I frequently get asked by job seekers all over the world, as to how they go about getting a work permit for Canada, and how easy is it to get a work permit. I approached Ryan Rosenberg, who is an excellent immigration lawyer who helped us in our move to Canada from South Africa.

His comments are as follows :

Generally speaking, work permits are very easy and/or very complicated to obtain. Huh? Here’s why. Work permits fall into two general categories, those requiring Labour Market Opinions (“LMO”) and those that are exempt from that process. An LMO is a bureaucratic decision that hiring a foreign national will either cause a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labour market. Obtaining an LMO can be complicated in some cases and almost always requires the employer to advertise the subject position and to offer a competitive wage and generally accepted working conditions. Once an LMO Is issued to an employer their candidate can then apply for a work permit.

It is almost always preferable to avoid the LMO process and to rely on an exemption from the bureaucratic decision. There are literally dozens and dozens of LMO exemptions under current law and policy and the trick is to find the best fit for a given circumstance. For example, exemptions are found in various trade agreements (like the NAFTA, for example), for intra-company transfers (executives, senior managers and those with specialized knowledge), for provincial nominees, for spouses of skilled workers, for recent graduates, and on and on. If an LMO exemption is available, a candidate can apply for a work permit straight away.

The second major distinction on the easy/complicated continuum is whether or not the candidate requires a visa. Generally speaking, candidates from countries who require a visa to travel to Canada must submit their work permit applications prior to arriving in Canada at either a Canadian consulate or embassy outside of Canada. That application process can be onerous and take from a few days to several months to process. If a candidate does not require a visa, with some exceptions, that candidate can file a work permit application at the border, upon entry into Canada.

So, to answer the question, it really depends on the person asking it. A candidate who is both visa exempt and LMO exempt can obtain a work permit quite readily, but a visa and LMO requiring applicant could take several months. In looking at the diagram below note that the bigger the circle, the more difficult it is to obtain a work permit.

Ryan N. Rosenberg, is a Vancouver based immigration lawyer and managing partner of Larlee Rosenberg, Barristers & solicitors in Vancouver. You can reach Ryan by phone at 604-681-9887 or visit his website at www.larlee.com.

13 Responses to “How difficult is it to get a Canadian Work Permit?”

  1. j.rama murthy

    dear susa

    try me a job of mining engineer in african countries

    how to send C.V. to you

    thank you


    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Rama, I would suggest you register and post your resume onto CareerMine, we have around 40 000 mining jobs worldwide on the site.That way your resume will be visible to the recruiters on our site. Good luck!!

  2. Denver Govender

    Hi there my name is Denver im a dent technician I’ve been hail chaser for 8 years now and would like to know how i would go about applying for a visa or what type of visa i could apply for? as i would really love to work in Canada maybe later this year! heard you have some big storms there. look forward to your reply.

  3. bonifatius

    Hi Susan can you please post the link again were we can register please…

    • Susan Kihn

      Dear Bonafatius

      Thank you for your enquiry which I received from the article on the CareerMiner blog. We at CareerMine are not actively involved in the recruitment process with any of the recruiters on our site, but rather provide a service for companies to advertise their positions on CareerMine.

      If you are actively looking for a job in the mining industry, you may register on our website and post your resume. Your resume will then become searchable though our database. This service is for free. Please follow this link if you wish to proceed: https://secure.infomine.com/careers/resumes/welcome.aspx?language=EN

      You may also Feature your resume which will ensure that your resume stays close to the top of the list and you will have a better chance of being contacted by a company. It is also highlighted and edited. The cost for 6 months is Can$80.00

      You can also do job searches, without a job access subscription you will be able to respond to some of the jobs on the site but not all of them, should you wish to be able to respond to all of the jobs on the site, you will need to take out a job access subscription. This costs $14.00 a month. Please follow this link should you wish to proceed. https://secure.infomine.com/subscribe/account.asp?action=1&package_id=45&payment_interval_id=1



  4. Camilla

    Hi Susan,

    Ok. My case is somewhat confusing.

    I live in Barbados and I would like to migrate to Alberta Edmonton by August 2016. From the research I’ve done so far, I can live and work in Canada on a Work Permit and apply for Permanent Residency after the first couple of years. I do not have IELTS in my country or any of the other English Exams for that matter. Ok. I’m completely confused on how to become a permanent resident without all the English tests as I am from an english speaking country and it is my first language. HELP!

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Camilla. Thank you for your question. I think it would be best to speak to an immgration lawyer to clarify what exactly is required. I know for citizenship you have to write an English exam, but am not sure for permament residency. The laws change a fair amount of the time as well with regads to requirements. Otherwise have a look at Service Canada, they provide a fair amount of information in terms of requirements for immigrants. Good luck. I hope you manage to come right. Regards. Susan

  5. Lex

    Hello Ms. Susan,

    I desire to work in any place in Canada. I am Filipino but I am currently working in Taiwan. I have been working as a factory worker for two years already. May I ask how will I obtain a similar job in Canada? What must I do to get there legally?

    Thank you very much for your help. May God bless you.

  6. CanadaUpdates

    Getting Work Permit Visa in Canada is simple and fast for few categories as Agriculture workers, farm workers, Heath Care professionals etc. If you take some precautions and understand rules, for certain categories work permit can be issued fast

  7. Abiyot Reindl

    Hi Suzan
    Me and my husband we are from Germany my husband he’s working Germany as Product Manager Mort hand 10 years now. We are planning to move to Canada and work there but we don’t know how to get work permit. Ist possible for you to help as? Thank you very much

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Abiyot. Thank you for your enquiry. In order to move to Canada to work you would need to obtain a work permit. I would suggest you contact an Immigration Lawyer who would be able to let you know what the requirements and process would be. You could also have a look at the website below, which would give you some information in terms of what the various options are. Good luck. I hope something good positive comes out of this for you. Regards. Susan.


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