Types of work permits

There are in general 2 type of work permits in Canada: open work permit and closed work permit. 

Open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada during the work permit’s validity period.

Closed work permit or work permit with conditions have specified the name of the employer, the occupation and location of the employment. This type of work permit can be obtained via programs require LMIA or programs exempted from LMIA.

  • the Temporary Foreign Worker Program
    • Employers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. The LMIA verifies that there is a need for a temporary worker and that no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do the job.
  • the International Mobility Program (IMP)
    • The IMP lets employers hire temporary workers without an LMIA. Exemptions from the LMIA process are based on both of the following:
      • the broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada
      • the reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents


Our Specialty

1-Entrepreneur work permit

People who wants to enter Canada to buy and own their own businesses and operate their businesses can apply under the International Mobility Program: Canadian interests – Significant benefit – Entrepreneurs/self-employed candidates seeking to operate a business [R205(a) – C11].

This program requires the applicant controls at least 50% of the business in question.

Where an individual is a partial owner with a slightly smaller stake and is coming to work in the business, they are required to apply for a work permit as an employee (rather than as an entrepreneur or self-employed person) and may therefore require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

People who owns more than 50% shares can be exempted from the LMIA requirements.

Applicants who have repeatedly been issued work permits over several years in the self-employed or entrepreneur category should, in addition to satisfying the indicators of general economic stimulus, be able to provide evidence of the following:

  • registration of their business as a legal entity in Canada;
  • demonstration that the profits of the business remain predominantly in Canada or proof that other significant benefits have accrued to Canada;
  • proof that all appropriate federal, provincial or territorial and local tax returns have been filed;
  • and proof that they meet the temporary requirement of subsection A22(2), that they will leave Canada at the end of the period authorized for their stay.

2-Entrepreneur work permit under BCPNP or startup visa

This type of work permit is applied as part of the permanent resident application process, they are also LMIA exempted , but will require BCPNP support letter or Start up visa designated organizations’ support letter.

3-Intra-company transferees

This type of work permit go through the International Mobility Program: Canadian interests – Significant benefit – Intra-company transferees [R205(a)] (exemption code C12), they are exempted from LMIA.

The intra-company category permits international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada for the purpose of improving management effectiveness, expanding Canadian exports, and enhancing competitiveness in overseas markets.

The entry of intra-company transferees is guided by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and the general provisions of this section, and is supplemented by provisions contained in international trade agreements for citizens of signatory countries.

Qualified intra-company transferees require work permits and are exempted from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under paragraph R205(a) (exemption code C12) as they provide significant economic benefit to Canada through the transfer of their expertise to Canadian businesses. This applies to foreign nationals from any country, including under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
Paragraph R204(a) provides for LMIA exemption code T24 for qualified intra-company transferees who are citizens of a country that has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada, namely NAFTA (and similar FTAs), and supplements the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act general provisions.

Intra-company transferees may apply for work permits under the general provision if they

  • are currently employed by a multi-national company and seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise;
  • are transferring to an enterprise that has a qualifying relationship with the enterprise in which they are currently employed, and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuingestablishment of that company (where 18–24 months can be used as a reasonable minimum guideline);
  • are being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity;
  • have been employed continuously (via payroll or by contract directly with the company), by the company that plans to transfer them outside Canada in a similar full-time position (not accumulated part-time) for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application. Extensions may be granted up to the five- and seven-year maximums.

    Requirements for the company

    • Generally, the company must secure physical premises to house the Canadian operation, particularly in the case of specialized knowledge. However, in specific cases involving senior managers or executives, it would be acceptable that the address of the new start-up not yet be secured; for example, the company may use its counsel’s address until the executive can purchase or lease a premise.
    • The company must furnish realistic plans to staff the new operation.
    • The company must have the financial ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees.
    • When transferring executives or managers, the company must
      • demonstrate that it will be large enough to support executive or management function.
    • When transferring a specialized knowledge worker, the company must
      • demonstrate that it is expected to be doing business;
      • ensure that work is guided and directed by management at the Canadian operation.

    Duration of work permits

    • Initial work permit: one year
    • For renewals, evidence should be provided that
      • the Canadian and foreign companies still have a qualifying relationship;
      • the new office has engaged in the continuous provision of goods or services for the past year;
      • the new office has been staffed.

4-LMIA and work permit

LMIA work permit allow a large range of different type of workers to come in Canada and work, however, the employer must obtain a positive LMIA first which involves recruitment advertising demonstrating difficulty in hiring Canadian workers.

Please contact us for more details. 

5-Open work permit

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’s 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 Program
  • 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