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Working in Canada

As you will surely know as a potential expat, working in Canada has lost none of its pull in the past few decades. Prospects of an expat job lead many to the Great White North. The InterNations Guide offers you essential info on visas, social security, and professional skills needed in Canada!
Most people find work in Canada's services sector.

At a Glance:

  • Work permits are only given with a confirmed job offer.
  • The services sector tends to have the greatest number of good positions.
  • The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is vital for a work permit unless you transfer with your current company.
  • ‟Medicare” is Canada’s state-funded health insurance plan.


Working in the True North for one, two or five years is the dream of many adventurers and global minds worldwide. Some fulfill this dream on their own, as self-made expats. Others are sent by their companies to assume a position in Canada, be it as an engineer developing new extraction methods for oil and gas or as a transferee in the banking sector.

Being employed in Canada means participating in one of the world’s leading economies. The country offers a strong service sector, a good infrastructure for next-generation technology, as well as copious amounts of natural resources.  There are plenty of opportunities in Canada for expats with professional qualifications.

Entering Canada the Hard Way: Self-Made Expats

Being a self-made expat is not as straightforward as you may imagine. Permits are only issued for a confirmed job offer. Those with skills and professional experience in the service sector, especially telecommunications, finance and insurance, IT or high-tech, usually have the best chance of finding attractive positions.

All those who intend to work in Canada, no matter in what field, should be fluent in either English or French, depending on the province where they will be working: a job in Québec requires a good command of the French language.

Visa Requirements: There’s a Lot to Take Care Of

To be considered under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, your Canadian employer may have to apply for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to show that there is a need for a foreign worker and that there are no Canadian workers available to do the job. In this assessment, factors such as the availability of locals for the job and the economic benefit of your employment are taken into account.

If the LMIA is positive, nothing stands between you and your temporary work permit for Canada. Expats should keep in mind that a work permit is only valid for the specific position you have applied for: it is not a general permission for working in Canada. For more information on visa requirements, please read our article on moving to Canada.

The Simple Way: Intra-Company Transferees

If you merely transfer within your current company, the procedure becomes much easier. A “Labour Market Impact Assessment” is no longer required, and the process speeds up considerably. Intra-company transfers of this kind are possible for executive or management positions and workers with specialized skills.

Other possibilities for working in Canada include the Young Workers Program and the Work and Travel category. The latter gives young people between 18 and 35 the chance to discover Canada while working there for 12 months. Read more about the Young Workers Program on the next page.

Working in Order to Stay 

If you do not want to leave Canada behind after a couple of years, but would like to make the country your new permanent home, the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class are the categories you should look at.

Candidates are evaluated according to criteria such as education, professional experience, and language skills. Successful applicants have the chance to become permanent residents and start working in Canada.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Andrey Vasilyev

"When moving to a huge city such as Vancouver, InterNations made it easy for me to find fellow expats and the network that I needed."

Amarilis Castillo

"InterNations make networking in such a large city so much easier with their events and extensive information."

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