Work in Canada Programs

Thousand of People come to Canada to work each Year!

There are many options to come to Canada to work temporarily. The key is to understand how your goals align with the programs offered and to match you accordingly. The nature of your work and demand for your skills will in part determine how you will navigate the options and plan your arrival.

For some, their first entry into the Canadian workforce will be under temporary status to enable them to amass the needed work experience to later pursue permanent residence. Each of these programs are very intricate and have varying timeframes, so please take the time to review the different options and reach out to 1st AVENUE IMMIGRATION CONSULTANCY Services for a comprehensive understanding of your unique situation.

Click the status that applies to you for further details.

In order for an employer to hire a foreign worker, they must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). A positive LMIA proves that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do that job. Depending on the type of position, the employer can hire the foreign worker under two streams: A Low-wage position for full-time positions (minimum of 30 hours of work/week) where the wage being offered is below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage where the job is located. The other stream is a High Wage Position for full-time positions which is at or above the provincial or territorial median hourly wage.

Note: The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is constantly changing and is very dynamic in nature and it is reflective of Canadian Labor market changes/needs. It is imperative when looking to fill a position under the TFWP that you are working with up to date information as what may be true today may not be true tomorrow in this area of immigration.

Program Requirements

Employers must have a functioning business and supply valid proof of its operations and viability. In participating in the program employer must show that there are no available Canadians for the available position(s) and show that they have the ability to meet their obligations under the program. Additionally, employers must also be responsible for ensuring that the workers have the proper regulations, certifications and necessary experience to qualify for the position.

Program Privileges

If a business is experiencing a genuine shortage of qualified workers or can not find individuals to fill vacant positions necessary to conduct, sustain or grow their business activities; a positive LMIA will allow them to hire a Temporary Foreign Worker. Only after an employer gets the LMIA, can the foreign worker apply for a work permit. This is the first stage approval needed to allow the person the ability to apply for an LMIA supported Work Permit.

In order to hire a foreign worker to provide care for the family an Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under the In Home Caregiver Program is required. This program is designed to allow Canadian Families to access care for their loved ones in their homes, who are children under 18 years of age; people who are elderly and need care in their homes; or those with high medical needs and who require specialized care. In order for employers to be part of this program and hire someone under a work permit they must apply for an LMIA. The LMIA is proof that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job since no Canadian worker is available to do that job and this is the starting point to get care under this program. This program has been around for a long time in one variation or another and the general spirit of the program remains the same no matter if it is called the Live-In or In-Home Caregiver program.

Please note: This program is commonly confused with the Live-In Caregiver program which ended in the November 30, 2014. The benefit to employers under this new program is that employers now have the option to have the worker live in or live out of the home.

Program Requirements

To satisfy the requirements under this program, the employer must have the financial ability to hire a foreign worker and will be assessed to ensure that they have the financial capability to meet their obligations under the program. Additionally, they must provide proof that they have dependent(s) in need of care; that there is a bona fide job available that No Canadian or Permanent resident is available/qualified for and show that that they have completed the minimum recruitment requirements.

Program Privileges

The LMIA gives the employer the permission to hire a foreign worker and is the first step while will allow the foreign worker the ability to lodge an application for a Work Permit.

This program has been created to address the needs of the IT/Tech Sector and allow organizations the ability to access specialized talent worldwide. Additionally while ensuring that the specialized worker has skills that not only add to the organization and the role that they are sought for, there is a presumption that they will be imparting their skills/expertise to the Canadian workforce to further develop local skills and talent.

Employers who wish to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire foreign workers positions for specialized positions fall under 2 categories under the program which is either by an endorsement from one of the designated organizations under the program or be hiring under an occupation that is listed under one of the listed occupations.

Program Requirements

Employers must supply verification that their business and job offer are legitimate, along with a Labour Market Benefits Plan explaining how hiring the foreign worker will help the Canadian job market and strengthen the economy. Employers must be committed to providing salaries for unique and specialized positions of at least $80,000 or equivalent to the prevailing wage.

Program Privileges

The program is fairly new and allows the foreign worker to apply for a work permit within two weeks, so employers can hire foreign workers at a faster rate. This allows the worker to get started and working in a very short period of time thus meeting the needs of a very fluid/dynamic industry that requires the talent in a timely manner.

With its prosperous economy, Canada is an ideal location to establish and expand business opportunities. With this Labor Market Impact Assessment and subsequent Work Permit, a foreign business person can start; take over; or develop a business venture as a management employee in Canada.

Program Requirements

Employers must provide proof that they have an existing Canadian business or if they are planning to start a new business, must show evidence towards the business being opened while at the same time show that they are adding to the Canadian economy in several different ways. Owner operators are foreign employees that have valid evidence of their involvement with the business, such as purchase agreements or contracts. The employer must also have a valid job offer to the foreign employee ensuring that they meet the qualifications and experience necessary.

It is interesting to note that one of the benefits of this type of LMIA is that is part of the variations to advertising under the LMIA / Temporary Foreign worker program which means that NO advertising is required for this type of LMIA.

Program Privileges

With an owner/operator work permit, you can start and run your business in Canada without needing an LMIA that is subject to advertising. The work experience acquired in Canada can be used to qualify for permanent residency in Canada while working to establish a business in Canada that can not only be a strong operation but also add to the diverse Canadian economy.

Each year Canada welcomes to its shores many people who are granted the opportunity to work as temporary workers where they will fill much needed job vacancies. These positions vary greatly across skill levels and cover a wide range of professions. It is noteworthy that the population is aging and these vacancies will become more acute in the coming years. The Canadian government is looking to retain talent that is already working here in Canada; whereas, in other areas of the world, people work for many years only to find that they must ultimately leave what is in effect their home.

Coming to Canada on a Work Permit can be the first step to staying permanently by qualifying under the Canadian Experience Class Program, which is a path to Permanent Residency.


To work in Canada, there is a 2-step process in most cases. The first step generally is for an employer to get a positive LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment). This is basically a ruling from the government that gives your employer permission to hire a foreign worker. In some cases, an LMIA will not be required and certain exemptions can be made, but this is generally not the rule. After a positive LMIA is obtained and the employer has been approved, the worker will need to apply for a Work Permit which will then give them the right to come to Canada to work legally. This will then be the final stage in the process and this stage is quite straightforward, but for some nationalities or job categories, it can be processed quicker than others. A note about Spouses and Family: If your spouse/common-law partner and or your dependent children wish to work or study in Canada while you are working here this may be possible but it depends on the skill level of job you are engaged in. If your spouse wants to work in Canada they must apply for their own Work Permit; they must meet the same requirements as you do; this includes getting an LMIA if needed. However your spouse or common-law partner can apply for an Open Work Permit if you are:

  • Approved to work in Canada for six months or longer
  • Doing a job at a high skill level

You do not have to submit any documents from an employer if you are applying for an Open Work permit

Program Privileges

The Work Permit allows you to work in Canada and gain valuable Canadian experience that will build your skills and open up pathways to Permanent Residence should you wish to settle in Canada permanently. Ultimately, this may be the first step to being able to qualify for Permanent Residence under the very popular Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Program.

As Canada sees the need to ensure that families are together, this visa has been created to allow spouses/partners of people working/studying in Canada to have their spouse or partner with them in Canada and gives them the ability to work. This is an Open Work Permit and is generally granted for up to 2 years to the spouse where the holder of the permit can work for any employer or in any profession (unless it is regulated) without having to go through the process of getting approvals for a particular job.

This is an excellent opportunity for the person who is accompanying their spouse or partner in Canada to gain valuable Canadian work experience which could qualify them for Permanent Residency, while helping with the household finances. Most importantly this allows families to stay together.


The requirements for the Spousal Work Permit are quite straightforward and similar for people who are working or studying here in Canada. If the Applicant wishes to accompany someone who is studying in Canada:

  • Their spouse/partner must be on a valid study permit.
  • Be enrolled and attending school as a full-time student.
  • Be studying at an eligible Post-Secondary Institution.
  • Be medically admissible and have a clean criminal record.

If the Applicant wishes to accompany someone who is working in Canada:

  • Their spouse/partner must be on a valid work permit.
  • Their spouse/partner must be working in a high level skilled job as per Canadian Government Regulations.
  • Their spouse/partner must have a valid work permit of at least 6 months.

** Please note that this program is also available to holders of Post Graduate Student Work Permits but there are additional requirements.

Program Privileges

This visa allows you to work in Canada and gain valuable Canadian work experience while working to support the person who is either working or studying. The biggest advantage to this is that the person who has this Work Permit can work anywhere and do any type of job without the cumbersome approval processes that are needed for a work specific employment visa. Additionally, it is possible that this may qualify and aid the person that is obtaining Permanent Residency should they wish to settle in Canada at a later date.

This program allows foreign workers employed with a company overseas to work in Canada if the business has a branch or location in Canada or is in the process of setting this up. This program is in place to allow for the movement or workers in order to facilitate business operations without the requirement of getting a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Program Requirements

To qualify for an Intra Company transfer, the foreign worker must:

  • Have minimum one-year full-time work experience at the foreign company;
  • Provide existing proof showing the linkage between the Canadian business and foreign business as well as between themselves;
  • Fall into one of three categories: Executives with senior authority and decision making, Senior managers whose principal duties are to manage the business and employees, and workers with specialized knowledge, pertaining to the company’s products, services or possess expertise in a special area.

Program Privileges

This work permit facilitates the transfer of workers with specialized experience/skills and allows the worker to be exempt from needing an LMIA to enter Canada. Once the foreign worker has accumulated the necessary work experience, they can also use the work experience gained under this program to qualify and apply for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), thus being able to stay in Canada permanently.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was established to strengthen ties and promote business between Canada, U.S. and Mexico. The work permit provisions were put in place to allow for the easy facilitation of business professionals looking to enter Canada to conduct business without needing a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Program Requirements

You must be a U.S. or Mexican citizen. U.S. does not include citizens of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands however, citizens of the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are covered. There are four different categories to apply under NAFTA:

  • Business visitor: Conducting business of a commercial nature in Canada but with no intent to enter the Canadian labor market.
  • Professional: Provide services and work for an existing Canadian company or employer.
  • Intra-company transfer: Those who are employed by a Mexican or American company/employer and are being transferred to a Canadian associate branch or company.
  • Traders and investors: Traders exchange goods or services between Canada and Mexico or the U.S. while investors make investments to support or advance Canadian businesses.

Program Privileges

This work permit allows you to visit and enter Canada without needing a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to conduct business activities. A work permit can be granted for a maximum of twelve months and can be extended at a later date. This type of permit can also lead to permanent resident options should the person wish to stay in Canada permanently and subsequently apply for Canadian Citizenship.

The International Experience Canada (IEC) program provides youth with the opportunity to travel and work in Canada. Depending upon your country of origin, an applicant seeking entry to Canada under this program may choose from the three travel and work experiences offered; Working Holiday, Young Professionals or International Co-op Internship.

Program Requirements

To participate in this program your country of citizenship must have an agreement with Canada. A country that has an agreement with Canada will allow you to apply for an IEC work permit. Each country has different program requirements but some of the most common ones are as follows:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35 (inclusive):
  • Have a minimum of CAN$2,500 to help cover your expenses in Canada;
  • Have health insurance for the duration of your stay;
  • Have, before departure, a round-trip ticket or demonstrate that you have the ability to pay for your return ticket home.

If your country does not have an agreement with Canada, you may be able to use a Recognized Organization to apply. The different program streams are:

  • Working Holiday: allows the participant to fund their vacation with temporary work in Canada and is considered an open work permit. The program is designed for individuals that; don’t have a job offer yet, individuals wanting to work for more than one employer or location in Canada during their travels.
  • Young Professionals category: is an employer-specific work permit. It allows individuals to gain Canadian professional work experience, while working for the same employer at the same location in Canada.
  • International Co-op Internship: stream will allow individuals to gain valuable overseas work experience related to their field of study. The work permit is employer-specific and designed for students, that are registered at a post-secondary institution, have a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada, same employer and location and are required a work placement or internship to complete their studies.

Program Privileges

The program is a work-based program for young people who can come to Canada and travel and work while at the same time get the experience here. Some people will get the experience needed to be able to immigrate to Canada as a Permanent Resident under one of the Skilled worker programs.