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Work in Canada

Temporary workers enter Canada for a period of time to fill critical skill shortages. These workers are usually provided with a Temporary Work Permit before leaving their home country.

There are many ways to qualify for a Work Permit. In most situations, the worker will need a job offer from a Canadian employer to apply for a work permit.



Before hiring an international worker, most employers need a government authorization that comes through an approved LMIA application. LMIAs are processed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) which ensures that the entry of these workers will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market. Foreign nationals included in an approved LMIA are then able to apply for a work permit.


The IMP allows workers to apply for a work permit without a LMIA. The exceptions include professionals and business investors defined on international agreements, due to Canadian interests such as significant benefit or reciprocal employment, and public policies, workers without other means of support such as refugees, permanent residence applicants in Canada, vulnerable workers, and humanitarian reasons.


The International Experience Canada is the pathway for young professionals looking to gain work experience in Canada. The Program is available to citizens from countries or territories that have an agreement with Canada allowing them to apply for an IEC work permit.

There are 3 categories of work permit under the IEC Program:

  • Working Holiday: for candidates without a job offer in Canada.
  • Young Professionals: for candidates with a job offer in Canada in an occupation NOC skill level 0, A or B, and, in some specific situations, skill level C
  • International Co-op (Internship): for candidates registered at a post-secondary institution and have a job offer for a work placement or internship in Canada

The eligibility requirements vary according to the country of citizenship. Usually, the candidates have to be between the ages of 18 and 35, have minimum of $2,500 CAD to cover the expenses in Canada, and be admissible to Canada.


The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is available for full-time students who graduated at Canadian post-secondary institutions in eligible programs.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Completed a PGWP-eligible program at one of the Designated Learning Institutions. Academic, vocational or professional training programs at least 8 months long which grant a degree, diploma or certificate are eligible;
  • Completed at least 50% of the Program in Canada (Some exceptions apply due to the COVID-19 pandemic);
  • Have studied full time (have taken at least 3 courses of the Program) in each semester, except for the last semester; and
  • Have received the transcript and letter of completion of the program issued by the Designated Learning Institution.

Graduates have up to 180 days to apply for a PGWP after getting their degree or diploma, transcript or official letter from their school, and must keep valid status in Canada to be eligible to apply.

The PGWP term is at the discretion of the Canadian immigration and depends on the length of the program the student has completed. For 1-year programs, students usually receive a PGWP valid for 1 year; for 2-year or longer programs, the PGWP expiry varies from 2 to 3 years.


Some international students are allowed to work in Canada, inside and outside the campus, for any employer, if taking a full-time eligible program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). They can work part-time while taking classes and full-time during summer breaks. Foreign students can also apply for Co-op Work Permit when taking an eligible co-op program.