A Canada Work Permit serves as the official authorization for foreign nationals to engage in employment within the country. Distinguishing itself from a Temporary Work Visa, a work permit not only grants individuals the legal right to work in Canada but also permits an extended stay in the country.

The array of Canadian work permits available caters to diverse employment categories, aligning with the specific nature of the work an individual is currently involved in or is actively pursuing. Moreover, the intricacies of the application process vary depending on the applicant’s country of origin, introducing a degree of flexibility and adaptability to accommodate the diverse circumstances of applicants.

Canada Work Permit for Nigerians

Despite these variations, a fundamental set of eligibility criteria stands as a universal benchmark for anyone aspiring to obtain a Canada Work Permit, transcending geographical distinctions.

These criteria form a standardized framework ensuring that applicants, regardless of their origin, meet essential requirements that underscore the legitimacy and appropriateness of their application. This standardized approach contributes to a fair and equitable evaluation process for all prospective work permit holders, fostering a transparent and inclusive immigration system in Canada.

Categories of Canadian Work Permits

Navigating the Canadian work landscape involves understanding the diverse categories of work permits available. Whether you seek the flexibility of an open Canada work permit or have a specific job offer in mind, exploring the distinct categories of Canadian work permits is crucial.

This introduction provides a glimpse into the two primary types: the Open Work Permit, offering broad employment freedom, and the Employer-Specific Work Permit, tailored for those with a designated job offer from an eligible employer. Delve into the nuances of each category to find the pathway that aligns with your professional aspirations in Canada.

Open Work Permit

The Open Work Permit is an ideal option for Nigerians seeking employment opportunities in Canada without being tied to a specific employer or desiring the flexibility to work for various employers during their stay in the country.

Individuals applying for an open work permit enjoy the freedom to work for any employer in Canada, as long as they meet the requirements. Eligibility for this type of permit includes, but is not limited to, the following scenarios:

  • Post-Graduation Work Permit: If you are an international student who has completed studies at a designated learning institution in Canada and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit.
  • Financial Hardship: If you are an international student in Canada experiencing financial challenges that hinder your ability to cover the cost of your studies.
  • Abuse by Employer: If you are at risk of or currently experiencing abuse by your employer while holding an employer-specific Canada work permit.
  • Family Connections: If you are the partner or spouse of an international student, a dependent of a family member who has applied for permanent residence in Canada, or a partner, spouse, or dependent of a skilled worker.
  • Refugee or Protected Person: If you are a refugee, protected person, refugee claimant, or a family member of any of these categories.
  • Temporary Resident Permit: If you hold a temporary resident permit, are subject to an unenforceable removal order, or are participating in special programs as a young person.
  • Sponsorship: If you are sponsored as a spouse, partner, or dependent child and are currently in Canada.
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Importantly, unlike other work permits, the Open Work Permit does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LIMA) or proof of an employer submitting a job offer.

Employer-Specific Work Permit

In contrast to open work permits, employer-specific work permits are designed for foreign workers who have received a job offer from an eligible employer in Canada. To apply for this type of permit, you need to provide a copy of your employment contract along with either a LIMA assessment conducted by your employer or an offer of employment number (for LIMA exemptions) obtained through the Employer Portal.

When applying for an employer-specific work permit, it is essential to include the name and address of the employer. This information is required both during the application process and before submission.

Who Qualifies for a Canadian Work Permit?

To obtain a Canada Work Permit, individuals from Nigeria must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Maintain a clean record without a history of criminal activity, pose no threat to Canadian security, and consistently adhere to Canadian laws.
  • Maintain good general health and undergo a medical examination if required.
  • Provide documentation outlining plans for accommodation after the Canada work permit expires.
  • Demonstrate financial capability to support oneself and, if applicable, family members during the stay in Canada, as well as the ability to cover the costs of returning home.
  • Avoid employment with an organization involved in sexually explicit services, including escort services, erotic dances, erotic massages, or stripteases.
  • Ensure that the prospective employer is not listed on the Non-Compliant Employers list.

In the majority of cases, foreign workers are required to obtain a Canadian work permit to engage in employment within Canada. Nevertheless, certain exemptions exist, contingent upon the individual’s qualifications and the nature of the employment.

Specific occupations are outlined in a list under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, and individuals employed in these roles may be exempt from the obligation to secure a Canada Work Permit. For skilled workers aspiring to attain permanent residency in Canada, the Express Entry program offers a potential pathway.

Eligibility for this program is determined by factors such as education, work experience, language proficiency, and other relevant criteria. Exploring this avenue may provide qualified individuals with a streamlined process for obtaining permanent residency status in Canada.

How to Apply for a Canada Work Permit

Nigerian citizens aspiring to work in Canada are required to apply for a Canada Work Permit. Simplifying the application process can be facilitated with the assistance of IAS, a service that offers comprehensive information to guide you through the steps.

Step 1: Labour Market Impact Assessment (LIMA)

To work in Canada, foreign workers typically need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LIMA), depending on the type of work and Canada work permit required. LIMA assesses whether the job can be fulfilled by a foreign national or if a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available for the role.

A positive or neutral LIMA is issued if the job cannot be filled by a Canadian, and a negative LIMA is given if a Canadian is suitable for the role. This process ensures that Canadian workers have employment opportunities, and the employment of foreign nationals does not negatively impact Canadian residents.

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Who Files a LIMA and How Long Will It Take?

The employer in Canada is responsible for filing a LIMA, and the process usually takes several weeks. Upon obtaining a positive or neutral LIMA, the employer should provide you with a copy, along with a job offer letter detailing the job title, description, requirements, start and end dates, salary, and the employer’s name and address. With this documentation, you can proceed to apply for a Canada work permit.

What Is a LIMA Exempt Work Permit?

Some foreign workers may be exempt from obtaining a LIMA and can apply directly for a LIMA-Exempt Work Permit. Employers eligible for LIMA exemption can issue a Canadian work permit without LIMA through the International Mobility Programme (IMP).

LIMA Exempt Work Permits are available for various categories, including

  • Workers of interest to Canadians
  • Participants in exchange programs
  • International students on academic placements
  • Partners or spouses of certain permit holders, and more

Open work permits also do not require a LIMA, as they are not restricted to a specific employer. If unsure about the need for a LIMA, contact our team at +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882 or online.

Step 2: Submit Your Application for a Canadian Work Permit

Applications for a Canadian work permit can be submitted online or on paper, with online submission being mandatory unless specific conditions apply. Both open work permits and employer-specific permits can be applied for using the designated application form.

Step 3: Interview and Work Permit Issued

In some instances, an interview may be conducted at the local visa office in Nigeria to discuss your work permit application and Canadian job offer. If the reviewing officer is satisfied that the foreign worker’s employment will not negatively impact Canadian residents, the Canada work permit will be approved.

Subsequently, you will receive an introduction letter from the government of Canada, which you will need to present upon arrival. The Canadian work permit will be issued at the point of entry by a Canadian Border Services Agency Officer, allowing you to commence work in Canada.

What Documents are Needed for a Canada Work Permit?

Essential documents for a Canadian work permit include proof of identity, photographs, proof of employment such as a copy of the positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment or an offer of employment letter, proof of eligibility for the job, and, if applicable, a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC) for those working in Quebec.

Relationship proof is necessary for partners, family members, or accompanying family members. Depending on circumstances, additional documents such as a re-entry permit may be required. Ensure that all documents not in French or English are accompanied by an English or French translation.

How Much Does a Canadian Work Permit Cost?

The processing fee for all Canadian work permits is CAD 155 per person. Open work permits also include a permit holder fee of an additional CAD 100 per person. Therefore, employer-specific work permits cost a total of CAD 155, while open work permits cost a total of CAD 255.

The worker is responsible for the processing fee and, if applicable, the permit holder fee for open work permits. Employers typically cover the processing fee for the Labour Market Impact Assessment or the employer compliance fee if LIMA-exempt. Fees can be paid online.

For more information or to confirm specific requirements, contact your local visa office in Nigeria to ensure a smooth Canadian work permit application process.

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For detailed insights into the application procedure, requirements, and successful application strategies for a Canada Work Permit, reach out to the legal advisors at IAS. Contact them by phone at their Lagos office at +23413438882 or +44 (0) 331630092, or connect with them online. Their expertise can prove invaluable in navigating the complexities of the application process and ensuring a successful outcome.


Can I Get a Canadian Work Permit Without IELTS?

IELTS serves solely as an English language proficiency assessment and is not a visa for entry into Canada. Proof of English language proficiency is not a prerequisite for obtaining a visa for travel, study, or work in Canada. Consequently, possessing an IELTS scorecard is not compulsory for individuals seeking a Canadian Work Visa.

Can I Go to Canada and apply for a Work Permit?

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you have the option to apply for a work permit upon entering Canada. To apply at a port of entry (POE), you must fulfill the following requirements: be eligible for an electronic travel authorization or be exempt from the need for a visitor visa (verify whether a visa is required).

Who Pays for a Canada Work Permit?

In the majority of instances, both workers and employers are required to pay fees before a work permit can be issued. For the latest and most accurate information regarding application fees, please refer to the fee list. However, in exceptional cases, either you or your employer may qualify for an exemption from specific fees.

Can I Bring My Family to Canada on a Work Permit?

If you receive a valid job offer from a Canadian employer and are applying for a work permit, you may qualify to have your spouse and dependent children accompany you to Canada. They may be eligible to live, work, or study during their time in the country.

Can I Go to Canada Without a Bank Balance?

The minimum bank balance required for a Canada student visa is CAD 10,000. To address daily expenses during the period of awaiting a decision from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), it is advisable to have approximately CAD 10,000. However, if you intend to pursue studies in Canada, you must demonstrate that you possess a minimum of CAD 25,000.

Is Education Free in Canada for Work Permit?

If at least one parent maintains valid status in Canada, such as holding a study/work permit, being a permanent resident, or being a Canadian citizen, their children are allowed to enroll in preschool, primary, or secondary school levels without being subject to international fees.

Can My Wife Work in Canada if I Have a Work Permit?

Yes, in the majority of cases, your spouse or common-law partner can work in Canada. However, they typically require a work permit to do so, and they must apply for their work permit.


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