Work Permits for Business

Work permits are usually required for foreign nationals that engage in any activities where wages or commissions are earned, or that competes directly with Canadian workers. Work permits may be issued at a visa post, a port-of-entry or from within Canada. Trade or professional licensing approval from provincial authorities may be required. Having a job offer, or working in Canada, may help one qualify for permanent residence.

Business Owners

Business owners and managers and self-employed applicants may be able to obtain work permits to buy, start or manage businesses in Canada that has significant benefits for Canada.

Intra-company Work Visas

Executives, Senior Managers or workers with Specialized Knowledge, who have worked for a subsidiary, branch, parent or affiliate of a multi-national company, for at least one year in the last three, may be eligible to work for the related company in Canada.

Free Trade Agreements

There are special provisions for citizens of countries that Canada has entered into trade agreements with including the US, Mexico and Chile.

Provincial Nominees

Applicants approved by provincial governments may be able to obtain a work permit to start/manage a business in Canada.

Skilled Workers with a Job Offer from a Canadian Company

Foreign workers often require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) before applying for a work permit. Employers usually have to advertise the job first and offer the workers the prevailing wage.

International Students

Students may be eligible for internship work permits if the internship program is a required element of their studies and not more than 50% of their program. Students may be eligible for one-time post-grad open work permit if they graduated from an eligible school and program. Graduates of 2 year programs or more can receive work permits up to 3 years.

Spouses and Common Law Partners

Spouses or common-law partners of work permit holders and student visas may be entitled to open work permits allowing them to work for any employer.


Caregivers care for children, elderly persons or those with disabilities in private homes without supervision. Caregivers must have a job offer from a Canadian employer and a LMIA. Caregivers must have completed a high school education equivalent to grade 12 in Canada and within the last three years, completed six months of full-time training in a field related to the job in Canada; or, must have completed twelve months of full-time paid employment in a field related to the work in Canada. The type of work in Canada should be in the same field as the training or work experience. Functional English or French is required.