Obtaining a Work Visa for Canada

Anyone who comes to Canada to work needs to apply for a work permit. This can be as a skilled worker, a temporary worker or a provincial nominee. Most applicants must apply before entering the country. Sponsored applicants have a shorter wait period. In some cases you may be required to submit to a medical examination in addition to your application.

Skilled Worker Visas

You may only apply for a Skilled Worker visa if you qualify for any one of the following categories:

  • Several of the 29 recognized work classifications have already reached the maximum number of applications set by the Canadian government; applications that exceed the cap will be returned unprocessed. Cap limits do not apply if you have an offer of arranged employment.
  • You must demonstrate proficiency in either English or French. Proficiency in both languages is a definite plus.
  • You must provide proof that you have sufficient financial resources to support yourself and any family members who accompany you once you arrive; this requirement is waived if you have a job offer in hand.
  • There are no formal age requirements to qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, however, applicants between the ages of 18 and 49 have a significant advantage over younger or older applicants.

The wait time to process an application for Skilled Worker status can take as long as six to twelve months, even if you meet the very stringent requirements to qualify for Skilled Worker status. Having a job offer in hand, or qualifying for provincial nominee status can cut your wait time significantly.

Eligible Categories for Skilled Worker Application:

  • Holders of Valid Offers of Employment with Canadian Employers
  • Ph.D. Students or Recent Ph.D. Graduates of Canadian Universities
  • Skilled Workers in One of 29 Work Classifications (Within Specified Caps)

See here for the list of Necessary Documents for a Skilled Worker Application.

Temporary Worker Visas

A Temporary Worker Visa is available for some applicants. Over 150,000 foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily in jobs that help Canadian employers address skill shortages, or to work as live-in caregivers. Your employer must obtain a letter from the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada stating that employing you will not cause an adverse effect on the labor market for eligible Canadians.

You may also bring your spouse or common-law partner and your children, however, each family member must submit separate applications for temporary visa status. If your spouse or common-law partner wishes to work, he or she must also apply for a work permit.

See here for the list of documents along with the applicable fee.