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Canada Work Permit for Nigerians

Nigerian citizens who want to work in Canada will need to apply for a Canada Work Permit. The process of applying for a Canada Work Permit can be made simpler with IAS, and we can help you find out everything you need to know.

For further information about how to apply for a work permit, what is involved in the Canada Work Permit application process and how Nigerian nationals can successfully apply for a Canada Work Permit, get in contact with the legal advisors at IAS. Give us a call on our Lagos office on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 331630092, or contact us online

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    Are You Looking to Work in Canada?

    We have a proven track record of assisting numerous Nigerians in obtaining Canada worker permits. If you’re considering working in Canada and require guidance on how to get started, contact us for expert assistance. We can handle all the complexities and provide you with comprehensive support.

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    Overview of Canada Work Permits

    A Canada Work Permit allows foreign nationals to work in Canada. Unlike a Temporary Work Visa, a work permit is a document that provides a person the legal right to work in Canada and stay in Canada for an extended period of time.

    There are different types of work permits depending on the type of employment you have or are seeking, and there are also variations in the application process depending on the country you are from.

    However, there is a standard set of eligibility criteria which applies to anyone seeking a Canada Work Permit, regardless of where they are from.

    Who is Eligible for a Canada Work Permit?

    In order to get a Canada Work Permit, foreign workers from Nigeria will need to:

    • Not have a history of criminal activity, not be a threat to Canadian security and always obey the law in Canada
    • Be in good general health and, if required, have a medical examination
    • Provide evidence of where you will go when your work permit ends
    • Demonstrate that you are able to pay for yourself and your family (if applicable) during your stay in Canada and for you to return home
    • Not work for an employer who offers sexually explicit services such as escort services, erotic dances, erotic massages or stripteases
    • Not work for an employer which is registered on the Non-Compliant Employers list.
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    Types of Canada Work Permit

    Open Work Permit

    This work permit is suitable for Nigerians who want to work in Canada but do not have one specific employer or want to work for a range of employers whilst in Canada.

    Those applying for an open work permit will be allowed to work in Canada for any employer, provided they meet the requirements.

    You could be eligible for this type of permit if:

    • Want to work following your studies as an international student and have graduated from a designated learning institution in Canada and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit
    • Are an international student in Canada and are no longer able to meet the cost of your studies
    • Are at risk of being abused or are being abused by your employer on an employer-specific work permit
    • Are a partner or spouse of an international student
    • Are a dependent of a family member who has already applied for permanent residence in Canada
    • Are a partner, spouse or dependant of a skilled worker
    • Are a refugee, protected person, refugee claimant or family member of one of these
    • Hold a temporary resident permit, are under an unenforceable removal order or are participating in special programs as a young person
    • Are sponsored as a spouse, partner or dependent child and are in Canada

    This type of work permit does not require a LIMA or proof that an employer has submitted an offer of employment to you.

    Employer-Specific Work Permit

    Unlike open work permits, employer-specific work permits are for foreign workers who have an offer of employment by an eligible employer in Canada.

    Before you apply for the work permit for specific employers, you will need:

    • A copy of your employment contract and either:
    • A copy of the LIMA assessment conducted by your employer or
    • An offer of employment number (for LIMA-exemptions) which can be found via the Employer Portal

    You will need to provide the name and address of the employer on your application for the work permit and before applying.

    Do I Need a Work Permit to Work in Canada?

    In most situations, foreign workers will need a work permit in order to work in Canada. However, there are some exemptions to this depending on your qualifications and the type of employment.

    There is a list of jobs that do not require a Canada Work Permit under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

    If you are a skilled worker and want permanent residency in Canada, you might also be eligible for the Express Entry program.

    Are you a Nigerian looking to work in Canada? Reach out to us for expert assistance.

    How to Apply for a Work Permit in Canada

    Step 1: Labour Market Impact Assessment (LIMA)

    Depending on the type of worker you are and the work permit you require, foreign workers might need to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LIMA) in order to work in Canada.

    A LIMA is a test which assesses whether the job role you are fulfilling in Canada needs to be done by a foreign national or whether it is possible for a Canadian national to fulfill the role.

    If it is deemed that you are needed to do the job as no Canadians or permanent residents in Canada are available, then you will obtain a positive or neutral LIMA. If a Canadian resident is able to fill the role, then you will receive a negative LIMA.

    This is in order to ensure that domestic workers in Canada are able to find work and that employing foreign nationals does not harm Canadian residents.

    Who Files a LIMA and How Long Will It Take?

    A LIMA will be filed by the employer in Canada, and the process can take several weeks to complete.

    Once a positive or neutral LIMA is obtained by your employer, your employer should then send you a copy of the positive or neutral LIMA along with a job offer letter.

    This letter must include the job title and description, requirements for the job position, start and end dates, salary details and the employer name and address.
    You are then free to go on to apply for a work permit.

    What Is a LIMA Exempt Work Permit?

    Some foreign workers may not need a LIMA to work in Canada and can therefore directly apply for a LIMA-Exempt Work Permit. Employers who are eligible for LIMA-exemption can issue a Canadian work permit without a LIMA through the International Mobility Programme (IMP). LIMA Exempt Work Permits are available for:

    • Workers whose work is of interest of Canadians, either economically, socially or culturally
    • Workers whose employment is part of an agreement between Canada and Nigeria such as exchange programmes
    • Placements for international students to fulfill academic requirements (co-op placements)
    • The partners or spouses of some work/study permit holders who live in Canada
    • Charitable or religious work
    • The need for an individual to support themselves, such as a refugee claim
    • Some permanent resident applicants in Canada
    • Some workers and their dependents who are currently on employer-specific work permits and are at risk of or experiencing abuse

    If you want to apply for an open work permit, you will also not need a LIMA, as the work permit is not restricted to one specified employer in Canada.

    If you are unsure whether you need a LIMA for work in Canada, then contact our team on +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882 or online.

    Step 2: Submit Your Application for a Canadian Work Permit

    You can apply for a work permit online or on paper. All applications must be online unless you have a disability, are a seasonal agricultural worker or have a travel or identity document for non-national residents, refugees or stateless individuals.

    Open work permits and employer-specific permits for Canada can both be applied for using the above application form.

    Step 3: Interview and Work Permit Issued

    In some cases, an interview will be held at your local visa office in Nigeria, and you will be interviewed regarding your work permit application and Canadian job offer.

    If the officer is assured that the foreign worker is carrying out eligible work which will not negatively impact Canadian residents and their employment, then your permit to work in Canada will be approved.

    You will then be sent an introduction letter from the government of Canada which you will need to bring when you arrive at the airport. The Canadian work permit itself will then be issued to you at the point of entry by a Canadian Border Services Agency Officer and you can begin working in Canada.

    What Documents are Needed for a Canada Work Permit?

    The documents you will need for a permit to work in Canada are:

    • Proof of identity (e.g. passport or travel document that provide the right to return to Nigeria or the country which issued it)
    • Two photos of yourself as well as every family member that is accompanying you. Ensure that these meet the visa photograph specifications
    • Proof of employment in Canada in the form of a copy of the positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment or the offer of employment letter (in the case of LIMA-Exempt employers)
    • Proof of eligibility to do the job your work permit is for (e.g. a trade certificate, work experience outlined in a resume or educational requirements)
    • If working in Quebec: A copy of your Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC)
    • Proof of Relationship if you are a partner, family member or are bringing accompanying family members

    You might also need other documents such as a re-entry permit if you are not Nigerian but are applying for a Canada Work Permit from Nigeria.

    You should contact your local visa office in Nigeria to confirm any documents that you need for your Canadian work permit application to ensure that your application is accepted and you can begin working in Canada.

    Any document that is not in French or English must also have a translation accompanying it in English or French.

    How Much Does a Canadian Work Permit Cost?

    All Canadian work permits have a processing fee of $155 CAD per person. Open work permits also require a permit holder fee which is an additional $100 CAD per person. Therefore:

    • Employer-specific work permits cost a total of $155 CAD
    • Open work permits cost a total of $255 CAD

    The worker will need to pay the processing fee for a work permit and, if applying for an open work permit, then the permit holder fee also. Your employer is usually required to pay for the processing fee of the Labour Market Impact assessment (if needed) or the employer compliance fee if LIMA-exempt.

    You can pay your fees for a work permit online.

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    Our experienced immigration lawyers are able to make the process of obtaining your Canada work permit simple and straightforward

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    How Long Will My Canadian Work Permit Take to be Processed?

    The processing time of Canadian work permits can vary depending on the type of work permit, application method and a number of other factors including the amount of applications currently being processed.

    As a result, processing times can be anywhere between 2 weeks and 27 weeks, and Nigerian workers can expect to wait around 20 weeks for a Canadian work permit currently.

    How Can IAS Help?

    You can contact the IAS team for further information about Canadian Work Permits, for one to one advice on your application and for further information on working and living in Canada.

    We are experienced immigration lawyers who are able to make the process of working, studying and immigrating to another country simple and straightforward. We offer support in every stage of the application process, from providing information to advice on your individual case.

    We take on any case, no matter how complex, and take the stress out of applying by offering our expertise and guidance through the process.

    If you would like advice and guidance on applying for a work permit from Nigeria to work in Canada, give our team a call on +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882 or contact us online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    You will most likely need to give biometrics if you are a foreign worker who wants to work in Canada for any length of time.

    Biometrics are needed in order to confirm your identity, and they consist of your fingerprints and a photograph.

    You can give your biometrics at your local Visa Application Centre in Nigeria or via special collections methods denoted in the instruction sent to you when you complete your work permit application.

    You may not need to give biometrics if you have given them in the past for a work permit or visa and if they are still valid.

    There is a biometrics fee and in the majority of cases you will pay this alongside your application fee.

    The language requirements for a work permit in Canada will depend on the type of work you want to do.

    There are no standard language requirements for a work permit, only the requirement that you are able to carry out your job which may include speaking a specific language such as English or French to a certain degree.

    This will be assessed during the Labour Market Impact Assessment and for LIMA-exempt employers or foreign workers applying for an open work permit, language testing may be done at an interview.

    If you are applying for a Canada Work Permit and want your family members to come to Canada with you, they will need to apply for a work, study or visit permit Canada.

    You can all apply at the same time, and there are different options for family members depending on their relation to you as well as what they will be doing whilst in Canada.

    Your work permit may have conditions included such as the type of work you can carry out, where you can work, what employers you can work for and how long you can work in Canada.

    These conditions will all be available on your work permit, and you must abide by these conditions. If you want to remain in Canada for longer than your work permit states, then you can also apply for an extension or change to your conditions or begin the process of immigrating to Canada permanently.

    If you want to apply for permanent residency after you have been working in Canada on a work permit, then you might be eligible for a bridging open work permit.

    Most foreign workers will also need a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC) if you are working in Quebec. The QAC is issued by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI).

    This is due to the differing immigration agreement that Quebec has with the government of Canada and they also have their own Skilled Worker Programme.

    Your employer will need to contact the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) as well as the MIFI for permission to hire you as an employee. You will then need to sign the QAC before your employer sends it off to the MIFI

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