Immigration Lawyer for Canada and the USAServing Canadian companies

Canadian Work Visa Requirements

Criteria for a Canadian work visa:

Employers often ask me questions about work visas for Canada. It is important to note that they have specific requirements. The main criteria for a Canada specific work visa are:


This work visa allows for temporary residency. It is for employees who are required to work in Canada on a temporary basis. The term “temporary” isn’t defined by law so it’s left of to interpretation. It is common practice for a non Canadian employee to set up temporarily in Canada (with the appropriate work permit) and then make a request for a permanent residency.

Specific Employer

This type of work visa applies to employers. The foreign worker can only work for the employer and the city indicated on the work permit. This must be respected at all times. Seeing as it’s related to the employer, if the foreign employee switches job, they will have to request a new permit. It cannot be transfered from one employer to another.

Fixed time

The Canadian work visa can last between from a few weeks to a few years. The initial term of the permit can be up to 3 years. The foreign worker will have to leave Canada unless they can provide a request for an extension to remain in Canada. The expiry date is also provided on the work permit.

Only applicable for a specific profession

The work permit can only be used for the job indicated on the permit. A foreign worker who has obtained a work permit as a mechanical engineer cannot work as a director of engineering! The occupation can be identified by referring to the National Occupational Classification list from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Multiple entry fees

This work permit lets the employee come in and out of Canada as they please during the validity of the visa. However, another visa can be required for citizens of certain countries designated by Canada such as Africa and Latin America.

Can’t be used to study abroad

A work permit holder cannot study in Canada. In order to come in and study in Canada, they need to obtain a different permit in accordance to the law.

I hope this brief overview of the requirements for a Canada specific work visa was helpful. Please note that there are certain legal exception about the aforementioned criteria. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or additional information.

If you wish to apply for US work visa, read our article on the subject.


  1. Thanks for sharing all of your experiences!

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