How Long Does it Take to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit?

How Long Does it Take to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit?

Canadian work permits are temporary resident visas issued to foreign workers by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. They are used to grant permission to work for foreign workers who have a job offer in Canada. Work permits are typically issued for one year, but this can depend on the type of permit issued and the duration of the work assignment or project. It may also be affected by the passport validity of the foreign worker.

Work permits are necessary in every province and territory in Canada, and additional permissions may be required for workers seeking employment in Quebec. Some exemptions exist in which these foreign workers would not have to obtain a work permit, but most standard jobs will require them. Work permits can lead to permanent resident status as long as the employment is skilled. Foreign workers seeking employment in Canada may also need to obtain an entry visa depending on where they currently live.

With certain exceptions, before a work permit can be applied for by a foreign worker, the Canadian employer making the job offer must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the federal human resources authorities. The purpose of the LMIA process is to demonstrate that there is no Canadian worker available for the employment position before the company hires a foreign worker, thereby protecting the Canadian labour market. Before an LMIA is applied for, the Canadian employer must advertise the position for a month to see if any Canadians are available to take the position. If the employer cannot find a Canadian, then the LMIA can be applied for. The human resources authorities typically take about two months to process an LMIA request once it is received. So between advertising and the LMIA process, there is about three months of processing.

Once the LMIA is approved, the foreign worker can apply for a work permit. Processing times for work permits can vary greatly depending on where they are submitted and the type of application. Applications submitted inside of Canada (extensions to already issued work permits) usually take about 38 days for a paper application and about 25 days for an online application, as of August 2014.

Processing times on applications submitted to visa offices outside of Canada depend greatly on where you are. Please see below for the average processing times (in months) for various countries around the world. Note that these are August 2014 numbers. The times are based on how long it took to process 80 percent of all cases between April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014, and are subject to change:

Africa and Middle East 
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates7
Accra, Ghana3
Algiers, Algeria
Amman, Jordan4
Ankara, Turkey3
Beirut, Lebanon2
Cairo, Egypt3
Dakar, Senegal3
Lagos, Nigeria6
Nairobi, Kenya5
Pretoria, South Africa5
Rabat, Morocco2
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia6
Tel Aviv, Israel5
Tunis, Tunisia2
Asia and Pacific 
Bangkok, Thailand4
Beijing, China3
Chandigarh, India20
Colombo, Sri Lanka4
Hi Chi Minh, Vietnam6
Hong Kong, China6
Islambad, Pakistan6
Jakarta, Indonesia3
Manila, Philippines7
New Delhi, India4
Shanghai, China4
Singapore, Singapore6
Sydney, Australia3
Bucharest, Romania4
Kyiv, Ukraine2
London, United Kingdom3
Moscow, Russia6
Paris, France1
Prague, Czech Republic2
Rome, Italy2
Vienna, Austria3
Warsaw, Poland2
Bogota, Columbia2
Buenos Aires, Argentina2
Guatemala City, Guatemala2
Havana, Cuba2
Kingston, Jamaica2
Lima, Peru3
Los Angeles, United States6
Mexico City, Mexico1
New York City, United States5
Port-au-Prince, Haiti2
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago1
Santiago, Chile3
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic3
Sao Paulo, Brazil2