Canada is one of the United States' most important economic partners. Home to one of the best public education systems in the world, Canada is a booming talent hub across all industries, including tech, financial services, healthcare, and agriculture. Despite being a relatively small country by population, Canada's GDP is approaching $2 trillion. Companies looking to expand globally can hire top Canadian talent by partnering with an EOR service like Via.
Foreigners looking to work and live in Canada will need to have both a Canada Work Visa and a Canada Work Permit.
Here’s a look at what employees and employers need to know about the application process for immigrants, expats, and others looking to continue their careers in Canada.
A Canada Work Visa allows you to travel to and legally enter Canada. To work or study in Canada, you will also need a Canadian work permit.
When applying for a Canada Work Visa, you will need to meet the following requirements:
Have a valid passport
Be in good health
Demonstrate intention to leave Canada upon visa expiration, usually through a plane ticket
Prove ability to financially provide for yourself during your stay
Present a medical exam and/or a letter of invitation from a resident of Canada
A Canada Work Permit enables you to work or study in Canada but doesn’t necessarily allow you to enter the country. Canada Work Permits may include restrictions or conditions regarding where you can work or study.
Almost everyone seeking employment in Canada who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident will need a Canada Work Permit.
First, you must receive a job offer from an employer; then, you can apply for a Canada Work Permit with the IRCC, or the government department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
To apply for a work permit in Canada, you will need to provide the the following documents:
A valid passport and two recent passport-sized photos
Qualifying certification of education
Proof of professional qualifications, work experience, and financial stability
A medical examination report (if requested)
Citizens of certain countries, like India, will need to provide additional documentation when applying for work visas and permits t in Canada.
There are two main types of work permits in Canada: open and employer-specific.
An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada without a job offer. Open work permits are usually available to temporary foreign workers (TFW) and their spouses, as well as international students.
Employer-specific work permits, on the other hand, are tied to a specific employer and position. The role and employer on your job offer must match the information on your permit application. If you change companies or even roles, you will need to reapply for a work permit.
Depending on the circumstance, you may qualify for a Canada Work Permit Exemption. Examples include:
Foreign representatives, their spouses, and/or family members
Athletes, referees, and other sports professionals
News reporters/media crews
Most Canadian work permits are valid for 1-2 years, and non-Canadians citizens are allowed to work in Canada on a visa for a total of 48 months.
If you’re looking to work in Canada for longer than 4 years, consider applying for permanent resident status.
When it comes time to extend or change the conditions of your Canada Work Permit, you must complete an additional application. If you apply for an extension or change before your permit expires, you can remain in Canada and continue working while your application is in process.
If your work permit expires before reapplying, you must stop working in Canada.
Before taking a job offer in Canada, it would be wise to make sure that your employer is compliant. Your employer must comply with Canada’s rules and regulations regarding hiring TFWs.
Even as an employee, it’s still good to be familiar with employer requirements to make sure that you are being compensated fairly for your work.
As a foreigner, you’ve got some solid resources for finding a job in Canada. You can use a hiring and recruiting service, search job posting sites like Indeed.com for Canada, and explore Canada’s Job Bank.
Another item to keep in mind is language training. Is English your first language? If you’re working in Quebec, are you semi-fluent in French? Test your proficiency by taking an online self-assessment language test.
For Canadian employers to permanently hire a foreign worker, the employee must apply for permanent residence in Canada; otherwise, they are limited to working for only four years.
To hire a TFW, you must make a job offer and apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
Consult local lawyers and tax professionals to ensure you are compliant with all rules and regulations associated with your province.
If your business does not currently have an entity in Canada, you have a few options. First, you can explore setting up a Canadian subsidiary. Another option is partnering with an employer-of-record (EOR) service like Via to circumvent any potential issues or delays with hiring temporary foreign contractors.
Hiring an intern or contractor depends on the employee’s status. Are they a permanent resident of Canada or a non-Canadian resident?
If you’re a Canadian company looking to hire an intern who is a resident of a foreign country for a limited period of time, like 3 months, you can partner with a service like Via to pay the employee as a contractor. This will allow you to pay contractors in their local currency.
All employers must remain compliant with Canada’s rules and regulations when hiring foreign workers. If you don’t comply, your business will face hefty penalties, and even a possible ban from doing business in the country.
If your business cannot establish an entity or subsidiary in Canada due to limited resources, you may require the help of an EOR service like Via. An EOR manages all administrative processes, including the application process for work visas and permits.
Companies of all sizes want to hire employees in Canada, but don’t know how to navigate the country’s local labor laws. Via makes hiring Canadian talent and building your global team seamless. With our easy-to-use platform, Via helps you manage local HR processes for direct employment such as benefits, payroll, background checks, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-of-record/entity in Canada, Via assumes full responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team.
With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors in Canada with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums–start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace.
Technically speaking, a Canadian Work Visa does not authorize you to work in Canada. Visas are required for entering the country. After receiving a job offer, you will need to apply for a Canadian work permit.
No, Canada Work Permits and Canada Work Visas are different. A Canada Work Visa allows you to enter the country but does not enable you to work. A Canada Work Permit, on the other hand, is required for non-Canadian or temporary foreign workers looking to be employed in the country. These items are not interchangeable, so you will need both the work visa and permit if you plan to live and work in Canada.
After receiving a job offer, you can begin the work permit application process with the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Prospective employees must show financial documentation to prove they can sustain their lifestyle in Canada. A specific amount is not listed, as such information is subjective to each applicant and their personal circumstances, such as whether an applicant has children.
Application processing varies based on whether an LMIA is required, what field you’re looking to find employment in, and what country you currently live in. Processing times can take months and, in the worst case scenario, sometimes up to two years.
Anyone 18 and older is eligible to work in Canada as long as they possess a valid passport, are in good health, can financially support themselves, and have a non-existent criminal record, among other requirements.