Canada Temporary Work Permit

Canada operates the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). 

The difference between the two programs is the TFWP requires a labour market test, known as the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Following are the different kind of work permits:

Canada Temporary Work Permit 

 To be eligible to work in Canada temporarily, generally it is a prerequisite for the foreign worker that he gets a work permit. The applicant will require a job offer from a Canadian employer before he is granted with a temporary work permit. The foreign worker may also require to get a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), depending on the origin of nationality to enter Canada.

  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)As a general rule, any applicant who has a suitable job offer from a Canadian employer, but who does not have a valid temporary work permit and is not authorized to work in Canada must have the Canadian employer obtain an Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) prior to submitting their FSWP application in order to benefit from Arranged Employment.
  • Open Work PermitOpen work permits are immigration documents that allow temporary residents to work in Canada over a specified period. Different from standard work permit, an open work permit is not linked to a specific position, location, or employer. As such, a holder of an open work permit may assume most positions needless of immigration approval and may subject employers to change without further approvals. An individual might get open work permit by an employer inside Canada, outside Canada or at the port of entry to Canada.

For open work permit, you may qualify to apply if you fall within the listed scenarios below:

  • Applicants with Permanent residence who have applied to an office in Canada;
  • Some applicants who are dependent family members of permanent residence applicants;
  • Common-law partners and spouses of international students and workers;
  • Protected persons and their family members, refugee claimants, refugee;
  • Some holders of temporary resident permit or
  • Some young workers who are participants of special programs.
  • Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) – The bridging open work permit (BOWP) allows a worker in Canada to continue working while waiting for the processing of his of permanent residence application. To apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), the applicant must be in Canada with a valid work permit with expiration set within 4 months and received a positive eligibility decision on his federal permanent residence application. The applicant who applied to immigrate to Canada under either the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Class, the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Class, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) will be considered for a bridging open work permit if the required eligibility criteria are fulfilled. A foreign worker with a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) can then keep on working instead of leaving Canada temporarily who has applied for the permanent residence under one of the above immigration programs until a decision had been made on his or her application.


  • International Experience Class – Young individuals who are between 18 and 35 years old with bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada are given the opportunity to travel and work in Canada for temporary periods under International Experience Canada (IEC).

There are three different options available in IEC program depending on the individual’s country of origin:

Working Holiday – IEC Working Holiday program allows the candidate to be issued an open work permit valid for one to two years and work for almost any employer in Canada. Depending on the country of origin, citizens of some countries are eligible to stay in Canada for more or less than one year.

Young Professionals – To qualify for IEC Young Professionals program, the candidate of the participating country will require a signed contract of employment with a Canadian employer associated with the candidate’s professional experience. In addition, the employment offered to the applicant will have to be categorized as a National Occupation Code (NOC) Skill Type Level 0, A, or B. By participating in IEC Young Professionals program, an individual will acquire significant practical knowledge about Canadian employment system as well as will obtain international experience.

International Co-op – To qualify for IEC International Co-op program, the candidate will have to be enrolled at a post-secondary institution in their country of nationality and settle internship arrangement with employers in Canada. While participating in IEC International Co-op program, an individual will have to be registered as a student.


  • Exemption to LMIA RequirementsGenerally applying for a Canadian work permit requires a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, there are several programs that are exempt from the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement. NAFTA Work Permit holder worker, Provincial Nominees, PhD students doing a post-doctoral fellowship at a Canadian university, Intra-company Transferees, Spouses and common-law partners of full-time foreign students, Religious Workers, Candidates of International Experience Canada (IEC), Co-op students are some of the examples which do not require the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). These programs are called International Mobility Programs.
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