Work permit: About the process


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About the process

Most foreign nationals need a work permit to work in Canada.

Answer a few questions if you’re not sure if you need a work permit or which one you should get.

There are 2 types of work permits.

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)

Before you apply for an employer-specific work permit, your employer must give you

If your employer doesn’t need to use the Employer Portal

If your employer does not need to use the Employer Portal to submit an offer of employment, they must give you a copy of the employment contract.

Open work permit

Changes to eligibility to work in Canada for spouses, common-law partners and dependent children of work permit holders

Starting on January 30, 2023, we’ll expand eligibility to work in Canada to spouses and dependent children of most work permit holders at all skill levels.

You may be eligible for an open work permit if you’re a

  • spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of a work permit holder who
    • works in a job of any Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category (0 to 5), or
    • is the principal applicant and has an open work permit (example: post-graduation work permit holders at all skill levels)
  • spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of an economic classes permanent resident applicant who holds a work permit

Who is not eligible at this time

Spouses and dependents of workers in a TEER 4 or 5 job under the low-wage stream of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are not eligible at this time.

An open work permit lets you work for any employer in Canada, except for one that

You can only get an open work permit in specific situations.

If you want to bring your family with you

Your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children may be able to work, study or live with you while you work in Canada.

Bringing your family to Canada with you


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