Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Q. I’m trying to obtain information on how to get a work permit and the time it takes to have one issued. I currently have a work permit but it will expire soon. What type of documents do I need and is it possible to apply for the visa in the USA. Does it matter the type of work that is being offered?

A. Your letter raises many issues involving work permits. It can certainly be complicated depending on one’s status and depending on the job offer. I will endeavour to cover all areas.

The first point to note is that work permits all start with an offer of employment. An applicant cannot apply for an open work permit (unless in specific scenarios outside the scope of this discussion) and therefore a working visa is employer specific.

Second, the type of work being offered is important. If a person is being offered work as a caregiver, then it is possible to obtain a work permit in a matter of months in the USA. It is important to note that in order to be within the live in caregiver program, a person’s initial work permit can only be issued from a Canadian Consulate of Embassy outside of Canada. In other words, work permits that are first issued inside Canada as housekeepers or caregivers ARE NOT considered valid under live in caregiver eligibility criteria. The applicant is able to work but time spent working does not count towards the program.

If a work permit is not in the position of care giving, the applicant must make sure that all regulatory requirements are met and that a Labour Market Opinion is obtained. While a caregiver application also requires an LMO, the requirements in advertising and wages depend on the specific position offered.

The processing times for most work permits is about two months and in many cases do not require an interview.

Once a work permit is obtained, it is possible to renew the work permit from inside of Canada. It is important to remember that it is possible to work in Canada and to simultaneously apply for permanent residence as long as one qualifies as a skilled worker.

Q. I’m writing to you from Saudi Arabia. I have been in Jeddah for over five years working as an x-ray technician. Before I arrived, I filed an annulment but it has not been finalized. My understanding is that when a person applies for permanent residence they must include all dependants. I still have a spouse but we have been separated for many years. How do I exclude my spouse? Can I send my application alone?

A. Be careful not to misrepresent yourself. Do not lie on the application because it will come back to haunt you and which may result in removal proceedings (even if you are a permanent resident). Therefore, you need to make a decision. Either you include spouse on application (as a non-accompanying spouse – no fee is paid) or you exclude him. If you include him you need to add his signed application forms. If you exclude him, you will need to produce a death certificate, or divorce certificate of annulment. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground. In other words, you cannot omit spouse from application and just say you’re just separated.

Q. What type of jobs and professions are open in Canada now? How long does it take to process an application?

A. Despite several false ads that “guarantee visas in six months”, the reality is that it takes about one year on average to process applications. The types of professions that are in high demand in Canada are:
Licensed practical nurses, pharmacists, dentists, doctors, cooks, certified nursing assistants, physical therapists and architects.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions to Attorney Moyal by phone 416 733 3193 or email