A work permit, which is a legal document permitting a foreign person to engage in employment and receive pay from a Canadian employer, is necessary for the majority of foreign nationals who seek to work in Canada. A foreign individual may, nevertheless, work in Canada without a work permit under some exceptional circumstances.
Types of jobs in Canada that DO NOT require a Work Permit
The following types of jobs may not require a work permit for foreign nationals to engage in Canadian employment. It is pertinent to note that simple inclusion on this list does not mean that a person will be eligible for a work permit exemption. In order to qualify for a work permit exemption, a person’s job must be on this list and they must meet the additional exemption criteria for their specific job as outlined on the International Mobility Program webpage.
A foreign citizen may be eligible for a work permit exemption if they are under employment in one of these positions.
Athlete or coach
If you are a foreign national competing in Canada as part of a foreign athletic team, you may be exempted from the need for a work permit. Athletes, coaches, and other members of foreign teams are covered under this rule. A work permit is required if you are part of a Canadian team.
Aviation accident or incident investigator
If you have been accredited as an agent or adviser to investigate aviation accidents and/or other occurrences, you may not need a work permit to conduct such investigations in Canada. To qualify for the exemption, the investigation must be under Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.
Foreign nationals who go to Canada for business purposes but do not enter the Canadian labour market are known as business visitors. If you satisfy the description of a business visitor, you may not need a work permit in Canada.
Note that there is a distinction between a business visitor and a business person; make sure you meet the definition to be eligible for the exemption.
Civil aviation inspector
You may be eligible for a work visa exemption if you are employed to check the flight operations and cabin safety of international flights passing through Canada.
You may be eligible for a work permit exemption if you plan or conduct international conventions or gatherings. Please note that this exemption only applies to organisers; anyone offering hands-on services (such as audio-visual services) during such conventions must have the proper work permission.
You may be eligible for a work permit exemption if you are a foreign national who works as a truck driver, bus driver, shipper or airline employee. To be eligible for the exemption, your job must meet two criteria:
- You must be working on vehicles that are owned and registered by businesses outside of Canada and are used to transport merchandise and/or passengers across international borders; and
- Your duties must involve the operation of vehicles and/or the serving of food.
Emergency service provider
If you are a foreign national who will be working in Canada to provide services during an emergency, you may qualify for a work permit exemption. Your services must be to help preserve life and/or property in Canada. Emergencies include both natural disasters, like fires or floods, as well as industrial accidents which threaten the environment.
Examiner and evaluator
If you are a foreign national who is a professor or academic expert, you may be eligible for a work permit exemption to undertake certain types of activities in Canada. These activities include the evaluation and/or supervision of academic projects, research proposals, and theses. You may be on employment by a Canadian educational institution or a Canadian research group.
Expert witness or investigator
If you are working in Canada to provide evidence before a regulatory body, a tribunal, or a court of law, you may be eligible for a work permit exemption.
Family member of foreign representative
If you are the spouse or child or a foreign representative, you may be eligible for a Canadian work permit exemptions. In order to qualify, you must meet the following conditions:
- You must be accredited by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) including a GAC counterfoil in your passport.
- You must have a letter of no objection issued by GAC. This letter is normally only issued if a reciprocal employment agreement exists between Canada and another country.
Foreign government officer or representative
You may qualify for a work permit exemption if you meet any of the three following conditions:
- You are an employee of a foreign government working under an exchange agreement which allows officials to work in governments in your country and in Canada.
- You are a foreign diplomat or official representative of another country.
- You are a foreign diplomat or official representative of the United Nations.
Employees of other governments must obtain an official letter if they will be employed in Canada for longer than 3 months.
Health care student
If you are a foreign national who is studying in a healthcare field in Canada and wishes to undertake employment as part of a training program, you may be eligible for a work permit exemption. In order to qualify for the exemption, you must meet the four following conditions:
- You must be participating in clinical clerkships.
- The main goal of your employment is for training purposes.
- You must have written approval from the provincial regulatory body which regulates your profession (please note that not all provinces require this).
- Your training must last less than 4 months.
If you do not meet all of these conditions, you will require a work permit.
Judge, referee or similar official
If you are a foreign national travelling to Canada to judge or be an official at an international amateur competition, you may qualify for a work permit exemption. These following types of events are eligible for this exemption:
- Music and dance festivals.
- Animal shows.
- Agricultural contests.
If you are a member of the armed forces of another country you may be eligible for a work permit exemption in Canada. To qualify for this exemption, you must have movement orders stating that you are entering Canada under the Visiting Forces Act.
News reporter or film and media crew
If you are a foreign national working in Canada as a news reporter or on a film and media crew, you may qualify for a work permit exemption. To qualify you must meet one of the following conditions:
- You must be a news reporter or a member of a news reporter’s crew.
- You must be a member of a film or media crew who will not enter the Canadian labour market.
- You must be a journalist who works for a print, radio, television, or web-based publication which is not Canadian.
- You must be a resident correspondent.
- You must be a manager or clerical staff member of an event of less than 6 months duration.
Producer or staff member working on advertisements
If you are entering Canada to work on a foreign-financed commercial/advertising shoot for television, magazines, or other media, you may qualify for a work permit exemption. In order to qualify, you must have one of the following roles:
- Film producer
- Other essential personnel
This exemption only applies to short term employment, usually lasting no more than 2 weeks.
Certain foreign performing artists are eligible to work in Canada without a work permit. In order to qualify for this exemption, the foreign national must meet several requirements:
- You are the foreign artist or the artist’s key support staff.
- You will perform in Canada for a limited period of time.
- You will not be hired for ongoing Canadian employment by the group which contracted you.
- You will not be among in creating a broadcast for television, radio, or film.
If you are a foreign national who is a guest speaker, a commercial speaker, or a seminar leader you may qualify for a work permit exemption. Only speakers at events lasting no longer than 5 days are eligible for this exemption.
Short-term highly-skilled worker
High-skilled workers may be eligible to work in Canada for short-term periods provided that a certain amount of time passes between each exemption. Under the terms for the short-term work permit exemption, foreign nationals working at NOC Skill Level 0 or A may be exempt from requiring a work permit for a short period of work in Canada. Under the conditions for the short-term work permit exemption, the worker must be coming:
- To perform work for 15 consecutive calendar days or less and six months have passed since the first day of work under the previous use of this exemption; or
- To perform work for 30 calendar days or less and 12 months have passed since the first day of work under the previous use of this exemption
As the short-term work permit exemption is to facilitate the work of foreign nationals residing outside of Canada, those residing within Canada are not eligible to apply for this exemption.
Some foreign nationals travelling to Canada to undertake short-term research may be eligible for a work permit exemption. This exemption only applies if the researcher meets the following conditions:
- Must be undertaking research at a public degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution
- Must be working for 120 or fewer consecutive days
- Must not have utilized this exemption within the previous 12 months.
To immigrate to Canada, you don’t need a work permit for the jobs listed above. There are numerous other jobs that do not require. If you want to live in Canada permanently, I recommend reading our article Apply for Canadian citizenship. If you have any questions on jobs for immigrants or anything else related, please use our comment area; I’ll be happy to respond as soon as possible.