How to Change From Visitor Visa to Work Permit in Canada

In recent years, Canada has become a hotspot for visitors in with the number of visitors that comes into Canada rapidly on the rise.

And somehow, you got to see the beauty of Canada up close through a visitor visa, and now you’re thinking about extending your stay by switching to a work permit?

Well, a hearty congratulations to you because you are in the right place.

In this article, we’re going to explore the process of changing from a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada, a topic that as important as it is could potentially open up a new world of opportunities for you.

Let us start by acknowledging the importance of understanding this whole process.

Dealing with immigration and permits can feel overwhelming and daunting but having a clear grasp of how to go about it can make all the difference in your experience.

It’s not just about the paperwork and legal formalities, it’s about ensuring that you can continue to enjoy this fascinating country, build meaningful connections, and maybe even secure a dream job opportunity.

Plus, having the right work permit means you can stay in Canada for a longer period of time and reel in the culture and lifestyle.

So, understanding the process is all you need to discover a whole new chapter of your Canadian adventure.

This article will break down everything you need to know about transitioning from a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada.

By the end, you’ll feel empowered and equipped with the knowledge to confidently take on the next steps towards making your Canadian dreams come to reality.

What You Need to Know About Visitor Visas and Work Permits in Canada

Setting your foot in Canada, especially with a visitor visa, allows you to see and feel the wonders of Canada from a visitor’s point of view.

This type of visa is fantastic for experiencing the country’s natural beauty, diverse culture, and friendly people.

However, if you’ve decided that you want to extend your stay and work in Canada, you’ll need to change from your visitor status to a work permit.

Now, work permits in Canada come in various forms, each designed to accommodate specific situations and conditions.

For example, you’ve got the Open Work Permit, which, as the name suggests, allows you to work for any employer in Canada without needing a confirmed job offer.

This type of permit can be a great option for individuals who want the flexibility to explore different job opportunities.

While on the other hand, there are Employer-Specific Work Permits, which tie you to a particular employer and job for a set period.

This type is the best if you have a specific job offer from a Canadian employer.

There are also International Experience Canada (IEC) Work Permits, designed for young individuals from certain countries who want to gain valuable work experience in Canada.

And the last but definitely not the least is the Post-Graduation Work Permit, which allows international students who have graduated from eligible Canadian institutions to work in Canada.

So, as you can see, the types of work permits in Canada are quite different, and each type serves different purposes and has its own eligibility requirements.

Knowing the distinctions between these permits will play a major role in determining the right path for your stay and work aspirations in Canada.

Eligibility Criteria for Changing from Visitor Visa to Work Permit

Changing from a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada is an exciting option, but it’s essential to understand the factors and requirements that can affect your ability to make this change.

Firstly, your eligibility depends on various aspects, such as the type of work you intend to do, your current immigration status, and whether you meet the necessary criteria for a work permit.

Factors such as your health, criminal history, and compliance with previous visa conditions will all be looked into.

Additionally, if you’ve been one step ahead and have already started working in Canada under your visitor status and you now want to continue working, the specifics of your previous employment will also be taken into consideration.

In terms of documents, you’ll generally need to provide a valid job offer from a Canadian employer, as well as proof of your ability to support yourself during your stay in Canada.

Supporting documents could include your passport, evidence of your ties to your home country, and any additional documents specific to the type of work permit you’re applying for.

Eligibility criteria can vary depending on the specific work permit you’re going for, so it’s very important to thoroughly review the requirements to make sure that you’re on the right track.

It’s also worth mentioning that seeking professional guidance and assistance can greatly assist you in navigating the eligibility criteria and documentation process, helping to ensure your application is as strong as possible.

Step-by-Step Process of Changing from Visitor Visa to Work Permit

Changing from a visitor visa to a work permit involves a series of steps and meticulous attention to detail.

Here’s a detailed explanation of the typical application process and how to go through the various forms and applications required:

  • Determine Eligibility: The first step to take is to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for the specific type of work permit you’re seeking. Factors such as the nature of your job offer, your qualifications, and your current immigration status will all play a significant part.


  • Get a Job Offer: Secure a valid job offer from a Canadian employer. This offer will need to align with the requirements for a work permit and must be accompanied by necessary documentation, such as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if applicable.


  • Gather All The Required Documents: Gather the necessary documents for your application, including your passport, proof of financial support, police clearance certificates, and any specific forms or supporting materials based on the particular work permit category you’re applying for.


  • Completing Forms and Applications: Completing the application forms accurately and comprehensively is vital. This includes the IMM 1295 application form for a work permit and any additional forms or supporting documents based on your situation. Filling these forms can be complex, so it’s crucial to pay close attention to detail and seek assistance if needed.


  • Submitting the Application: Once you’ve compiled all the required documents and completed the appropriate forms, you’ll need to submit your application to the designated Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office or visa application center, whether online or in person.


  • Biometrics and Processing: If necessary, you may be required to provide biometrics as part of the application process. Following submission, your application will undergo processing, during which the authorities will review your eligibility and the completeness of your application.


  • Await a Decision: After your application is submitted, the waiting period begins. This is the time during which the immigration authorities will assess your application, which may include additional interviews or requests for further documentation.


  • Work Permit Issuance: If your application is successful, you will be issued a work permit, enabling you to legally work in Canada. Be sure to review the permit to ensure all the details are accurate and align with your job offer.

Possible Challenges and How to Overcome Them

When changing from a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada, there are certain general challenges that individuals commonly encounter.

Below are some of them, alongside suggested tips and solutions for overcoming these challenges:

  • Job Offer Requirements: Securing a valid job offer that meets the requirements for a work permit can be challenging, particularly if the occupation is subject to labour market conditions. A suggested solution is to thoroughly research the labour market and identify industries with a high demand for skilled workers. Networking and reaching out to potential employers can also increase your chances of finding suitable employment.


  • Eligibility Criteria: Meeting the eligibility criteria for a work permit, including proving your qualifications and experience, can be a hurdle for some individuals. A suggested tip is to seek guidance from immigration professionals or legal advisors who can help assess your qualifications and provide insights into meeting the criteria.


  • Completing Application Forms: Navigating the various application forms and documents required for a work permit application can be overwhelming, especially for those unfamiliar with the process. A recommended solution is to utilise resources such as IRCC’s official website, where detailed instructions and guides for each form are provided. In addition, consider seeking assistance from immigration consultants or lawyers who specialise in work permit applications.


  • Financial Support: Providing evidence of sufficient financial resources to support yourself during your stay in Canada is a common challenge. Recommended solutions include keeping thorough financial records and preparing a detailed budget can demonstrate your ability to support yourself. If applicable, you can also explore sponsorship or alternative financial support options.


  • Document Verification: Ensuring that all required documents are accurate and verifiable can be a significant challenge, especially for individuals with complex work histories or international qualifications. To solve this challenge, take the time to gather all necessary documents well in advance, and consider having your qualifications assessed by a designated organisation to demonstrate their equivalency in Canada.


  • Language Proficiency: For certain work permit applications, language proficiency may be required. Demonstrating proficiency in English or French can be challenging for some applicants. A suggested tip is to dedicate time to language learning and consider taking language proficiency tests to provide evidence of your skills. There are also language programs and resources available to support your language development.


  • Legal and Procedure Difficulty: Understanding the legal and procedural aspects of the application process can be challenging, particularly for those unfamiliar with Canadian immigration laws. A solution is to seek the guidance of an immigration professional or advisor who can provide clarity on the legal complexities and help navigate the procedural requirements effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the process for changing from a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada?

A: The process usually involves securing a valid job offer, meeting eligibility criteria, gathering required documents, completing application forms, submitting the application, and awaiting a decision from immigration authorities.

Q: Can I work in Canada while my work permit application is being processed?

A: In some cases, you may be eligible for a bridging open work permit that allows you to work in Canada while your application for a new work permit is being processed.

Q: How long does it take to process a work permit application?

A: Processing times for work permit applications can differ based on various factors, so it’s important to check the current processing times on the official government website.

Q: Can I apply for permanent residency while on a work permit in Canada?

A: Yes, it’s possible to apply for permanent residency while on a work permit, and certain work experience may contribute to eligibility for permanent residency programs.

Q: Can I extend my work permit in Canada?

A: Should you wish to continue working in Canada after your initial work permit expires, you may be eligible to apply for a work permit extension, provided you meet the necessary criteria.

Q: Are there any age restrictions for obtaining a work permit in Canada?

A: In most cases, there are no specific age restrictions for obtaining a work permit in Canada, but eligibility criteria may vary based on the type of work permit being sought.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we’ve covered the necessary steps and factors to consider when changing from a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada.

However, it’s important to remember that this process can be complex, and seeking professional guidance and assistance can be incredibly beneficial even though you can do it on your own.

Changing your immigration status is a significant undertaking, but it’s also a great opportunity to pursue your career goals and broaden your horizons.

Also remember that you’re not alone in this process. There are resources and support available to help you go through the entirety of the process.

Stay positive, stay informed, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

With this positive note, our readers are encouraged to take the necessary steps to sort through their work permit options in Canada.

By staying informed and seeking support as needed, you can position yourself for success in your quest to convert your visitor visa to a work permit.