Canada Temporary Work Permits

Many international workers seek to work in Canada because of its diverse economy, safe environment, high wage, and pathway to permanent residency after gaining some local experience.

Types of Work permit

There are two main types of work permit: Employer-specific work permit and Open work permit.

Employer-Specific work permit

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)

If you are granted this type of work permit, you can only work for the employer specified in your permit within the allowed period of time. In case you are abused at work and want to quit your job, you may be eligible to apply for an open work permit to remain working in Canada.

To apply for a Employer-specific work permit, you must have a job offer from an employer in Canada. Before you can make an application, your employer must give you either a copy of a Labour Market Impact Assessment or an offer of employment number, depending on the occupation you will be working as.

There are several websites for you to find a job in Canada. You can start your job find process by this website Job Bank Canada.

Open work permit

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

  • is listed as ineligible on the list of employers who have failed to comply with the conditions or
  • regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.

You can apply for get an open work permit in the following circumstances:

  • You are an international student who graduated from a designated learning institution and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
  • You are a student who is no longer able to meet the costs of your studies (destitute student).
  • You have an employer-specific work permit and are being abused or at risk of being abused in relation to your job in Canada.
  • You applied for permanent residence in Canada.
  • You are a dependent family member of someone who applied for permanent residence.
  • You are the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker or international student.
  • You are the spouse or common-law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program.
  • You are a refugee, refugee claimant, protected person, or their family member.
  • You are under an unenforceable removal order.
  • You are a temporary resident permit holder.
  • You are a young worker participating in special programs.

Normally, you do not need to have a job offer in Canada to apply for an open work permit. However, during Covid19 period, you will need to have a valid job offer from an employer in Canada to apply for this permit.


The eligibilities to apply for a work permit depend on which type if work permit you are applying for, whether you are applying onshore or offshore. However, there are some general requirements that all applicants must:

  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires.
  • show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home.
  • obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (we may ask you to give us a police clearance certificate).
  • not be a danger to Canada’s security.
  • be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed.
  • not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions.
  • not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages; and
  • give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.

If you are applying from offshore, there are different sets of requirements depending on from which country you are applying from.

You might be required to get biometrics, undergo health examination, and submit your photo.

Processing time and fees

Processing time for work permits varies due to types of work permits and whether you submit all relevant documents. It may be a few weeks or several months. The Covid19, however, has significantly delayed the processing time.

Application fee: from CAD $155