Work in Canada: Eligibility Requirements and Work Permit Process

Work in Canada

Work in Canada: Eligibility Requirements and Work Permit Process

Canada is a prime destination for many foreign nationals who are seeking employment opportunities. This is due to Canada’s excellent labor market, low unemployment rate, and spectacular quality of life. Working in Canada is also an excellent first step for those seeking to immigrate to the country permanently. International workers who are aiming to work in Canada will need a job offer, a positive LMIA, and a Canadian work permit.

Benefits of working in Canada

As one of the world’s leading economies Canada is a great destination for individuals seeking to work abroad. Working in Canada has many benefits. Employers are required to follow laws and regulations to ensure that their employees are safe at work, according to Canadian labor laws. In addition, Canadian wages are competitive, and foreign nationals are required by law to receive wages comparable to those in Canada. The following table can help you have an overview of working in Canada:

Average Salary Average Working Hours PTOs Permanent Residency Citizenship
50,000 to 60,000 CAD Annually 40 Hours per week 4 Weeks per Year Within 1 to 2 Years of Working in Canada Within 3 to 4 Years After Permanent Residency

In some cases, Canadian work permits allow workers’ spouses and children to accompany them to the country. In addition, foreign nationals interested in immigrating to Canada permanently will become eligible for a number of permanent residency programs in Canada by gaining Canadian work experience.

Who is eligible to work in Canada?

Foreign nationals must meet certain eligibility criteria in order to find employment in Canada and work in the country. Each profession and each employer has its own set of eligibility requirements and expertise. Therefore, to know if you are eligible to work in Canada, you’ll need to evaluate whether or not you are eligible to apply for your desired position and get a job in your field. In addition to the requirements set by the employer, you will also need to meet certain requirements set by the Canadian government. These are:

  • Provide evidence of your intent to leave when your work authorization expires (Ties)
  • Prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family (if any) in Canada and cover your trip home
  • Are not inadmissible to Canada due to a criminal or medical conviction
  • Plan to work with an eligible employer
  • Can provide any required documents that may prove their eligibility to enter Canada.

Some of the requirements needed to find employment in Canada are:

Language requirements

The required language proficiency level for each profession is different. For some professions, an overall IELTS band score of 5.0 will be enough while for others the applicants will need to demonstrate a higher proficiency level. While the minimum required IELTS score to find employment in Canada is 5.0, most employers prefer workers with better language skills. Therefore, an overall IELTS band score of 6.0 can put the applicant on the safe side.

In addition to IELTS, the following language proficiency test are also approved by the Canadian government and accepted by Canadian employers:

  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  • Test d’Évaluation de Français pour le Canada (TEF Canada – French proficiency test)

Work experience

Similar to the language requirements, the amount of work experience needed to work in Canada is directly dependent on the profession. Entry-level positions are not commonly available to all international workers, and employers mostly prefer experienced staff. Generally, 2 years of work experience in your desired field open a plethora of employment opportunities for you. That being said, it is also possible to find employment and work in Canada with less than 2 years of previous experience and, similarly, some professions may require more than 2 years of work experience.

Cost of working in Canada

From the moment an applicant decides to move to Canada for work till the moment of their arrival, there will be several fees and expenses along the way. The following table provides a breakdown of these expenses:

Expense Amount
Document translation 200 to 300 USD
Language proficiency test 200 to 250 USD
Work permit application fee Open work permit: 255 CAD per person
Employer-specific work permit: 155 CAD per person
Biometrics 85 CAD per person
Plane ticket to Canada Varies based on your country

Cost of living in Canada

The costs of living in Canada include rent and utilities, food and groceries, transportation, insurance, cellphone and Wi-Fi plan, and leisure. Monthly living expenses in Canada are determined by the number of your family and can range from 1,300 CAD without rent for a single person to 4,500 CAD without rent for a family of four.

The cost of rent in Canada varies based on the location of the apartment and how large it is. The following table will help you have an overview of rent prices in Canada:

Apartment Location Average Rent CAD Range CAD
1-Bedroom Apartment in City Centre 1,628.81 1,042.63 to 2,500.00
Outside of Centre 1,381.65 870.00 to 2,085.71
3-Bedroom Apartment in City Centre 2,612.36 1,416.67 to 4,553.66
Outside of Centre 2,276.61 1,337.50 to 3,500.00

How to find a job in Canada?

Our clients often express concern about finding work in Canada. A job offer from a Canadian employer is needed when aiming to work in Canada. There are several ways to find work in Canada, despite the difficulty. Canada’s employment level in November 2021 reached well above pre-COVID levels, presenting great opportunities for job seekers. Here is a list of resources that may be helpful during your job hunt.

  • Canada Job Bank: This tool can help you search for jobs posted by employers across Canada. You can get matched with a job based on your credentials and work experience.
  • Government of Canada Jobs: Find current job postings with the Canadian government.

In addition to these governmental tools, there are several online job boards applicants can utilize to find a suitable job in Canada. Some of these job boards are:

  • Indeed
  • CareerBuilder
  • LinkedIn
  • Glassdoor
  • Monster
  • Google Jobs

In-demand professions in Canada

In-demand professions in Canada offer a higher employment chance for international workers. Some of these professions are even facing shortages in the various Canadian provinces. The following professions are currently in-demand in Canada:

Web Developer HR Managers Electrical Engineer Veterinarians HR Officers
Financial Advisor Pharmacist Welder General Laborer Aerospace Engineer
Administrative Assistants Merchandiser Driver Receptionist Project Manager
Account Manager Business Development Manager Accountant Registered Nurse University Professor
Software Engineer Industrial Electrician Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic Sales Associate Optician

Working in Canada without a job offer

In most cases, you will need a job offer to move to Canada for work. However, if you are applying for an Open Work Permit, you don’t need a job offer and you can work for any employer in Canada. Additionally, international students who have graduated from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) without a need for a job offer.

Canadian work permit

A Canadian work permit is a document that allows an international worker to work in Canada. A work permit is different from a work visa, as a work visa only enables a foreign worker to enter Canada for employment purposes. Therefore, international skilled workers need both documents in order to enter Canada and work there legally.

There are two types of work permits in Canada:

An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada, excluding:

  • Ineligible employers
  • Employers who provide sex trade-related services (escorting, strip tease, erotic massages, dance, etc.)

There are certain circumstances under which an Open Work Permit can be issued, including the following a dependent family member of permanent residents, a participant in the Working Holiday of International Experience Canada, a refugee or refugee claimant, applying for the Bridging Open Work Permit, etc.

The holder of an Employer-Specific Work Permit is permitted to work for one employer within a set timeframe and sometimes at the same location. The permit lists the employer and employment period, as well as the conditions of employment.

Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) issues Labor Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) for the purpose of assessing the impact of hiring a foreign worker in Canada. Having a positive LMIA means that a job opening cannot be filled by a Canadian or Permanent Resident, allowing the employer to hire a foreign national. In the case of a negative LMIA, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident should fill the vacancy.

Working in Canada without a work permit

The majority of foreigners who want to work in Canada must obtain a work permit. Nevertheless, foreign nationals may be able to work in Canada without a work permit in some situations and professions. The list of such professions can be accessed here.

Applying for a Canadian work permit

Upon checking your eligibility and finding a suitable job offer, you can now start the application process for a Canadian work permit. The very first step is to prepare the required documents and have them translated in necessary. Then, prior to submitting your application, you must pay the application fee. Lastly, you will have to provide your biometrics information at a Visa Application Center (VAC) and wait for a response from IRCC regarding your application.

Required documents for a Canadian work permit

  • Completed application forms
  • Labor Market Impact Assessment (if applicable)
  • Written offer of employment (job offer)
  • CV/ résumé
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) (if applicable)
  • Proof that you meet the job requirements (Certificates, Degrees, Poof of Work Experience)
  • Valid copy of your passport
  • Copy of education credential
  • Medical exam results (if requested)
  • Evidence of financial means to stay in Canada and return to home country
  • Proof of payment for applicable government fees
  • Recent passport-sized photos

Proof of funds

You need to prove you are able to cover your settlement expenses while in Canada and the cost of returning to your home country. This is mostly covered by your job offer if you are applying for an employer-specific work permit. Therefore, you will be needed to present about 3,000 CAD to 4,000 CAD in the form of a bank statement as proof of funds.

If, however, you are applying for an open work permit, you must prove that you have enough money to support yourself for the first 3 months of your stay in Canada. This is equal to 4,000 CAD to 6,000 CAD.


As a part of your work permit application, you are required to provide your biometrics information at a Visa Application Center (VAC). It doesn’t matter which VAC you visit. Before visiting a VAC, you will need to book an appointment with the center you are visiting and have the reservation receipt with you on the day of the appointment. During the appointment, the staff will take a picture of you and record your fingerprint.

Processing time

An applicant’s country of residence and the type of work permit determine the processing time for a work permit application. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The current processing time for a Canadian work permit can be checked on the IRCC website.

Bringing your family to Canada on a work permit

Your spouse and dependent children may be able to accompany you to Canada if you apply for an employer-sponsored work permit.

It is possible for your children who are school-age to attend educational institutions in Canada without requiring a separate study permit. Additionally, your spouse or partner may be eligible for an open work permit, allowing them to work for any Canadian employer.

Salary in Canada

For full-time employees, the average Canadian salary in 2022 was 1,175.37 CAD per week or 61,119.24 CAD per year. Overall, the trend is positive when broken down province by province, with people in each province earning more than they had in 2021. The newly-implemented federal minimum wage of 15.55 CAD per hour was put into effect on April 1, 2022, marking the beginning of a reformed era. Workers’ minimum wage used to be determined by their province or territory. This updated federal minimum wage is set by the government and is adjusted based on inflation. The federal minimum wage applies to all workers in industries regulated by the federal government.

Salary payments are made monthly but the job offers and work contracts state the agreed salary annually. For example, If you are employed with a salary of 60,000 CAD per year, you will receive 5,000 CAD each month.

Income tax in Canada

Tax rates in Canada are based on an individual’s income and are divided into the following bracket:

  • 15% on the first $50,197 of taxable income
  • 5% on taxable income between $50,197 and $100,392
  • 26% on taxable income between $100,392 and $155,625
  • 29% on taxable income between $155,625 and $221,708
  • 33% on any taxable income over $221,708

In most Canadian provinces, a personal amount of around 14,000 CAD is non-taxable.

Converting a work permit into permanent residency

International workers who have been working in Canada for more than a year are eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residency under the Canadian Experience Class (managed under Express Entry). Several other permanent residency programs are also available for foreign workers, such as:

  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
  • Federal Skilled Trades (FST)
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
  • Quebec Immigration Programs
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program


Is it easy to get a job in Canada?

Finding work in Canada might be challenging for international workers, but if you’re persistent and optimistic, you’ll ultimately succeed. Additionally, having a good employment lawyer can help you in this journey.

What jobs are in demand in Canada?

Generally, careers in the healthcare sector, technology field, and scientific areas tend to be in high demand across the country. Many healthcare professions are especially in high demand with many provinces having targeted PNP draws to invite more healthcare workers to Canada.

How much is the average hourly pay in Canada?

In 2022, the average hourly wage in Canada stood at 31.37 Canadian dollars

What job pays a lot in Canada?

Doctors and dentists in Canada earn the highest salaries, reaching as high as 350,000 to 400,000 CAD per year.

Can I work in Canada without a degree?

It is relatively hard to find employment in Canada without an academic degree, but it is possible. That being said, each application is different and each applicant must be evaluated individually. You can contact our work permit specialists to learn more about your options.

How much does an international worker work in Canada per week?

The standard hours of work per week is 40 hours. Each week has 5 business days and foreign workers work an average of 8 hours per day on a normal shift.

Can I have two jobs in Canada?

Whether or not you can work two full-time jobs at the same time comes down to your employment contract. A growing number of employers across Canada are adding an exclusivity agreement to their contracts, which prevents staff from working for another company until their employment comes to an end

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