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Work Permit FAQs
1. What is a Canadian Work Permit?

A Canadian work permit is a temporary resident visa issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to grant permission to foreign workers seeking to engage in employment in Canada. It most commonly has maximum validity of up to one year, although work permits can be issued for up to three years in some cases.

2. Is a work permit necessary in every Canadian province?

Yes, such authorization is required to engage in work in any province in Canada. However, foreign workers seeking to be employed in the province of Quebec may sometimes be additionally required to obtain a Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) to be eligible to seek a Canadian work permit.

3. What is Considered Work?

Work is defined in Canada's laws as any activity for which an individual receives payment, or one that competes directly with Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market. "Work" may therefore include some unpaid positions (i.e., internships), situations in which a foreign individual is self-employed, and other situations which may not be apparent.

4. Is a work permit always required?

No, exemptions exist by which a foreign individual may not be required to obtain a work permit. Positions which do not meet the definition of work would not be subject to the requirement. In addition, there are circumstances in which a foreign worker may be allowed to engage in work in Canada without a permit. The most common example of such is the Business Visitor (R186a).

5. Once a work permit is issued, can I change employers?

It would generally be necessary to seek a new work permit in order to engage in work with a different employer. A work permit is generally issued on the basis of an intention to work in a specific position and for a specific employer.

6. Will a work permit lead to permanent resident status?

A work permit is a temporary resident visa and does not lead directly to a Canadian permanent resident visa. However, there is no bar to an application for permanent resident status while residing in Canada as a temporary resident with a work permit.

Possession of a Canadian work permit may facilitate admissibility for a permanent resident visa. An application for permanent resident status is not, in itself, grounds for extension of a work permit, however.

7. Can I work in Canada on the basis of a work permit in another country?

No, it would still be necessary to obtain a Canadian work permit. Conversely, a Canadian work permit does not automatically entitle an individual to work in any other country.

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