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Working in Canada: Everything You Need To Know

News & Blog

Canadian flag in front of view in Vancouver Downtown,British Columbia, Canada

Canada is a very attractive place to move to for people from all over the world. Its diversity, beautiful scenery, and variety of opportunities attracts thousands of Britons to move there every year. But if you want to move to Canada, it’s likely you are looking to work in Canada, too. Immigrating to Canada to work can be a complicated process, but GMS are here to help. This guide covers everything you need to know about Canadian immigration to work, from Canada express entry eligibility to applying for work permits.

GMS are experts on international relocations and removals. If you’re looking for advice, visit our International Moving Advice page or request a quote for our removal services today.

Skyline picture of Toronto, Canada, taken from one of many islands

Work permits

Whether or not your need to apply for a work permit will depend entirely on the circumstances of your job in Canada. The requirements for your work permit will also depend on where you are applying from i.e. outside of or inside Canada. Work permits are required if you are completing certain jobs in Canada, and you can find out if your specific job field will need a work permit on the Canadian Immigration website.

You can apply for a Canada work permit from outside Canada using the online or paper version of the application. This application will provide you with the opportunity to prove that you will leave Canada when your permit expires, you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family while in Canada, you pose no security threat to Canada, and to provide any other necessary documents for your Canada work permit.

To apply for a work permit, you will likely need at least 1 of the following documents:

  • A Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) number from your employer (if your job requires one).
  • Proof your employer has offered you employment through the Employer Portal.
  • Employment contract / letter (if employer is exempt from employer compliance process).
  • Proof of certification, accreditation, or qualification for you to work in your desired job.

It is also possible to apply for an Open Work Permit, which is a work permit that is not specific to a particular job. This will not require the employer-specific documentation but will still be a lengthy and competitive process.

Downtown city of Vancouver, Canada, combines city, mountains, and lakes

Canada Work Visa

When entering Canada for any purpose or length of time, it is vital that you acquire a visa. Visas are authorisations of your presence in another country for a specified purpose and period of time. For this reason, if you wish to work in Canada, there are particular visas that are suitable for your visiting purposes.

The Canada Visitor Visa is placed in your passport once you have proven that you meet the admission requirements to Canada. This will allow you to remain in Canada on a temporary basis as a visitor, a student, or as a worker. The Canada visitor visa allows most visitors a stay of 6 months in Canada. If you wish to remain in Canada for a longer period of time than is stated on your visa, you should apply for an extension at least 30 days prior to the end of your original authorised stay.

The IEC Working Holiday Visa in Canada program is another very popular method by which you can enter Canada to work. After becoming a candidate at any time, the International Experience Program (IEC) completes ‘draws’ at regular intervals. This involves a selection of random eligible applications and inviting these individuals to apply for a Canada work permit. To be eligible for the working holiday visa in Canada, you must meet the candidate requirements listed on the Canadian immigration website.

Canada Express Entry

Canada Express Entry is an online portal through which skilled workers can apply for faster immigration to Canada. There are 3 economic immigration programs that will grant Canada express entry, however, these are very competitive and the process is lengthy, requiring that you provide a range of documents. The Express Entry programs and what is needed for Canada Express Entry eligibility are detailed in our blog.

Beautiful scenery of mountains and lakes in Canada

Canada Work Culture

The culture around work is different in every country. Though there will be little in the way of a language barrier for British expats moving to Canada, there may still be some culture shocks at work.

One aspect of the Canadian workplace which may come as a surprise is the egalitarian culture they promote. Unlike the rather hierarchical nature of companies in the UK, Canadian workplaces tend to see every employee on the same level. This may lead to a lack of traditional ‘management’ for many people and a need for more self-motivation.

Another difference noted by many immigrants working in Canada is how indirectly feedback is communicated in the workplace. While Canadians are typically very direct in the way they communicate, feedback is one more confusing element of communication. The tendency to hide feedback in positive comments may lead to missing the improvement areas, so make sure to pay careful attention to your conversations at work.

The work-life balance in Canada is also a shock to many immigrants. While companies in Canada are aware of the concept of work-life balance, a report in 2009 from Health Canada indicated that around a quarter of Canadian employees in big companies experienced conflicts between work and personal life. In addition, around 58% of Canadian workers reported feeling overloaded as a result of work and personal commitments. You should be careful to set boundaries to avoid negative effects on your mental health as you enter new opportunities in Canada.

If you’re looking for more information on relocating to Canada, check out our Moving to Canada guide for Canada-specific details on international removals.

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