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Moving to Canada: Visas and Work Permits

The application you make for a visa to come to Canada will depend on your reason for moving to Canada. Are you moving for work? Or are you looking for permanent residence? Regardless, we are here to help. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about temporary and permanent residence permits and work permit visas.

Residency Permits: Temporary

The temporary resident visa is issued specifically for people coming to visit Canada for a short period of time.

Getting a Temporary Resident Visa

A TRV, short for temporary resident visa, is also known as a visitor visa. The application for this type of visa can be done by accessing the Government of Canada website. You will be able to complete the application, submit it and pay for it online. If there are other people coming with you, they will also be required to submit their own application.

Conditions that Will Have to Be Met for the Visa to Be Issued:

Requirements for this type of visa include:

  • Proof that you will leave at the end of your stay and you do not intend to work or study (unless authorized)
  • Proof of sufficient finances
  • Have no criminal record
  • Not be a risk to Canadian security
  • Medical exam (not always required)
  • Biometrics (if required)

Residency Permits: Permanent

How to Get Permanent Residency in Canada

Application for permanent residency can be done both within and outside of Canada. It is common for people to apply for permanent residency after having been in the country as temporary residents first though.

If you want to check if you are eligible to apply for a permanent residence visa first, visit the Government of Canada website. There’s a tool called Come to Canada on the website which will suggest a list of programs for which you may be eligible. You’ll simply have to answer a series of questions.

Canadian Immigration Programs that Lead to Permanent Residency

The 60 Canadian immigration programs available can be divided into 3 categories. The first category is the economic-based permanent residency, the family visa and the visa. You will have to decide which category better fits you before applying. So, let’s have a look at those:

Economic-Based Permanent Residency

The economic-based permanent residence operates using the Express Entry. It concerns skilled workers who will submit their self-assessed profile online. This is valid for only one year. The applicants are then entered into a pool and if you score high enough you will be invited to apply for permanent residency.

Family Visa and the Canadian Spouse Visa Process

The family visa is essentially sponsorship through a family member who is already a Canadian permanent resident or citizen. Spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, orphaned siblings and grandchildren who are not yet 18 and are not married fall under this category.

To be a sponsor, the relative already living in Canada must be at least 18 years old, must not receive social assistance other than disability-specific and must be able to cover the basic needs of the person they are sponsoring.


The business visa is an investment-based immigration program that offers permanent residency. It is also applicable for the self-employed, experienced entrepreneurs, and start-up businesses. This falls under federal or provincial immigration programs. Participating provinces include British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, North West Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. Québec, on the other hand, has its own Immigrant Investor Program, Entrepreneur Program, and Self-Employed Program.

Work Permits and Employment-Based Visas

There are only a few jobs for which foreigners are not required to have a work permit. For the majority of the jobs, foreigners will need a work permit and employment visa.

Canada offers two types of work permits:

  • Open Work Permits

This type of permit will allow you to choose your employer. You will be able to work for any employer in Canada.

  • Employer-Specific Work Permits

This type of permit will not let you work for any employer. It is a permit that will enable you to work for only a specific employer.

Requirements for Work Visa

Canada issues different types of work permits to a variety of workers. These work permits include temporary workers, businesspeople, and permanent workers.

Temporary Workers: Visa Requirements

For temporary workers to be eligible to work in Canada, they have to:

  • Prove that they will leave Canada upon expiration of the work permit
  • Prove that they have sufficient funds to return home
  • Provide a police clearance certificate.
  • Be healthy
  • Plan to work for an eligible employer
  • Have all the appropriate documents

Businesspeople: Visa Requirements

  • Business visitors

They are not part of the Canadian labour market and are allowed to stay in the country for a period of up to six months without a work permit.

  • Professionals

They need a work permit and must have a job offer.

  • Intra-company transferees

Also, they need a work permit and must have been working on an on-going basis for at least one year in the last three years for the employer.

Permanent Workers: Visa Requirements

Skilled workers go through the online Express Entry System and have to be skilled workers.



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