Work – Work permit
1. Open work permit
What is an open work permit
An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, except for an employer:
• Who is listed as ineligible on the list of employers who have failed to comply with the
• Who regularly offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.
Who can apply for an open work permit
You can only get an open work permit in specific situations. You may be eligible for an open work
permit if you:
• are an international student who graduated from a designated learning institution and
are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
• are a student who is no longer able to meet the costs of your studies (destitute student).
• have an employer-specific work permit and are being abused or at risk of being abused
in relation to your job in Canada.
• applied for permanent residence in Canada.
• are a dependent family member of someone who applied for permanent residence.
• are the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker or international student.
• are the spouse or common-law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot
• are a refugee, refugee claimant, protected person or their family member.
• are under an unenforceable removal order.
• are a temporary resident permit holder.
• are a young worker participating in special programs.
In each of these situations, you must meet additional criteria of the program to be eligible.
2. Employer-specific work permit
What is an employer-specific work permit
An employer-specific work permit (also known as a closed work permit) allows you to work according to the conditions on your work permit, which include:
• The name of the employer you can work for
• How long you can work
• The location where you can work (if applicable)
Closed work permit are tied to specific employers, this means that a foreign national issued this type of work permit must remain working with the same employer at the same location (if applicable) unless they change their work permit.
Types of employer-specific work permit
Most closed work permit applications require that a foreign national has an official job offer from a Canadian employer which is supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In this case, to apply for an employer-specific work permit, a worker needs:
• a job offer letter,
• a contract,
• a copy of the LMIA, and
• the LMIA number.
However, for some closed work permit applications, an LMIA can be exempt in specific situations, but an official job offer or employment contract is still required. In this case, to apply for an employer-specific work permit, a worker needs to be provided with these documents from the
• a job offer letter,
• a contract,
• confirmation of an LMIA exemption
• proof of employer compliance fee payment
3. Work in Canada after you graduate – Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
You may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) if you graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) and want to stay in Canada temporarily to work.
Graduation from a DLI doesn’t automatically make you eligible for a PGWP. Check the DLI list to find out which schools have eligible programs.
You can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) from inside Canada or overseas, as long as you’re eligible.
a. How long is a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) valid?
• If your program was less than 8 months: You are not eligible for a PGWP
• If your program was more than 8 months but less than 2 years: you may be given a PGWP that’s valid for up to the same length as your study program.
• If your program was 2 years or more: you may be given a PGWP that’s valid for 3 years.
• If you completed more than 1 program: you may be able to get a PGWP that combines the length of each program.
– Each of the programs you completed must be PGWP-eligible and at least 8 months in length.
b. Eligibility criteria
You have 180 days after you get your final marks to apply for a PGWP.
• To be eligible, your study permit must have been valid at some point during these 180 days.
• You must also have:
• Completed a study program at a designated learning institution (DLI) that was at least 9 months long, and that led to a degree, diploma or certificate.
• Maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program.
4. Work without a work permit
Most foreign nationals wishing to work in Canada need to obtain a work permit. However, in certain unique circumstances, a foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit.
There are certain types of jobs that may not require a work permit for foreign nationals to engage in Canadian employment. In order to qualify for a work permit exemption, a person’s job must be on the below list and they must also meet the additional criteria for their specific job as outlined under the International Mobility Program on the website of Immigration Canada.
Types of jobs in Canada that DO NOT require a Work Permit:
• Athlete or coach
• Aviation accident or incident investigator
• Business visitor
• Civil aviation inspector
• Convention organizer
• Crew member
• Emergency service provider
• Examiner and evaluator
• Expert witness or investigator
• Family member of foreign representative
• Foreign government officer or representative
• Health care student
• Judge, referee or similar official
• Military personnel
• News reporter or film and media crew
• Producer or staff member working on advertisements
• Performing artist
• Public speaker
• Short-term highly-skilled worker
• Short-term researcher
• Student working off-campus
• Student working on-campus
Want to find out the type of work permit that you are eligible for, or need help with your work permit application?
Contact us today