Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Immigration Corner | Hard-working man wants a Canadian work permit

Published:Tuesday | September 22, 2020 | 12:10 AM
Deidre S. Powell
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Ms Powell,

I am interested in getting a work permit for Canada. Is the embassy still accepting applications? Can you please tell me how to apply? How are persons selected? I am an educated and hard-working man and just want a better life for my family.

– R.N.

Dear R.N.,

The government of Canada is still accepting online applications for work permits. Individuals are usually selected based on their education, skills, and proof of a qualifying job offer from an employer who has demonstrated a genuine need to hire an international worker based on labour shortage in Canada.

Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will evaluate each application based on the documents submitted, and permits are issued to individuals who are outside or inside of Canada based on their status, education, skills, and the general labour demand in Canada.


There are several types of work permits that are issued by IRCC. I strongly recommend that you consult directly with an authorised immigration lawyer to ensure that you can satisfy the requirements before you apply.

One of the most critical requirements for an international worker is to provide proof of a valid job offer. If you have a valid job offer from an authorised employer, you may apply for a temporary resident visa/work permit, which authorises you to work in Canada for a specific period. The job offer must outline the duties, salary, and benefits. It must also be full time and must be for a minimum of 30 hours per week.

Most employers need to first apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment ((LMIA) report before they can offer an international person a job offer. This LMIA report from your prospective employer must be submitted as part of your application.

Some jobs are exempt from the above requirement based on an international agreement, a federal-provincial agreement, or the ‘Canadian interests’ category. These are usually applicable for charitable and religious workers.

Due to COVID-19, individuals are encouraged to apply online via the government’s website. This process is processed more quickly, and there are checks and balances to ensure that you submit a complete application to avoid delay. Before you apply, you should download a copy of the document checklist for work permit (IMM5488) and review to ensure that you are able to submit the required documents.

Most countries have a visa office requirement list, and so you should download that list as well to ensure that you have those documents. Some of the documents you will be required to provide include, but are not limited to a police report, a birth certificate, a certificate, résumé, job letters, proof of educational qualification, and evidence of your current financial status in country of residence. You can establish your financial status by providing a bank statement of the last three months, which shows the balance in your account, investments, and property titles.


Since a work permit is a temporary visa, you must be careful to show that you have strong ties to your home country, which will motivate you to return once your contract and permit have expired. You must also be able to pass all the medical and background checks before a permit will be granted.

You must complete all the relevant application forms and validate them before uploading to the portal. You should also download the photo specifications and ensure that you are able to submit a digital photograph with your application.

The relevant application fees must be paid using a credit or debit card. You should pay the biometrics fees so that you can be notified of an appointment to attend a visa application centre to provide your fingerprints and other biometric data.

Although most applications are completed without an interview, in some cases, a visa officer may decide that an interview is necessary. If this is required, you will be notified and given instructions on when and where you should appear. If you are called to an interview, you should take the original documents that you submitted online.

I hope that you find this helpful. Should you or a perspective employer require additional information, it may be useful to consult an immigration lawyer to assist you based on the finer details of your case.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada Bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Email:; Subject line: Immigration; Call 613.695.8777 or contact her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.