How to apply for a Canada Work Permit

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Overseas Filipino Workers OFWs who go to Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program TWFP (including the Caregiver Program) need to apply for a Work Permit in order to work legally in Canada. Here’s how to apply for a Canada Work Permit.

Temporary Workers

First, you need to find out if you need a Work Permit.

If you are going to Canada as a Caregiver, you will need to apply for a Work Permit.

In order to determine if you are eligible to apply for a Work Permit, you must meet Canada’s general eligibility requirements.

Your eligibility to apply for a Work Permit will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • You must have a Canadian employer who is eligible to hire you for authorized work in Canada.
  • You can’t work for the adult entertainment industry, like strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours.
  • Proving to a visa officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your Work Permit (if you are coming to Canada for work that does NOT allow you to apply for Permanent Residency).
  • Show Proof of Funds (or Show Money), if you are bringing family members with you in Canada. This will indicate that you will be able to provide for your family during your stay in Canada.
  • Provide police clearances, showing that you intend to behave in Canada, and follow all the rules and regulations. The lack of any criminal records will also show that you are not a security threat to Canada.
  • You’ll have to be in good health by providing the results of a medical exam.

In most cases, you will have to apply for a Work Permit at a Visa Office outside Canada.

In most cases, you will also need to supply your biometrics as part of your application for a Work Permit.

There are two types of Work Permits.

  • Open Work Permits – these types of Work Permits will allow you to work for any Canadian employer who is not listed as ineligible. You also can’t work in strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours.
  • Employer-specific Work Permits – if you are working for a specific employer, it will be indicated in your Work Permit, as well as other conditions including location of employment.

Employer-specific Work Permits

If you are going to Canada as an OFW, you will most likely require an Employer-specific Work Permit. Your Canadian employer must first secure a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment LMIA, before you can submit your application for a Work Permit.

The LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada ESDC to Canadian employers which allows them to hire Foreign Workers. Canadian employers who do not have LMIAs are ineligible to hire Foreign Workers.

Before you can even apply for a Work Permit, your Canadian employer must give you the following documents:

  • a copy of the positive LMIA
  • an offer of employment or a copy of the employment contract

Application to work in Canada

In most cases, you will need to submit your biometric information as part of your application for a Work Permit.

Paper applications from the Philippines

You will need the following:

  • Download the instruction guide to help you prepare and submit your application for a Work Permit.
  • Document checklist for a Work Permit (IMM 5488)
  • Visa Office requirements for applicants in the Philippines
  • Application for Work Permit made outside Canada
  • Family Information Form (IMM 5707)
  • Visa application photograph specifications

You might also need the following:

  • Statutory declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM5409)
  • Use of a Representative (IMM5476)
  • Authority to release personal information to a designated individual (IMM5475)

Every applicant must fill out and sign their own individual applications. Applicants under 18 years old must have their applications signed by their parents or guardians.

Work Permit requirements

  • Family Information Form (IMM5707)
  • Original Philippine Passports (valid for a minimum of six months, must be valid for the duration of the employment contract)
  • Previous Philippine Passports, if available
  • copy of positive LMIA (must be valid on the date of submission) or Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (offer of employment ID number or IMM 5802)
  • Police clearances (for applicants over 18 years old, for every country where you lived for more than 6 months)
  • NBI Clearance (original copies, must be issued not more than 3 months prior to date of submission, with dry seal and applicant’s thumbprint). If your NBI Clearance has the following remarks: “NO CRIMINAL RECORD, NO PENDING CASE or RECORD AS STATED”, you must also submit a written explanation from the NBI explaining this remark, copies of all court documents regarding the decision or resolution of the court case, and a written explanation from the applicant regarding the incident leading up to the charges.

You may also need to submit the following to prove that you meet the requirements of the job offer and that you have the necessary educational and work experience:

  • Letters of Employment from previous employers detailing job and salary information
  • Payslips, proof of contribution to social insurance programs such as SSS as well as proof of payroll deposits
  • Proof of education, including transcripts, certificates and diplomas
  • Proof of professional qualifications
  • Proof of language proficiency, such as IELTS results

You’re not the only one who will need to submit documents. Your Canadian employer must also submit the following documents as well:

  • Notice of Assessment for the last 3 years from your Canadian employer and their spouse (if available), including the latest tax year
  • Letters of Employment from your Canadian employer and their spouse (if available)
  • Letter from your Canadian employer detailing the need for care, the person to be cared for, how the person is currently being cared for
  • Other supporting documents as required.

All documents from the Government of Canada are available online.

Philippine Government requirements

Aside from the Government of Canada requirements, both you and your Canadian employer must submit requirements to the Philippine Government.

Canadian employers must submit employment documents for verification and authentication to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office POLO which has jurisdiction over their province of employment.

OFWs must submit the necessary requirements to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office POLO to facilitate the issuance of an Exit Clearance.


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