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How to Get a Work Visa and Permit in Canada

Learn how to get a work visa and permit in Canada for your foreign worker.

Jemima Owen-Jones
Written by Jemima Owen-Jones
January 19, 2024
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Key takeaways

  1. The employer must find a suitable candidate by posting a valid job vacancy on the government of Canada’s website.
  2. Once the employer has found a candidate, they must help them obtain an LMIA work visa and a work permit.
  3. There are two routes to secure an LMIA work visa and permit for your foreign worker—you can take the DIY route and undergo the LMIA processes yourself or use an immigration service like Deel to provide you with visa support in Canada.

If you’re a company looking to relocate skilled workers to Canada, you can do so by securing a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) visa, enabling the company to support a Canadian work permit on a temporary basis.

There are two routes to secure a work visa and permit for your foreign worker—you can take the DIY route and undergo the LMIA processes yourself or use an immigration service like Deel to provide you with visa support in Canada. 

The latter is more suitable for companies that want a hands-off approach to visa procurement or do not have the proper infrastructure to support a Canadian work visa. 

If you opt for the DIY approach, here are the steps you must take:

Step 1: Choose the appropriate LMIA visa category 

To legally work in Canada, foreign nationals need both an LMIA work visa and a work permit

The first step is to identify the appropriate type of work visa for the employee. There are many different types, each with its own requirements. Some of the most common types of work visas in Canada include:

  • LMIA GTS Category A
  • LMIA GTS Category B 
  • LMIA Exempt

You can check the official Canadian government website to determine which visa type is most suitable for your open position or use Deel’s Immigration Assist tool to check visa requirements. 

⚡Looking for swift talent deployment in North America? 

If you want talent on the ground in North America, consider the Canadian Working Holiday Visa. This visa is suitable for individuals aged between 18 and 35, allowing them to live and work in Canada for 12 to 24 months. 

Deel can streamline the visa application process by engaging the worker through our Canadian entity and sponsoring their visa for an expedited and smooth application experience, or if your organization already has a Canadian entity, we can manage the application process on your behalf. Book time with one of our mobility experts today to start the process.

Note: While this visa provides valuable Canadian work experience—which can enhance a permanent residency (PR) application—it does not offer the LMIA points that could further benefit the PR process.

Step 2: Ensure the company and position meet the LMIA eligibility criteria 

The first step is to ensure that your company and the vacant position meet the eligibility requirements set by the employment and social development Canada (ESDC). 

The exact criteria depend on the specific visa category you choose, but in general, it includes:

Step 3: Create a job bank account and post the job vacancy ad

Next, employers must create a job bank account on the government of Canada’s website. With this account, you can post the job vacancy that reflects the criteria mentioned above, clearly describing the job duties, required qualifications, salary details, duration of employment, working conditions, and any other relevant terms. You can find more information here

After posting the job ad, actively advertise the position for at least four weeks. Use various channels such as online job boards, company websites, and local newspapers to reach a wide range of potential applicants.

During the advertising period, actively interview and consider eligible candidates. Document the recruitment process and maintain records of interviews and applications.

Step 4: Submit an LMIA assessment via the LMIA online portal using your job bank credentials

Once you’ve found a suitable candidate, you must obtain an LMIA from employment and social development Canada (ESDC). The LMIA is a document showing a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.

There are two types of LMIA applications:

  • Standard LMIA applications: These applications are for employers who are hiring foreign workers for permanent positions
  • Streamlined LMIA applications: These applications are for employers who are hiring foreign workers for temporary positions in high-wage occupations

You will need to pay a fee to submit your LMIA for each position you’re looking to fill.

ESDC will review your application and determine whether to approve it. If your application is approved, ESDC will issue you an LMIA.

💡​Once you've found a suitable candidate, Deel can perform an initial assessment to ensure they meet the LMIA criteria. We'll then contact the candidate to gather the required documents to support their application, such as their passport, work experience documentation, police clearance certificate, and medical documents.

Deel's global mobility team can draft the LMIA application and prepare the work permit application on your behalf. The average processing time is 2-4 months, depending on the employee's country of citizenship.

We can also add family members such as spouses and dependent children to the candidate's visa application and support them in obtaining open work permits, allowing them to work for any employer in any occupation without being tied to a specific job offer or location.

Discover which Canadian visas Deel can support here and get our free Canadian immigration guide.

Step 5: Provide a copy of the LMIA letter to the temporary foreign worker

You must provide the worker with a valid offer of employment and a digital copy of the LMIA letter. With this letter, the worker can apply for an employer-specific work permit. They can do this from inside Canada or outside Canada.
The foreign worker must apply before the LMIA expiry date. 

To apply for a Canada work permit, the worker must create an account on the immigration, refugees, and citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, complete the online work permit application form, upload the required documents, and pay the application fee before submitting their application. 

The worker must follow these instructions on how to apply. 

💡 Deel’s global mobility team submits the work permit application to the authorities in the applicant’s country of origin. The average processing time is 2-4 months, depending on the employee’s country of citizenship.

Step 6: Complete biometrics and passport stamping

If approved, and the employee is outside Canada, they must book a biometric appointment at their local visa-filling center and attend in person.

Once biometrics are complete, the applicant must send their passport to their local visa-filling center or go to the visa-filling center in person to submit their passport and collect a stamp. 

💡 Deel’s global mobility team will support the applicant through the process. If approved, D
eel will receive a passport request from the Canadian authorities, and we will inform the applicant to send their passport to their local visa-filling center. 

Step 7: Welcome your new employee to Canada

Once the passport is stamped, your employee can plan their travel to Canada. The Canadian border agency issues the final copy of the work permit on arrival at the border.

The work permit will be valid for the same duration as the LMIA. You should retain accurate records related to the employment of foreign workers, including copies of the LMIA, job offer, and any communication with immigration authorities. This is important for compliance and potential future audits.

💡 Deel’s HR platform enables the workers to upload their work authorization and travel documents to the Deel platform, where they are verified by mobility specialists and securely stored. The worker can then commence onboarding.

Get total transparency from start to finish with Deel

No longer will you be left in the dark during the work permit application process. Deel is re-inventing the immigration journey to make it stress-free and predictable for both workers and companies. 

Our global HR platform has everything you need to support your global team. You can:

  • Check a candidate’s visa or work authorization eligibility before creating an employment contract 
  • Have Deel sponsor your applicant’s visa for an accelerated and hands-off approach to immigration
  • Oversee all company immigration activities and costs via your dashboard and receive reminders when work authorizations are due to expire or need renewing 
  • Create work contracts that comply with all local labor laws 
  • Run background checks
  • Administer benefits and perks, including healthcare, equity, and retirement plans 
  • Provision equipment and flexible coworking space memberships 
  • Run global payroll 
  • Manage your team with Deel Engage plugins for smooth onboarding, time off, pulse surveys, and more

Sound like the ideal solution? Learn more about Deel’s visa and immigration services, or book 30 minutes with a product expert to get your questions answered.

Our vision is to make Mobility simple, transparent, and fun. We want our clients to be able to outsource the complexity to Deel and let Deel Immigration help them expand globally in a rapid and compliant way.

Masha Sutherlin, Director of Mobility and Corporate Legal, Deel

Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.

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