Most travellers to Canada were not able to apply for a work permit at a Canadian port of entry (POE) during the pandemic because of the travel restrictions that have been in place. However, they are now able to do so, provided they meet certain requirements.
Foreign nationals who are allowed to travel to Canada may make the application. This includes fully vaccinated individuals as well as immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. It may also include those who have a valid job offer in Canada.
Any foreign national may be allowed to apply for a work permit at a POE, including those who are not vaccinated. It is important to note, however, that vaccinated individuals are more likely to be exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions.
Temporary foreign workers are generally required to get their work permit before travelling to Canada. You are allowed to apply for one at a POE if you have a job offer in Canada, will not be working as a live-in caregiver or as a seasonal agricultural worker, and meet one of the following requirements:
- If you do not need to get a temporary resident visa to work in Canada.
This includes if your job is part of the International Mobility Program (IMP). This program allows employers to hire foreign nationals without needing to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA is a document that shows that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to perform the duties of the job.
- If you are a national or permanent resident of the U.S., Greenland or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
Nationals or permanent residents of these countries or territories may be allowed to apply for a work permit at a POE whether their job is part of the TFWP or the IMP.
What documents do I need at the port of entry?
If your job falls within the TFWP, and you need to get an LMIA, then you need to have the following documents when you are at the Canadian border:
- Your job offer;
- A copy of the LMIA and your LMIA number;
- Proof that you are able to perform the duties of the job, such as your qualifications and/or proof of experience.
If you are looking to work in Quebec, then you may also need to have a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ).
If your job is part of the IMP, and you do not need to get an LMIA, then you should have the following documents with you at the border:
- Your job offer;
- The offer of employment number from your employer;
- Proof that you do not need an LMIA;
- Proof that you are able to perform the duties of the job, such as you qualifications and/or proof of experience.
If you do not need an LMIA and you are looking to work in Quebec, you will not need to have a CAQ.
In addition, if your work permit expired while you were outside Canada, you may also be allowed to apply for a work permit at a POE if you are eligible. You will be required to show the immigration officer that you meet the requirements for the category you are applying for.
It is advisable to check whether you are eligible to enter Canada before heading to the Canadian border.
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