Is a Canadian Work Permit Hard to Get?

Most international workers who have pursued careers and job opportunities in Canada had to submit a work visa application to the Canadian authorities. For some, the process was a walk in the park and for others, it was a rather rocky road to entering the Canadian workforce.

But that shouldn’t stop you. Given the fact that 73,640 work permits have already been issued in 2022 through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and 159,000 work permits through the International Mobility Program (IMP) – it’s clear that thousands of foreign workers are successfully working in Canada, and you can too!

In this article, we discuss three ways you can get your Canadian work permit with the least amount of hassle.

Is a Canada work visa hard to get?

It can be tricky to obtain a Canada work visa but not impossible with professional help and employer support. Your work visa application will most likely require a job offer letter and a positive labour market impact assessment document or number, both of which can’t be obtained without the help of a Canadian company.

There are also special work visa programs for those in special circumstances like international graduates and youth who want to travel and work part-time in Canada.

3 Ways to Improve Your Chances of Working in Canada

1. Get employer support

To work in Canada you need to have the support of a Canadian employer. Most of the documents you need to submit with your visa application can only be given to you by a Canadian company. These can include documents such as a labour market impact assessment document (if applicable), your work contract, and a letter of invitation.

And if you’re lucky, the company that is hiring you may also offer to handle most of the application details on your behalf and provide you with a document checklist and steps to follow.

Note: You may not need a work visa if you are planning a short business trip to Canada for activities such as training, site visits, and conferences. Instead, you can apply for a visitor visa. However, if you are transferred to Canada by your company or are otherwise employed by a Canadian company, you will need a work permit.

2. Have in-demand skills

Another reason why Canadian work visas are hard to get is that the employer who wishes to hire a foreign worker may not be able to obtain a positive labor market impact assessment (LMIA) document in order to do so. A positive LMIA shows that a Canadian employer was unable to fill a particular job directly from the Canadian workforce and will need to hire a foreign worker to fill the job position instead.


There are hundreds of in-demand jobs and skills shortages across Canada due to its aging population. Knowing whether and where your skills are in demand can significantly improve your job hunt and open more opportunities for work visa programs. For example, there is a special work visa program for highly-skilled tech workers known as the Global Talent Stream. Innovative tech companies usually have no problem obtaining positive LMIA documents.

Use our quick navigation to find out where your skills are in demand in Canada.

Who doesn’t need an LMIA?

The great news is that there is a way to apply for a Canadian work visa without needing an LMIA. The International Mobility Program (IMP) is a work permit program that serves Canada’s broader economic and cultural interests. A few examples of the type of workers who may qualify for an LMIA-exempt work permit under the IMP include the following:

Who doesn’t need an LMIA?

  • Company transfers;
  • Skilled Francophone workers;
  • Workers qualifying under an international free trade agreement (see #3);
  • Foreign workers in Canada applying for permanent residence; and
  • Youth exchange participants like the Working Holiday Visa.

3. Check if your country has an international agreement with Canada

Most foreign workers from countries who have international agreements with Canada enjoy faster work permit application processing of just two weeks and also don’t have to submit an LMIA with their applications. The free trade agreements typically allow independent professionals, service providers, intra-company transfers, investors, and business visitors to work in Canada for up to 12 months.

Countries with free trade agreements with Canada

  • Mexico;
  • the USA;
  • the UK;
  • Chile;
  • Peru;
  • Colombia; and
  • Korea;

Requirements for a Work Permit in Canada

So what are the requirements for a Canadian work permit? If you plan to apply for a work permit from outside of Canada then the following requirements will apply to you:

What do you need for your work visa application

  • Copy of your job offer from your prospective employer;
  • Proof indicating you meet the requirements of the job being offered;
  • A photocopy of the information page of your valid passport or travel document;
  • Two ID size photos or you may be asked to give your biometrics;
  • Photocopy of your Marriage License/Certificate;
  • A copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA); or
  • An Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

But how much does a Canadian work permit cost? It costs CAD $155 to submit an application for a work visa in 2022. The processing time differs depending on the program you qualify for and your country of residence. The process can be as quick as two weeks or run a few months.

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