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Services > Work Permits

A foreign national may not work in Canada unless authorized to do so. In many instances, a work permit is required and will only be issued by an Immigration officer after Human Resources Development Canada ("HRDC") approves the job offer of a prospective Canadian employer to a foreign national. There are exceptions to this requirement, as well, the circumstances of which vary on a case by case basis. HRDC is not required to provide an opinion on each individual offer of employment. Rather, HRDC may provide this opinion with respect to a single job offer, a group of job offers made by a single employer or a single or group of job descriptions that reflect needs across a range of Canadian employers.

In addition to considering whether the prospective employer has made reasonable efforts to hire a Canadian for the job opening and whether or not the wages and working conditions offered are sufficient to attract and retain a Canadian in the job, HRDC can also consider other elements that might indicate a benefit for Canada and Canadian job-seekers. This approach recognizes that some of these benefits might offset concerns HRDC would otherwise have with respect to the employers' job search efforts.

Work permits will continue to be refused in situations where the HRDC opinion is that the wages and working conditions offered are insufficient to attract and retain Canadian job-seekers. This policy is to ensure that foreign workers are not improperly used by Canadian employers to drive down the wage structure in the Canadian labor market.

In most instances, once HRDC has approved a job offer, the foreign national will be contacted by the Canadian visa post (i.e. High Commission/Embassy/Consulate) to which the approval was sent. He/she may be asked to go to an interview or to send some information by mail. He/she may also be asked to undergo a medical examination at his/her own expense. In deciding whether an individual is permitted to work in Canada, officers must examine whether a person is entering the labor market, rather than just applying the test of whether the foreign national intends to engage in an activity for which he/she might reasonably be expected to receive valuable consideration. If the foreign national meets all requirements and has all of the necessary documents, he/she will receive a work permit.

The work permit will state that the foreign national can work at a specific job for a specific period of time for a specific employer. A work permit will NOT be issued to a foreign national to come to Canada to look for work. It is valid only for the specific job, the specific amount of time and the employer stated on the form.