Canada seems to attract a lot of people from the world over. Are you one of them who looks to live and work here? If yes, know that there are quite a good number of great economic opportunities for those who are qualified.

Also, the safety and general security level are high, and you will get to enjoy the free social benefits in the same proportion as everybody else. Not to mention the scenic nature of rivers and waterfalls and the cultural events in well-established cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

Usually, for any immigrant looking to work and live in Canada, the ensuing question becomes, “How feasible is getting a working visa going to be?”

Below, we take a look at the many questions and concerns that surrounds obtaining a Canadian working visa.

Who is Responsible for Issuing Work Visas in Canada?

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the body that is tasked with issuing working visas. Working visas are issued under Canada’s Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

This program is designed to help Canadian employers recruit foreign workers as a direct response to the needs of their labour market at any given time.

To maintain a balance in providing jobs to immigrants and make sure that citizens have job placements, the IRCC works closely with the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to ensure that available jobs that can be done by Canadian citizens and permanent residents are allotted to them while opening up remaining opportunities to qualified immigrants in order to bridge any shortages in the labour market.

It is imperative to know the various work visa categories in order to be able to apply for a program that is most relevant to you and fits your eligibility requirement.

Canadian Working Visa Categories  

There are basically three categories of working visas under the temporary worker program, namely:

1. Canada LMIA Based Visa

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is what a Canadian employer is required to obtain in the way of seeking prior approval when intending to hire a foreign worker. It is worth noting that the LMIA-based visa does not follow a point system in order to qualify and that thousands of immigrants go to work in Canada every year by having this visa type.

To be able to work in Canada temporarily on this visa, you will need to have an employment contract or a job offer from a Canadian employer and a favourable LMIA from ESDC.

2. Student Permit

One important thing to note about student permits is that they expire 90 days after graduation, irrespective of the printed date on the permit itself. International graduates who fail to update their status with IRCC within 90 days of graduation risk losing their visa status in Canada.

However, many graduates can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). A work permit in Canada enables you to work anywhere in the country for three years after graduation. Valuable work experience gained will then help you in an application for permanent residency through programs such as the Canadian Experience Class as well as various Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

3. Working Holiday

The Working Holidays option falls under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. A basic prerequisite for participation is that your country of citizenship has an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for an IEC work permit. Alternatively, you may apply through a recognized organization.

The Working Holiday visa can be further segmented into two categories.

  • Open Work Permit – Gives your permission to work for an eligible employer
  • Employer-Specific Work Permit – Specifies the period your work permit will last, your employer, and location

Please note that there are specific job categories in which you don’t require any of the working permits for Canada.

Can you Live and Work in Canada without an LMIA-Based Visa?work permit

The answer to this question is a resounding “yes”! And that’s where the Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) visa comes in. You can apply to live and work in Canada permanently through the Express Entry system (EE). It is worth noting that the express entry is based on a point system, which is comprised of four key streams.:

  1. The Federal Skilled Worker Program
  2. The Skilled Trades Worker Program
  3. The Canadian Experience Class
  4. Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (more on this later)

Applicants who qualify for this category are selected based on their ability to contribute to Canada’s economy through their skill set(s) as well as their ability to settle in Canada.

Other key eligibility factors include but are not limited to:

  • Work experience
  • Education
  • English\French language skills

Application for Express Entry (EE)

The application for EE is very straightforward for interested immigrants. You will be required to fill in an online profile form indicating your work experience, language test scores, and education credentials.

The cost of filling out and submitting this online profile is absolutely free. The expected processing time of an application received for the express entry system is usually six months.

Working Visa in Toronto

In addition to the special job categories we mentioned earlier, those planning to move to this city for business purposes only with no intention of taking a job don’t need a working permit in Toronto.

But if you have plans to acquire a job there, you will have to obtain one. Obtaining a working visa to work in Toronto is no different, and all the above categories apply but depend on the one that best suits your eligibility and situation.

On top of all the aforementioned Canada working visa options, if your choice of destination is Toronto, you can always try the Ontario Provincial Nominees Program.

In this case, you would generally need to apply directly to the province\territory in which you are interested in order to be considered under its Provincial Nomination Program (PNP).

You will be required to take a language test when applying as a provincial nominee if you are applying for the following job categories as specified by the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system:

  • Semi or Low skilled job (NOC C or D)
  • Express entry for Technical job and skilled trade (NOC skill type B), Managerial job (NOC skill O) or Professional job (NOC skill type A)

If you opted for this route, the application process would be in two stages.

The first is to make the application to the province\territory you would like to live in (in this case, Ontario). Once received, the application would be reviewed by the province and the decision be determined based on two factors; i.e., the immigration requirement of that province at the time of your application and whether you are genuine about residing in that province.

Assuming that you are nominated, the next stage would be making an application for permanent residency to the IRCC, which will be reviewed under Canadian rules.

Additional requirements would be taking a medical exam and getting a police certificate of good conduct. These processes are mandatory for all applicants, notwithstanding where you would like to live in Canada.

Alternatively, you can make a direct application to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). Should they select you as a provincial nominee, then you can go ahead and set up your EE profile, complete with your nomination credentials.


In general, Canada is known and loved for its open-door policy for immigrants. Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are allowed into the country. On top of that, it offers numerous immigration programs that allow a broad range of potential applicants a chance at temporarily working or residing permanently within its shores. That makes the country an attractive destination for you as an ex-pat or student. As you plan to obtain your Canadian working visa, it’s advised that you periodically check the status of these Canada working visa requirements as they are bound to change from time to time.