Work Permit


For foreign nationals to work in Canada, they must obtain a valid work permit. In most cases, in order to obtain a work permit, they must get a valid employment offer from an employer and have it validated by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada(HRSDC).

Definition of Work

Canadian immigration law defines “work” as an activity for which wage or commission is paid, or that is in direct competition with the activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labor market. Therefore, volunteer work in a private company is deemed as a kind of “work”, because it may directly affect the employment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

HRSDC validation(LMO)

In most cases, foreign workers must go through the following steps to obtain a work permit.

  1. Obtain a valid job offer from an employer
  2. Have the job offer validated by HRSDC (Apply for LMO and get it approved)
  3. Apply for a work permit to Immigration Canada

The job offer is assessed by HRSDC on the basis of the following factors:

  • The job offer is genuine;
  • The wages and working conditions are comparable to those offered to Canadians working in the occupation;
  • Employers conducted reasonable efforts to hire or train Canadians for the job;
  • The foreign worker is filling a labor shortage;
  • The employment of the foreign worker will directly create new job opportunities or help to retain jobs for Canadians;
  • The foreign worker will transfer new skills and knowledge to Canadians; and
  • The hiring of the foreign worker will not affect a labor dispute.

Immigration Canada assesses the applicant in terms of the following:

  • The job offer is genuine and reasonable; and
  • The foreign worker who obtained a job offer has the ability to perform the assignment.

HRSDC validation (LMO) exemption

HRSDC validation(LMO) for a work permit is exempted in the following cases.

  • Intra-company transferees
  • Post-graduation employment
  • Working on campus
  • Working off campus
  • Working under a co-op or internship program
  • Spouses or common-law partners of skilled workers
  • Spouses or common-law partners of foreign students
  • Canada World Youth Program
  • Work related to a research, educational or training program
  • Foreign workers based on GATS, CCFTA, NAFTA Agreement