Where Should You Apply for a Work Permit

23rd Sep 2019 Comments Off on Where Should You Apply for a Work Permit

Prospective temporary foreign workers in addition to deciding which work permit program they will apply to also need to decide how they will apply for their work permit.  There are generally two options.  The first is to apply either online or at a Visa Application Center to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) and wait for it to be approved before travelling to Canada.  The second is to submit the application to the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) when entering Canada.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.

The Initial Work Permit

Foreign nationals who need a temporary resident visa to visit Canada must submit their work permit applications either online or at a Visa Application Center before they travel to Canada.  However, those who do not require a temporary resident visa to visit Canada can apply in person at a port of entry.  There are many advantages to applying at a port of entry, and it is typically the preferred approach. First, while IRCC’s work permit processing times range from two weeks to several months, the CBSA will process work permits on the spot.  Second, many applicants prefer interacting face to face and speaking with the person who is adjudicating their application.  While IRCC will often simply refuse a work permit application because of missing or vague information, the CBSA will essentially interview the person to fill in the gaps.

There are, of course, disadvantages to applying for a work permit in person at a port of entry.  First, some people simply do not interview well, especially if English or French is not their first language.  Second, if CBSA refuses the work permit application, the person will likely be told that they have to go back to their country of origin, and be denied entry to Canada. 

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