Expanding your company into Canada is an exciting time of growth. However, it also comes with challenges, such as learning how to get a work visa in Canada.
Types of work visas in Canada
Most people looking to live and work in Canada require a work permit and employment visa. Canada has 2 main types of work permits — open work permit and employer-specific work permit. The country’s Immigration Office issues open work permits to any immigrant who wants to work for an employer for a fixed amount of time. Employer-specific permits allow people to work for only one specific employer in a certain location.
Canada will issue work permits to a variety of workers, including temporary, permanent, and business people. Eligibility varies among the type of worker and the specific work permit required. For example, Canada has free trade agreements that apply to citizens of the U.S. and Mexico. If your workers fall into these categories, they may not need a work permit.
Requirements to obtain Canada work visas
Most of your employees will go through the temporary work permit process first. After 1 or more years, they may be eligible for a permanent work permit through the online Express Entry system. The 3 skilled worker immigration programs under the permanent work permit category include federal skilled worker, federal skilled trades, and Canadian Experience Class. The requirements differ for each, but all Express Entry applications typically need to include the following as a first step:
- Passport or travel document
- Education credential assessment report
- Language test results
- Written job offer from an employer in Canada
- Proof of work experience
- Provincial nomination (if the employee has one)
- Police certificate
- Medical exam
- Proof of funds
A set of other documents is required if the applicant is invited to apply.
The Federal Skilled Worker Program uses a points-based system known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Employees receive points based on English or French language skills, education, experience, age, adaptability, and arranged employment. They need a 67 out of 100 or higher to qualify.
The basic steps to applying for a temporary Canada work permit include:
- Applying for labor market opinion: Before applying for a temporary work visa, employers need to qualify for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), formerly known as an LMO. You must complete this step for the employee.
- Obtaining a temporary job offer: Employers have to send a copy of the positive LMIA to the candidate with a detailed job offer letter. The letter is a formal employment contract that includes important information such as job title, description, salary, and more.
- Applying for a work permit: Candidates can apply for a temporary work permit after obtaining the job offer letter and positive LMIA. This may include meeting with a visa officer who will determine if the employment adversely affects jobs for citizens of Canada. If the person qualifies for the position, they will get a Canada work permit.
- Obtaining a work permit: After working in Canada under a temporary work permit, individuals may be eligible for permanent residence based on their job classification and language proficiency.
Other important considerations
Some workers may want to bring their family members to Canada. Spouses or dependent children can often be included in a work visa application if the employee is a new immigrant to Canada. Other family members, such as grandparents, need to become sponsored citizens of Canada and permanent residents. If an employee goes through the Express Entry program, it will connect family members to the rest of the country.
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For this particular location, G-P may offer support processing certain work visas and permits. Contact us today to assess your specific needs.