How to Obtain a Canadian Work Visa

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Understanding the process is crucial when applying for a Canadian work visa. Canadian work visas, which are temporary and are not the same thing as immigration documents, are in most cases available only to those who have a job offer from a Canadian employer who is authorized to fill the position with a foreign worker. The employer must cooperate with the prospective employee to complete this process because a positive labor market opinion (a document confirming the position's status) is usually required to obtain the work visa.

Things You'll Need

  • Positive labor market opinion
  • Passport
  • Temporary resident visa
  • Written job offer from employer
  • Diploma or proof of work experience
  • Medical exam
  • Criminal background check
  • Proof of immigration status
  • Temporary work visa application package
  • Application fee

Find a job in Canada that is eligible to be filled by a non-Canadian. Depending on the occupation, this may mean obtaining proof of a positive labor market opinion for the position. This means that the authorities have assessed the position and determined that it may be filled by a foreign worker. The prospective employer is responsible for obtaining this status on the open position. A letter confirming positive labor market opinion is required for any positions that fall into that category and may be obtained from Human Resources and Social Development Canada.

Determine whether a passport or temporary resident visa will be required to obtain a temporary work visa. These items are only required for some prospective employees, and it's best to obtain passports and submit applications for additional visas early in the process if they're necessary.

Check on the requirements to apply for a work visa. The requirements depend on the position. For most jobs, a written job offer from the employer, proof of a positive labor market opinion and a diploma or proof of work experience are necessary to apply for the visa. For jobs that do not require a positive labor market opinion, a passport (or other travel document) and proof of immigration status in the country from which you are applying is required. A medical exam or criminal background check may also be necessary.

Obtain a temporary work visa application package from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website or from a Canadian visa office in your home country (see Resources). Fill out all materials in the application package and gather together all additional paperwork required for the position. Failure to fill out the entire application or submit all the necessary paperwork can result in the work visa application being delayed or canceled.

Find your Canadian visa office. The application and paperwork must be submitted, either in person or through the mail, to the Canadian visa office that is responsible for processing applications from your country or region. Ask the workers in that office about a processing fee; the costs vary depending on the type of visa and the office. Submit the application and paperwork, along with the correct application fee and any other necessary materials, to the visa office. Any incomplete applications will be returned to the applicants, so make sure all the requirements are fulfilled.

Check the visa processing times. Work visa processing times can vary depending on where you are applying from. Submitting the application with all required materials can speed things along.

Keep the Canadian visa office updated on address changes, name changes or changes in marital status or living situation. Any changes can slow the application process if authorities are not informed of the situation.

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