally, Free Trade Agreements will have special conditions for the exchange of goods, services, and the transit of persons. An example is NAFTA, which is a free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Through it, the North American nations have agreed, among other things, to have special programs for the employment of their citizens in the free trade zone, encompassed by the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC).
Canada has Free Trade Agreements in force with the following Latin American countries:
• Chile
• Colombia
• Costa Rica
• Honduras
• Mexico
• Panama
• Peru

A work permit can be obtained through the following immigration programs:

• The International Mobility Program
• Intra-Company Transfers
• International Experience Canada
• The Temporary Foreign Worker Program
• Post-Graduate Work Permit
• Spousal Work Permits
• Caregiver program

The International Mobility Program

The International Mobility Program includes all Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exempt work permit categories. This includes employees entering Canada on work permits pursuant to Free Trade Agreements such as the Nafta, and programs such as the Intra-Company Transfers.
Employers of foreign nationals working in Canada through the IMP must still comply with all requirements of the program and are subject to the same compliance and enforcement measures as those using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program​.

Intra-Company Transfers

Canadian business with international operations or multinational companies may be eligible to transfer their executive, senior managerial and/or specialized knowledge employees to Canada.
The entry of intra-company transferees is guided by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, and is supplemented by provisions contained in international trade agreements for citizens of signatory countries. It is used when the company in Canada is in need of hiring an experienced employee who is working in a different country.
The transferee must have obtained at least, one year of work experience within the foreign enterprise. The employee must be coming to Canada to perform comparable work of that being perform at the affiliate. The position and tasks performed must fall under the following categories:

  1. Executive
  2. Senior-Managerial
  3. Specialized Knowledge

International Experience Canada

Young foreign nationals from 32 countries are eligible to work and travel in Canada through the International Experience Canada program. This program includes young professionals, ​co-ops as well as the popular working holiday program. Program requirements vary by country of origin, but typically include all young people between the ages 18 to 35 (29 or 30 for some countries)

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is a work permit category of last resort for employers who are unable to recruit qualified Canadians and Permanent Residents. The program uses a Labour Market Impact Assessment to make a determination about work permit approval and includes very detailed advertising and recruiting requirements as well as other compliance obligations.

Post-Graduate Work Permit

Obtaining a Post-graduation is a possibility for those who graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution. They are eligible for a one-time post-graduation work permit after completing their studies. These open work permits grant work authorization to international students, allowing them to gain valuable Canadian work experience that may be used as part of a later application for Permanent Residency.
A work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. A post-graduation work permit cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months in length. Post-Graduation work permits must be obtained within a specific time-frame after graduation a period of 90 days.

Spousal Work Permits

Spouses and common-law partners of those coming to Canada to study or work may be eligible themselves to obtain an open work permit as accompanying family member. These work permit applications may be made alongside the principal application for a work permit. In some cases, your spouse or common-law partner may be able to apply for an open work permit—allowing him or her to accept any position to any Canadian employer.

Caregiver program

Previously known as Live-in Caregiver Program, the Caregiver program allows Canadian employers to hire foreigners to take care of their children, or to support people with special needs. After two years of full-time work, the caregiver can apply for a permanent residence. With the changes introduced in the newly modified Caregiver Program, employees do not have to live-in at their employer’s residence to qualify.
In order to qualify employers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment, which is given by Employment and Social Development Canada.
Under this program there are three different pathways to obtain the permanent residence based on the Canadian work experience. These are called:

The Caring for children Program:

The caring for children (under the age of 18) class allows people to apply for permanent residence after having obtained at least 24 months of full-time work experience as a home child care provided, within the four years prior to your application. Additionally, to be able to apply for this program you need to:

  • Have proficiency in English, or in French. A language test will be needed to prove the proficiency.
  • Had obtained a Canadian post-secondary education, a foreign degree or an original Education Credential Assessment (ECA)
  • Not being inadmissible to Canada for criminal activity.


The Caring for People with High Special Needs Program: 

The Live-in Caregiver Program is meant for people that with the following occupations and profiles:

  • Registered* nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (NOC 3012)
  • Licensed* practical nurses (NOC 3233)
  • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient services associates (NOC 3413)
  • Home support workers and related occupations (NOC 4412)
    • Housekeepers are not eligible under this category.

* Registered or licensed by the government of Canada or by the province you are going to work in.

For this program, it is needed a job with the following characteristics:

  • Being a full-time job, working at least 30 hours per week
  • it can allow breaks in employment, which means period in which you are not employed as sick leave, parental leave, etc.
  • it should march with the NOC job description.

Additionally, the applicant should:


  • Have proficiency in English, or in French. A language test will be needed to prove the proficiency.
  • Had obtained a Canadian post-secondary education, a foreign degree or an original Education Credential Assessment (ECA)
  • Not being inadmissible to Canada for criminal activity.

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