10 Key Things to Know about Work Permits

Canada welcomes around 500,000 immigrants yearly, making it one of the countries with the highest immigration rates per capita in the world. This results in thousands of people yearly taking the first steps in making Canada their new home. In this process, some people fall victim to financial scams.



Lately, there has been an increase in scams related to work permits. In many situations, newcomers have been misled into believing they qualify for a work permit and spend thousands of dollars for these services. In other cases, some share sensitive personal information.



With these scams becoming more common, knowing about them is the first step to stay safe, which is why we have made a list sharing 10 key things you should know about work permits in Canada.


1. A work permit allows you to work in Canada. You can apply for a work permit whether you’re outside or inside Canada. The process varies for each situation.

There are two main types of work permits: employer-specific and open. An employer-specific work permit limits you to working for a specific employer, while the Open Work Permit lets you work for anyone except certain ineligible employers. Your work permit will indicate clearly which occupations you won’t be allowed to pursue.

Want to know more about the process? Click here to visit the Government of Canada’s official page.


2. Individuals arriving under certain immigration categories need to apply for a work permit to work in Canada.

If you are arriving to Canada as a Refugee Claimant, or International Student, you need to apply for a work permit.  Permanent residents and those who acquire their Canadian Citizenship are not required to get one.

In many cases, you may apply for a work permit alongside your immigration/refugee application, and do not need to apply for it separately.


Not sure if you need a work permit? Find out by completing a survey provided by the government here.

3. If you’re already in Canada, you can apply to renew or get a new work permit if you meet any of these conditions:

  • You have a valid study or work permit.

  • Your spouse, common-law partner, or parents have a valid study or work permit.

  • You’re eligible for a post-graduation work permit with a valid study permit.

  • You’re waiting for a decision on an in-Canada permanent residence application.

  • You’ve made a refugee claim or been recognized as a refugee or protected person.

For more eligibility criteria, visit IRCC website here


4. You can apply for your work permit directly through the Government of Canada’s website; third-party representatives aren’t necessary.

If you need assistance, organizations like the Immigrants Working Centre in Hamilton can help with form filling or refer you to authorized representatives.


If you opt for securing the services of an Immigration Consultant, it’s important to always verify if the organization or person assisting you with your work permit is an authorized representative on the government website, here.


5. The work permit application has two fees:

a $100 Canadian dollar permit holder fee and a $155 Canadian dollar processing fee. But not everyone must pay for one or both; this will depend on your application type and migratory status. Check for fee exemptions before paying both fees.


Remember, there are no hidden or expedited processing fees.


Organizations like IWC provide support free-of-charge, without any fees for form completion or immigration services.


Find the list of all fees here


6. The government has established processing times for work permit applications, which can be checked online.

Beware of fraudulent offers that promise quicker processing times for additional fees or shorter waiting times than the timelines provided by official government sources.


Be cautious of promises that guarantee specific results simply because someone has insider connections.

Check processing times for your specific case within and outside of Canada here.


7. Do not share personal information and pay fees through phone calls, unsolicited emails, or personal bank accounts.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will not request money, missing fees, personal, or financial information through unsolicited calls, emails, or other unofficial sources. Do not click on any links or attachments from suspicious emails with these types of requests.


Always contact IRCC directly to confirm any information requirements or any communications that seem suspicious.


8. It’s important to recognize how scammers use misinformation to their advantage. Always verify news or suspicious offers directly with official organizations before acting.

Research, stay informed, and verify information before sharing or paying any fees.

For detailed work permit information and scam prevention, visit the IRCC website. For specific inquiries, use the online form to inquire about programs and services, including working in Canada, here.


9. Report any suspicious, fraudulent, or misleading activities.

For detailed instructions on how to report scams based on specific situations, visit the government page here. 


10.There are free resources available for newcomers in Canada, offering immigration-related services, including work permit assistance.

Find official free services in your area here.


If you need guidance with your work permit, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

If we can’t assist you directly, we’ll gladly refer you to another organization that can assist with your specific case.


The Immigrants Working Centre is a non-profit organization that serves permanent residents, refugees, refugee claimants, convention refugees and protected persons. All our services are free of charge. If you are a visitor to Canada, international student, or temporary resident, other organizations and representatives are available to support you and your needs.