How to Secure a Work Visa for Canada

By Giselle Berge
Canada's stunning natural scenery is a draw for would-be expats.
Lake O'Hara, Yoho, Canada image by Oren Sarid from Fotolia.com

With its clean cities, breathtaking scenery and world-class winter sports, it is easy to understand Canada's allure over would-be expats. According to 2007 Canadian census data, nearly 20 percent of Canada's citizens are foreign-born, with 2 million people arriving in the past 10 years alone. However, if you intend to live and work in Canada, even temporarily, a work permit is mandatory. Before you even begin your job search, an understanding of the visa application process is crucial.

Choose the work visa--either a temporary work visa or a Canadian skilled worker visa--that best fits your goals and professional skills. A Canadian skilled worker visa differs from a temporary work visa in that it permits you to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident without the need of an employer or sponsor. Holders of Canadian skilled worker visas are able to seek employment and apply for jobs following the same procedures as resident workers. Log on to the Canadian government's Citizen and Immigration page for additional information.

Research the requirements to apply for a work visa. The majority of positions require a written job offer from an employer, proof of a positive labor market opinion and a diploma or proof of work experience. Canadian skilled worker visas have additional educational and professional requirements, and also consider an applicant's French-language ability. Additional requirements can include a medical exam or criminal background check. There are also special requirements for workers intending to work in Quebec.

Obtain the necessary visa application package from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website or from the nearest Canadian visa office in your home country. Fill out all materials in the application package and gather all necessary additional paperwork. Failure to fill out the entire application and submit all supplemental paperwork can result in the delay or cancellation of your work visa application.

Gather the required personal identification, which includes a valid passport or travel document from your country of origin and six photographs of yourself. You also must furnish six photographs of any family members that intend to accompany you to Canada. If you have already secured employment in Canada, collect a copy of your job offer or your contract with your future Canadian employer.

Appear at your nearest Canadian visa office. While the application and paperwork can be submitted in-person or through the mail, submitting the materials in-person typically results in shorter processing times. In addition, specific concerns can be more efficiently addressed during an in-person visit. Submit the application and paperwork, along with the correct application fee and any other necessary materials, to the visa office. The Canadian visa office will return incomplete applications, so make sure all the requirements are fulfilled before submitting your application.

Present the letter you received from the Canadian visa office to the Canadian Port-of-Entry. Canadian border services will issue your temporary work visa.

About the Author

Giselle Berge has written professionally since 2003 and for Demand Studios since 2009, with numerous articles published on eHow. She specializes in travel, living and investing abroad and natural health and beauty. She received a Certifcat de Langue Fran├žaise from Paris-Sorbonne IV in 2005, and also studied in Italy at the Universita' per Stranieri di Perugia.