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Temporary Visas for visitors, workers and students to Canada


Every year, over 150,000 foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily in jobs that help Canadian employers address skill shortages, or to work as live-in caregivers.

A foreign individual who intends to work in Canada is required to possess sufficient authorization to legally do so. This authorization may be obtained in different ways, and often requires advanced approval from Service Canada prior to entering Canada for work. Such a process is complex and CARO Global Immigration Services will provide you with answers about Canadian immigration policy and supply the expertise necessary to efficiently obtain a Work Permit or Business Visitor Visa. CARO Global Immigration Services will guide you to find out if you need a work permit or if you are in a special category where a work permit may not be necessary or is approved differently.

There are many categories by which a foreign worker can seek a work permit in Canada. However, these usually fall within one of several general classifications that can be used to better understand the procedures. These are:

  • International Treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), or the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
  • Certain professionals, traders, investors and business people entering under regulation do not need a labour market opinion from Service Canada.
  • Certain circumstances in which there is evidence of a Significant Benefit to Canada, also foreign workers may be eligible for a Canadian work permit in the absence of Service Canada confirmation of a job offer on the basis of demonstrated benefit to Canada as a result of their employment. These provisions are generally applicable in such cases as the foreign worker would:
  • Create or maintain significant social, cultural, or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents;
  • Create or maintain reciprocal employment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada in other countries;
  • Be engaged in work that is designated by the Minister as being work that can be performed by a foreign national on the basis of the following criteria:
  • Work related to a research, educational or training program, or
  • Limited access to the Canadian labour market is necessary for reasons of public policy relating to the competitiveness of Canada’s academic institutions or economy;
  • is of a religious or charitable nature.


    More than 90,000 students come to study in Canada every year. Foreign students bring a rich culture to our classrooms. Your knowledge and skills are welcome in our schools.

    Student Authorization is a resident temporary visa issued by an immigration officer that allows, after admittance, to remain in Canada to take an academic, professional or vocational training course at an approved university, college or institution.

    Most foreign students will need a Study Permit to study in Canada. You must complete the course or program within the period authorized for your stay in Canada.

    To be eligible to study in Canada

  • You must have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada.
  • You must prove that you have enough money to pay for your: tuition fees living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada and return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
  • You must be a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and not be a risk to the security of Canada. You may have to provide a police certificate.
  • You must be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary.
  • You must satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada when you have completed your studies.
  • It is possible to work in Canada while you are here as a student, and there are opportunities for jobs on and off campus. You will need to apply.


    Students can work at the institution where they study without a work permit if: you are a full-time student at a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university, or a collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec; a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify) or a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees and you have a valid study permit.


    Foreign students studying in Canada can now apply for off-campus work permits. On April 27, 2006, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced that foreign students in Canada can work off campus if they meet certain eligibility requirements. CIC is now accepting applications for work permits under the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.


    For some academic programs, work experience is part of the curriculum. Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit. To be eligible for a work permit, you must meet the following conditions: You must have a valid study permit. Your intended employment must be an essential part of your program of study in Canada. Your employment must be part of your academic program, certified by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution. Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50 percent of the total program of study.


    Your spouse or common-law partner may apply for a work permit if you are a full-time student at: a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university or collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec, a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently, only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify) or a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees ,you have a valid study permit or, you have a valid work permit.


    Visitor Visa

    Every year more than 35 million people visit Canada. As a visitor with a Resident Temporary Visa, you will enjoy the many opportunities Canada has to offer.

    To visit Canada you:

  • must be healthy. You might need a doctor’s examination;
  • must respect Canadian laws;
  • will need a valid passport, proof of who you are or other travel documents;
  • and may need a letter of invitation:

  • Many people do not require a visa to visit Canada. These include:

  • citizens of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (National Passport holders only), Italy, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Latvia (Republic of), Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, United States, and Western Samoa;
  • persons lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who are in possession of their alien registration card (Green card) or can provide other evidence of permanent residence;
  • British citizens and British Overseas Citizens who are re-admissible to the United Kingdom;
  • citizens of British dependent territories who derive their citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands;
  • persons holding a British National (Overseas) Passport issued by the Government of the United Kingdom to persons born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong;
  • British subjects who hold a passport issued by the United Kingdom and who have the “right of abode” there
  • persons holding a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China;
  • persons holding passports or travel documents issued by the Holy See;
  • persons holding an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes their personal identification number.
  • Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors. Make sure you have health insurance to pay your medical costs before you leave for Canada.


    Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents have a new option for visiting Canada. As of December 1, 2011, you may be eligible to apply for the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa and enjoy visiting your family in Canada for up to two years without the need to renew your status.

    To apply for the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, you must:

  • be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
  • be found admissible to Canada; and
  • meet certain other conditions.
  • NOTE: You cannot include dependants in this application. Only your spouse or common-law partner is eligible to accompany you under this provision.

    Visa officers consider several factors before deciding if a person is admissible. The person must be a genuine visitor to Canada who will leave by choice at the end of the visit. Among the things that could be considered are:

  • the person’s ties to the home country;
  • the purpose of the visit;
  • the person’s family and financial situation;
  • the overall economic and political stability of the home country; and
  • an invitation from a Canadian host.

  • In addition to being found admissible to Canada, the parent or grandparent must also:

  • provide a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada who meets a minimum income threshold
  • prove that they have bought Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year; and
  • Complete an Immigration Medical Examination if the parent or grandparent is staying for more than six months.


    The Live-in Caregiver Program brings qualified caregivers to Canada in situations where there are no Canadians or permanent residents to fill available positions. Live-in caregivers are individuals who are qualified to work without supervision in a private household providing care for children, the elderly or people with disabilities. The live-in caregiver must live in the employer’s home.

    Both the employer and the employee must follow several steps to meet the requirements of the Live-In Caregiver Program.


    In order to qualify under the Live-in Caregiver Program, candidates must meet four main requirements:

    They must have successfully completed a course of study that is equivalent to a Canadian secondary school diploma.

    They must have completed 6 months of full-time training in a classroom setting or 12 months of full-time paid employment (including at least 6 months of continuous employment with one employer) in a field or occupation related to the job they are seeking as a live-in caregiver. This experience must have been obtained within the three years immediately prior to the day on which they submit an application for a work permit.

    They must have the ability to speak, read and understand either English or French at a level sufficient to communicate independently.

    They must have a written employment contract with their future employer.

    A foreign national who wishes to work in Canada as a live-in caregiver must apply for a Work Permit before seeking entry to Canada.


  • have made a sufficient effort to first fill your position with a Canadian, a permanent resident or a foreign worker already in Canada;
  • have sufficient income to pay a live-in caregiver;
  • provide acceptable accommodation in your home;
  • make a job offer that has primary caregiving duties for a child or an elderly or disabled person (a job offer with the primary duties of a housecleaner, for example, is not acceptable under the Live-in Caregiver Program, but could be appropriate under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program); and
  • submit an application for a Labour Marketo Opinion (LMO) with the employment contract to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada (HRSDC/SC).


    If you intend to work in the province of Quebec, you must obtain a certificat de acceptation du Quebec before a work permit can be issued.

    Temporary foreign workers are extremely important to Québec. For Québec employers, these workers represent an added value since, more often than not, their skills are acknowledged to be in short supply.