The following are the basic considerations when seeking admission to engage in work in Canada.
There must typically be arranged work in Canada (with some limited exceptions). Arranged work can take the form of a direct offer of employment from a Canadian company, or a contract with an organization by which an individual is assigned to work in Canada (without being a direct employee of a Canadian company).
If applicable, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) should be obtained in advance of applying. However, in some cases a case may be exempt from this requirement. In other cases, the work in Canada could be subject to an exemption from a work permit under business visitor or other provisions.
In all cases, the application materials must be presented in a thorough and clear manner. An incomplete or ambiguous application can result in significant delays or even refusal, which could impact subsequent admissibility. In some cases, it is necessary to complete advanced filiings for compliance purposes prior to submission of the actual application.
The work permit application must be submitted to the appropriate venue for processing. This may include a visa office abroad, a port of entry (depending on nationality and the nature of the case), or centralized processing offices responsible for pre-screening of port of entry applications. The best choice of processing cenue will depend on the nature of the case and can have a significant bearing on the timing and even the outcome.
There may be multiple methods by which to submit and process any given application. Differences in these methods can have a significant impact on the requirements and, possibly, the outcome of the application. As a general rule a case is processed at a Canadian visa office prior to arrival in Canada. In some cases, however, an application for a work permit can be submitted at a Canadian port of entry (i.e., airport, border crossing, etc.). In the latter approach, advanced decision-making on the application is possible in certain situations, which may affect the time needed to conclude the application.
Some applicants for a Canadian work permit will be required to undergo medical examinations prior to issuance of a Canadian visa, which can also effect the duration of the application process. Situtations in which this is necessary depend on the duration of the work permit being sought, the residence of the applicant in the 12 months prior to the submission of a case, and the nature of the occupation (e.g., some occupations involving direct contact with the public for greater than three hours per day may always require medical examinations).
There are numerous categories or provisions by which a foreign worker can seek a work permit in Canada. However, these usually fall within one of several general classifications that can be used to better understand the procedures. These are: