Unless otherwise exempt, foreign nationals who want to work in Canada must go through the process of procuring a temporary work permit, for which a job offer and a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) are often required.

After these hurdles have been overcome, a work permit application must be submitted to the appropriate immigration authorities. The work permit application can usually be submitted either online or on paper, and the process can vary depending on the applicant’s country of nationality or residence. 

In addition, issues of inadmissibility can come into play. It is important that a foreign national ensures that he or she is not medically or criminally inadmissible before deciding to pursue the goal of working in Canada.

It is also in reviewing a work permit application that immigration authorities determine whether or not the foreign national is genuine in his intention to reside and work in Canada temporarily. If there is a concern that an individual might overstay the duration of his or her visa, or not adhere to the conditions it sets forth or the purpose for which it was granted, this could cause serious problems in the processing of the work permit.

A range of factors may be taken into account with respect to foreign nationals applying to work in Canada. These include but are not limited to: The situation in their home country and the strength of the ties that would compel them to return, previous immigration violations in either Canada or any other country, their travel history, as well any connection to Canada that might indicate they would not leave the country at the end of the validity of their visa.

Immigration authorities need to be completely convinced that the foreign national is not attempting to enter Canada to live permanently merely under the pretense of a temporary visa.

In terms of the actual process of applying for a work permit, this is where the country of residence and country of nationality come into play. Foreign nationals who require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) in order to enter Canada must submit their work permit application to the visa office that serves either their country of nationality or their country of residence. Despite the fact that the choice belongs to them as to which visa office to request, the decision as to where the application is processed lies ultimately in the hands of immigration authorities.

For those foreign nationals who are exempt from the requirement of applying for a TRV, the same choice as to which visa office to request is available to them. However, they may also, in some cases, apply for the work permit directly upon entering Canada in many cases. These individuals must only apply for an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to secure legal entry to Canada, allowing them to submit their application to immigration authorities at the Canadian border. This facilitates the submission process greatly and allows a TRV-exempt foreign national to avoid the often lengthy work permit processing times.