What are the most common types of Visas needed to work in Canada?

Most Common Work Visas in Canada

Every year, immigrants flock to Canada to pursue work opportunities. If you are considering a similar move, it is important to understand the work visa structure in Canada. Some of the most common work permits include:

ESDC Confirmation Letter Work Permit

This is the most commonly-selected option for work permits in Canada. It is based on placement with a particular employer. This visa is based on the need to fill a vacancy when no suitable Canadian resident is available to perform the job tasks.

ESDC scrutinizes information about the employer and the job opening, including

  • The advertising that the employer released about the job
  • Wages and work conditions
  • Labour market related to the job
  • The methods the employer plans to establish a Canadian workforce after the immigrant’s term of employment elapses
  • Whether the job may help form other jobs for Canadians in the future
  • How the skills of the foreign worker will help train Canadians

The employer has to meet several requirements to be eligible before a visa of this nature is available. The employer is required to advertise the position usually in at least one trade magazine and in the Canada Job Bank. The employer must apply for the ESDC confirmation. If the employer receives a positive decision by ESDC, it will receive a confirmation letter of approval. The applicant uses this letter as the foundation for his or her work permit application.

Open Work Permit

This type of work permit allows you to work for any employer you choose. This type of visa is often based on the relationship status between the immigrant and another immigrant, such as for the spouse or common law partner who travels to Canada with a student visa or other work permit. This permit does not require an ESDC but may be limited to certain industries.

NAFTA Intra-Company Transferees

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) permits certain immigrants from the United States or Mexico to find employment in the country without the additional need for an HRSDC confirmation. To qualify for this type of immigration status, the immigrant must have a work history for more than one year in another country before submitting his or her application for a manager position. Additionally, the immigrant has to be trying to move to Canada in order to continue working with the same employer. The position that the immigrant is applying for must include having the power to hire, fire or recommend the hiring or firing of other staff and be responsible for directing some unit within the organization.

NAFTA Investors

This group of immigrants is eligible based on investments that they make in American or Mexican companies that operate in Canada. In order to qualify under this category, the company in Canada must meet specific criteria, including the nature of the investment and the percent control of the business.

NAFTA Traders

This group of immigrants includes senior managers of companies based in the United States or Mexico that plan to maintain substantial trade agreements with Canada. The business that the immigrant works for must meet certain requirements, such as having minimum trade volumes and percent ownership.

Non-Visa Options

There may be other ways for immigrants to come to Canada for work without having to meet the requirement for a visa. Business visitors are often able to work in Canada without a visa so long as they work for a company outside of Canada. If an immigrant’s purpose is in the country for a narrow reason, such as purchasing or selling Canadian goods, you may not need a visa. Full time students who have a valid study permit may be able to work on their campus so long as the study permit allows this.

People in certain professions may not require a visa, such as:

  • Athletes
  • Coaches
  • Referees
  • Performing artists
  • News reporters
  • Emergency services providers
  • Aviation inspectors and accident investigators
  • Academic examiners
  • Senior members of foreign governments
  • Military personnel
  • Clergy
  • Equipment trainers

Additionally, NAFTA allows business visitors from Mexico and the United States work without the need for a work permit if they work in certain industries. Contact an experienced immigration lawyer to learn about your visa and non-visa options.

Seek Legal Assistance from a Leading Immigration Firm

Applying for a work visa can be a long and complex process. Our US-Canada cross-border criminal defense, immigration and family law firm is available for a consultation regarding your immigration options. We draw upon decades of experience to help explore the many options that may be available to you. We can analyze the specific circumstances surrounding your case to determine which legal avenues may be available. Our experienced immigration lawyers can help with your application process and keep you informed of your rights and responsibilities throughout each aspect of your case.

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