Work Permit

A work permit is an authorization granted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows foreign nationals to work legally in Canada. It is typically tied to a specific employer and job position. An initial work permit refers to the first work permit application that you submit to come to Canada as a worker.

There are two types of work permits: open and employer-specific.

Open Work Permit

This type of permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, excluding those who are listed as ineligible or regularly fail to comply with the conditions.

Employer-Specific Work Permit

With this permit, you are allowed to work according to the conditions on your work permit, which include the employer name, work location, and job description.


Eligibility mainly depends on the type of application one is considering. For example, spouse open work permit (SOWP), requires the applicant to have an eligible spouse in Canada. And, an employer specific (closed) work permit requires the applicant to submit an approved labour market impact assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Beside these eligibility requirements, the applicant must also demonstrate:
  • Prove that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires.
  • Show that you have enough money during your stay in Canada to take care of yourself and your family members.
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity.
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security.
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed.
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status ‘ineligible’.
  • Provide any additional documents required to prove your admissibility.