Most work permits allow the worker to work for a specific employer in Canada for 2 years. If the position or the employer changes during that time, then usually a new work permit is required before the worker can take a new position. I will discuss open work permits that do not have these restrictions in a future article.

From my experience, the key to getting the work permit approved is to inform the worker and the employer of the requirements and the process before they begin the recruitment process. In this way, there are no surprises during the process and it flows smoothly.

There are many different types of work permits for Canada. The main one requires a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). A similar application was previously called a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). In a future post, I will discuss when work can be done in Canada without a work permit and when an LMIA is not required.

Here is the typical process for getting a work permit.

Step 1. You get an offer of employment from an employer who is willing to go through the approval process. This step may be done any time during the process below before Step 4.

Step 2. The employer must advertise the position for at least one month. There are many requirements for what is required to meet the advertising requirements.

Step 3. If there are no qualified Canadians to take the position and all of the other requirements are met, the employer then applies for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Sometimes there is a fee of $1000 for this application but there are exceptions. The LMIA can take 2-12 weeks.

Step 4. If the LMIA is approved, the worker then applies for a work permit. This can be done at the airport or border entry point in some cases. If it is done at a visa office, the processing times vary widely depending on the office used.

I have kept the information at a generic level. In future posts, I will explore details and exceptions to the information provided.

Goldman Associates is both an immigration law firm and an Employment Agency. We match Canadian employers to workers and help with any work permit or immigration issues if required.

Even though I am an immigration lawyer with 23 years of experience, this article is public education and is not legal advice. There are many exceptions and details to the information provided that may not apply to your situation.