Work permits for Start-Up Visa applicants

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

This guide explains how you can apply for a short-term work permit under the International Mobility Program before submitting an application for permanent residence under the Start-Up Visa (SUV) Program.

Only foreign nationals who have received a Commitment Certificate and Letter of Support issued by a designated entity may be considered for a short-term work permit. The designated entity must support the request for a work permit.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for a work permit. You do not need to apply for permanent residence first.

Note: Your Commitment Certificate is valid for six months from the day it is issued. You must submit your application for permanent residence before it expires, whether you apply for a work permit or not.

2.0 Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for a work permit, you must:

  • plan to live in a province or territory other than Quebec
  • pay the employer compliance fee
  • have received a Commitment Certificate and a Letter of Support from a designated entity indicating that you are “essential” and there are urgent business reasons for your early entry to Canada (i.e. section 8.0 of the Commitment Certificate is completed) and
  • have sufficient funds to meet the low income cut off for your family for 52 weeks

Before submitting an application for a work permit, you must submit your ‘self-employed’ offer of employment, as well as pay the $230 employer compliance fee.

3.0 Submit your offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee

If your business has registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number, follow the instructions in section 4.0.

If your business has not yet registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number, follow the instructions in section 5.0.

4.0 Submit your offer of employment and pay the fee through the Employer Portal

If your business has registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number, you must use the online Employer Portal to submit your offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee.

To do this, you must first enrol in the Employer Portal. For instructions on how to enrol, see the Employer Portal Enrolment Guide.

After you have successfully enrolled in the Employer Portal, you can log in using your secure credential user ID and password (using a Sign-In Partner or GCKey). For more information on using the Employer Portal, please read the Employer Portal User Guide.

4.1 Create an offer of employment

When you log into your account, you will see the Employer Portal welcome page. Under “What would you like to do today?” select “Submit an offer of employment”.

Image of the portal welcome page showing the Submit an offer of employment button.

You will then be directed to the offer of employment application page.

Image showing list of four forms on the offer of employment page.

There are four forms you must complete:

The business information form will only need to be filled out when you create your first offer of employment, unless the information changes.

Beside each form name you’ll see a status symbol that shows if the form is “not started”, “in progress”, or “complete”.

4.1.1 Business information form

  • Business: The first three fields will be pre-populated with the information you entered when you enrolled in the Employer Portal. These fields cannot be modified.
  • Enter the business telephone number where indicated and select “Next”.
  • Business address: This should be the physical address and mailing address (if applicable) of the main business location.
  • Type of business: Select No
  • Business details: Complete these fields to the best of your knowledge. For example, choose less than 100 employees and gross income as less than $30,000.
  • Business primary contact information: Enter the contact information of the person who will be the main contact for the business.

When you are done completing the form, validate the information, save and exit.

4.1.2 Foreign worker form

Enter your personal information exactly as it appears in your passport. This includes spelling, hyphens, accents, spaces and capitalization.

When you are done completing the form, validate the information, save and exit.

4.1.3 Job details form

The first three fields will be pre-populated with the information you entered when you enrolled in the Employer Portal.

  • LMIA exemption title: Select “Significant benefit” R205(a).
  • LMIA exemption code: This field will be automatically populated.
  • Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested: Explain that you are an entrepreneur seeking to establish or operate your business in Canada and that you are essential to the start-up of your business as per section 8.0 of the Commitment Certificate.
  • Job title: Indicate “Start-Up Visa Entrepreneur”.
  • NOC Code: NOC 8888
  • Physical job location: The physical job location is the address where you will be working.
  • Main duties of the job: Provide a brief description of the work you will be performing. Examples could include:
    • setting up your business,
    • registering for all permits,
    • getting approvals as required.
  • Fee payment question: Select “Yes, I will be paying the employer compliance fee for this offer.”
  • Enter the remaining details for the job and select “Next”.
  • Employer primary contact information: Enter the contact information of the person who will provide information about the offer of employment. This person can be the same or different from the business primary contact information.

After completing the form, validate the information, save and exit.

4.1.4 Wage and benefits form

To complete this form, select the ‘Type of wage’ as hourly from the drop-down list and input ‘0’ in the following five boxes.

In the box “Alternate compensation scheme”, indicate that you are a self-employed entrepreneur, and demonstrate that you have the minimum amount of funds to support yourself and any accompanying family members (if applicable) for 52 weeks. Indicate the amount of settlement funds available and what documents you can provide as evidence.

Benefits: Leave this section blank.

After completing the form, validate the information, save and exit.

Note: Make sure the information in these forms is accurate. Once you submit the offer, you will not be able to change it. If you make a mistake or enter incorrect information, you may have to withdraw the offer and start over with a new one.

4.2 Submit your offer of employment

When the status of all four forms shows “complete”, you can submit the offer of employment:

  1. On the LMIA-exempt Offer of employment page, select “Continue”. You will be directed to “Your document checklist”. Since you indicated “Yes, I will be paying the employer compliance fee for this offer”, you will not be required to upload any documents.
  2. Select “Next”.
  3. On the screen ‘Your Declaration and Electronic Signature’:
    • read the employer declaration
    • select ‘I agree
    • type your name in the signature panel and answer the Security Question
  4. Click ‘Sign’.

4.3 Pay the employer compliance fee

You are required to pay the $230 employer compliance fee. After electronically signing your offer of employment:

  1. Select “Transmit and Pay”.
  2. Review the fees summary page and select “Transmit and pay”. You will be directed to the Receiver General’s online payment website.
  3. Complete the online payment form. Click “Process Transaction”.
  4. Review and print the transaction receipt. You will need to provide a copy of this receipt with your work permit application if you will be applying by paper.
  5. Select “Return”. You will be redirected back to the Employer Portal.
  6. Select “Exit questionnaire” to return to the portal Welcome page.

Review “Employment queue” to retrieve the offer of employment number.

5.0 Submit your offer of employment and pay the fee outside of the Employer Portal

If your business has not registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number, you will not be able to use the Employer Portal. Instead, email the Employer Portal and indicate that you are an entrepreneur.

In your email, include your:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • citizenship
  • country of birth and
  • gender

If your email request is approved, you will get an email back with:

  • the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (IMM 5802) form
  • instructions on where to return the completed form and
  • instructions on how to pay your employer compliance fee online

Note: You must pay your fee before completing the form. Your fee payment receipt number must be entered in Box 3 on the form.

5.1 Pay the employer compliance fee online (only if using IMM 5802)

You can pay your employer compliance fee using our Pay your fees tool.

  1. Select the country where you are paying from.
  2. Select ‘Employer compliance’ for the fee type (at the bottom of the list).
  3. Click on ‘Get payment instructions’. Image of the pay your fees tool as described above.
  4. Read the instructions under ‘Pay online and apply on paper’.
  5. Click on ‘Pay my fees online’. Image showing instructions on how to pay online and apply on paper as described above.

You will be directed to a new Online Payment screen.

  1. Select ‘Continue’.
  2. Agree to the Terms and Conditions and select ‘Continue’ once again.
  3. Select ‘Immigration’.
  4. Select ‘Temporary Residence’.
  5. From the list of Immigration fees, enter 1 under ‘Number of Applications’ next to Compliance fee (employer) - $230.00. Image showing compliance fee (employer) as described above.
  6. Click on ‘Submit’.
  7. Click on ‘Login and pay’.

To pay online, you will need to log into your account. If you do not have an account, click on ‘Register’. After you complete the three step registration process, you can log in with your email address and password and make your payment.

After your payment is processed, take note of your fee receipt number, as you will need to include this on the IMM 5802.

5.2 Completing the IMM 5802

When completing the Offer of Employment to Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (IMM 5802), refer to the instructions below for certain fields:

  • Box 2 - Canada Revenue Agency business number (first 9 digits).
    • Leave blank.
  • Box 4 and 5 – Business operating name and business legal name.
    • If you do not have a business name yet, put ‘New business and name of entrepreneur’.
  • Box 17 and 24 – Job title
    • Enter ‘Start-Up Visa Entrepreneur’.
  • Box 21 – Title of LMIA exemption being requested.
    • Select ‘Significant Benefit – R205(a) ’ (Box 22 will populate automatically).
  • Box 23 – Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested.
    • Explain that you are an entrepreneur seeking to establish or operate your business in Canada and that you are essential to the start-up of your business as per section 8.0 of the Commitment Certificate.
  • Box 25 – National Occupation Classification (NOC) code.
    • Input NOC 8888.
  • Box 29 – Main duties of the job.
    • Provide a brief description of the work you will be performing. Examples could include:
      • setting up your business
      • registering for all permits
      • getting approvals as required
  • Box 33 – Wage in Canadian dollars and number of work hours.
    • Leave blank.
  • Box 34 – Alternate compensation scheme (You must complete this section).
    • Indicate that you are a self-employed entrepreneur, and show that you have the minimum amount of funds required to support yourself and any accompanying dependants for a minimum of 52 weeks.
    • Indicate the amount of settlement funds available and what documents you can provide as evidence.
  • Box 36 – Benefits.
    • Not required.
  • Declaration of Employer
    • Complete this section and sign as the employer.

Important: Do not use the “Submit by Email” button. Instead, save the form as a PDF file and attach it to an email as per the instructions you received with your authorization email.

6.0 Apply for your work permit

You may apply for a work permit online or on paper.

In most cases, you have to submit your application from outside Canada. However, you may be eligible to apply from inside Canada. Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements depending on where you plan to apply for your work permit.

Note: Do not submit your applications for a work permit and permanent residence together in the same package. These applications must be sent to different offices for processing.

6.1 Get your documents ready

Before you apply online or on paper, gather your documents:

  • your Letter of Support from a designated entity, which shows that you’re “essential” and that you need a work permit
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself and your family members for a 52-week period
  • your offer of employment number (this number is generated after you submit your offer of employment online through the Employer Portal and can be found in the “Employment queue”) or your completed IMM 5802 and your payment receipt for the employer compliance fee
  • your medical examination results, if needed
  • a valid police certificate, if needed

Do you want faster processing?

If you apply online and include all the documents above, your work permit will be processed faster. If you apply on paper, we can’t guarantee you’ll have faster processing.

6.2 Proof of funds

To be eligible for a work permit, you must have enough money to meet the low income cut off (LICO) for your family size for 52 weeks. Make sure that you clearly show that you meet the minimum amount listed in the LICO table below.

The funds must also be available and transferable, and not limited by debts or other obligations.

This is a list of what we accept as proof of funds:

  • cash
  • documents that show property or capital payable to you, such as:
    • stocks
    • bonds
    • debentures
    • treasury bills
  • documents that guarantee payment of a set amount of money, which are payable to you, such as:
    • banker's drafts
    • cheques
    • travellers’ cheques
    • money orders)
Size of family unit Minimum necessary income
1 person $24,949
2 persons $31,061
3 persons $38,185
4 persons $46,362
5 persons $52,583
6 persons $59,304
7 persons $66,027
More than 7 persons, for each additional person, add $6,723

Disclosure of funds

If you are bringing more than CAN $10,000 across the Canadian border, you must tell a Canadian official when you arrive. If you do not, you may be fined, and your funds could be taken away.

6.3 Apply online

To apply online, you must have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents for uploading and have a valid credit card for payment.

Determine your eligibility by answering some questions. To properly identify you as a future applicant under the SUV program, make sure that you answer the following questions exactly as shown below.

  • Question: What would you like to do in Canada?
    • Answer: Work
  • Question: How long are you planning to stay in Canada?
    • Answer: Temporarily - more than 6 months
    Image showing questions “What would you like to do in Canada?” and “How long are you planning to stay in Canada?”
  • Question: Do you have a written offer from an employer in Canada?
    • Answer: Yes
    Image of question “Do you have a written offer from an employer in Canada?”
  • Question: What is the status of your job offer?
    • Answer: Temporary – at least one year
    Image of question “What is the status of your job offer?”
  • Question: Do you plan to work in one of the following categories?
    • Answer: No
  • Question: Do you have any caregiver experience or formal training within the last 3 years?
    • Answer: No experience.
    Image showing questions “Do you plan to work in one of the following categories?” and “Do you have any caregiver experience or formal training within the last 3 years?”

Answer the remaining questions according to your personal situation.

Your results should state “Foreign Worker - International Mobility Program”. It will also tell you if you need a visitor visa or eTA.

Click “Continue” to answer a few additional questions.

  • Question: Do you have a valid work permit or study permit, and need a visa to return to Canada?
    • Answer: No
    Image of question “Do you have a valid work permit or study permit, and need a visa to return to Canada?”
  • Question: What type of work permit do you want to apply for?
    • Answer: A work permit with a Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption.
    Image of question “What type of work permit do you want to apply for?”

Answer a few more questions according to your personal situation.

  • Question: There are fees associated with this application. Will you be paying your fees or are you fee exempt?
    • Answer: Yes, I will be paying my application fees.
    Image of question “Will you be paying your fees or are you fee exempt?”

Answer the remaining questions. If you need help with a question, click on the question mark icon for more information.

Once you are finished answering all the questions, you can review your answers and modify them if needed.

After you have verified that the information is accurate, click on ‘Continue’ to get to your personal document checklist. This page gives you step-by-step instructions on how to submit your application online. It will also list the required application form(s), supporting documents and fees.

Make sure you write down your personal reference code found at the top of the page. You will need your personal reference code when you submit your application online.

6.4 Apply on paper

To apply on paper, see Apply for a work permit and follow steps 2 to 5.

Note: If you apply on paper, priority processing cannot be guaranteed.

6.4.1 Applying from outside of Canada

When completing the Application for work permit made outside of Canada form (IMM 1295) (PDF, 465.84KB), under ‘Details of Intended Work in Canada’ fill in the information as follows:

  • Question 1a: What type of work permit are you applying for?
    • Answer: Exemption from Labour Market Impact Assessment.
  • Question 2a: Name of Employer
    • Answer: Enter the name of the new business (if known), or your own name.
  • Question 4: My occupation in Canada in will be:
    • Job title: Entrepreneur.
    • Brief description of duties: Starting up a new business with a designated entity under the SUV program.
  • Question 6: Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) No. or Offer of Employment (LMIA Exempt) No.
    • Answer: Enter the number found under “Employment queue” in the Employer Portal or if authorized to use the IMM 5802 form, use the number A9999999 and include a copy of the completed form.

Depending on your country or territory of nationality or your status in Canada, there are three ways to submit your work permit application:

  1. If you are in Canada as a visitor: send your application to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in New York.
  2. If you are eligible to apply at the port of entry, present the following to the officer at the border:
    • your completed application
    • a copy of your Letter of Support that states you are “essential” and that there are urgent business reasons for your entry into Canada and
    • a copy of your payment receipt for the employer compliance fee
  3. If you are outside Canada: you can submit your application to your nearest VAC. Let the VAC know that you are a SUV applicant so that your application is properly coded.

6.4.2 Applying from inside Canada

If you are eligible to apply from inside Canada, you must complete the Application to Change Conditions, Extend Your Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker.

When completing the application form (IMM 5710) (PDF, 484.21KB), under ‘Details of Intended Work in Canada’ fill in the information as follows:

  • Question 1a: What type of work permit are you applying for?
    • Answer: Exemption from Labour Market Impact Assessment
  • Question 2a: Name of Employer
    • Answer: Enter the name of the new business (if known), or your own name
  • Question 4: My occupation in Canada in will be:
    • Job title: Entrepreneur
    • Brief description of duties: Starting up a new business with a designated entity under the SUV program
  • Question 6: Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) No. or Offer of Employment (LMIA Exempt) No.
    • Answer: Enter the number found under “Employment queue” in the Employer Portal or if authorized to use the IMM 5802 form, use the number A9999999 and include a copy of the completed form

Mail your complete application to the address in the instruction guide.

Be sure to write “Urgent: Start-up Business Class Work Permit” on the outside envelope.

6.5 Work permit conditions and extensions

Your work permit allows you to work as an entrepreneur in the development of your business, as indicated on your Commitment Certificate. It is not an open work permit.

Your work permit will only be valid for one year to allow you to begin working in Canada while your application for permanent residence (APR) is being processed. Most APRs will be processed within a year. However, if you need an extension, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis through the normal extension process. For any extension under this program to be considered, an APR must be in process.

7.0 Eligibility requirements for family members coming with you

If you apply for a work permit, you may be able to bring your spouse or common-law partner and your dependent children with you to Canada if they meet the requirements for temporary residence.

Spouse or common-law

If your spouse or common-law partner wants to work while in Canada, he/she may apply for an open work permit as the spouse or common-law partner of a high skilled worker.

Dependent children

If your dependent children want to study or work while in Canada, they must apply for a study or work permit.

Note: Young, non-school-aged children need to meet the same entry requirements as any other visitor.  They may need an eTA or visitor visa to enter Canada.

Each family member must fill out a separate application form depending on if they need a:

  • visitor visa or eTA
  • work permit or
  • study permit

You can submit all applications for spouses and dependent children together with your work permit application and use one payment receipt for the total amount.

Note: If you are eligible to submit your work permit application at a port of entry, all family members must meet the same requirements as you to apply at the port of entry.

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