How to Work in Canada Without a Work Permit – New

Canada, Immigration

It is common knowledge that tourists or foreign nationals in Canada cannot work without a work permit. And the consequences of working without one can be extremely costly for both the erring worker and his employer. In addition, this can range from deportation from Canada to being denied the opportunity to apply for work permits. It can last over a period of 6 months and cause prohibition from returning to Canada.

This also includes possible fines and imprisonment for a minimum of 2 years for employers who are caught in the act of employing unauthorized workers. It is true that the practice of employing foreign nationals to work in restaurants or in construction occurs. However, the risks are not worth taking.

Who CAN Work Without a Work Permit?

On the other hand, there are exceptions to the rule – and we will go over all of them briefly.

  • Athletes or coaches

Foreign athletes, coaches, or staff of a foreign team competing in Canada do not require work permits.

  • Aviation accident or incident investigators

Accredit agents or employees working on aviation accidents or investigations do not require a work permit.

  • Business visitors

Business visitors who are in Canada to perform business-related activities without being part of the local job market do not require a work permit.

  • Civil aviation inspectors

Civil aviation inspectors monitoring flight operations or aircraft safety during international flights for commercial airlines do not require a work permit.

  • Clergy

Ordained ministers or laypersons of a particular religious order whose responsibilities include preaching, worship, or counseling do not require a work permit.

  • Convention organizers

International meeting or convention organizers do not require a work permit; however, organizers who work onsite or provide any sort of hands-on services during events must have work permits.

  • Crew members

Truck and bus drivers or shipping and airline workers do not require work permits for as long as they work on foreign-owned vehicles used to transport passengers and cargo internationally. The same is true for crew members who operate vehicles or serving passengers.

  • Emergency service providers

Emergency responders to threats such as natural disasters or industrial incidents do not require a work permit.

  • Examiners and evaluators

Academics or professors examining or heading academic projects, research, or theses for Canadian research organizations or schools do not require a work permit.

  • Expert witnesses or investigators

Individuals providing evidence to regulatory bodies, international tribunals, or courts of law do not require work permits.

  • A family member of foreign representatives

Spouses or children of foreign representatives do not require work permits. The same is true for family members with accreditation or a letter of no objection from Global Affairs Canada.

  • Foreign government officer or representatives

Employees of foreign governments working under exchange agreements between Canada and their country as well as diplomats of foreign countries or the UN do not require work permits.

  • Healthcare students

Healthcare students doing clerkships, training, or those having written approval to do so in certain provinces (as well as those training for less than 4 months) do not require work permits. It must be noted that some provinces do not need written approval.

  • Judges, referees or similar officials

Officials in international competitions or for cultural events including music, dance, animal shows, or contests do not require work permits.

  • Military personnel

Members of another country’s armed forces with orders to enter Canada under the Visiting Forces Act do not require a work permit.

  • News reporters or film and media crew

News reporters and their crew, or film and media crewmen who do not intend to enter the local job market, as well as journalists from foreign companies do not require work permits. The same is true for resident correspondents or management and rank and file staff who do not intend to stay for over 6 months.

  • Producers or staff members working on advertisements

Commercial/advertising shoots that are financed abroad employing producers, actors, directors, technicians, and staff do not need a work permit for up to 2 weeks.

  • Performing artists

Foreign artists and their support staff performing for a short period of time and not employed by the Canadian group contracting them (and those not involved in shooting film, television, or radio) do not require a work permit.

  • Public speakers

Public speakers performing at certain events do not require work permits for as long as the event is no longer than 5 days.

  • Short-term highly-skilled workers

Highly-skilled workers under the managerial and professional NOC skill types working for a maximum of 15 consecutive days every 6 months or a maximum of 30 consecutive days once a year do not require a work permit. However, temporary resident visas or electronic travel authorizations may be required.

  • Short-term researchers

Researchers working for public degree-granting institutions or affiliates thereof working for less than 120 days; and who have not worked under this exemption in the past 12 months do not require work permits. However, temporary resident visas or electronic travel authorizations may be required.

  • Students working off-campus

International full-time students may work off-campus without a work permit. They can work at a maximum of 20 hours per week during the academic year, and full-time during winter, spring or summer holidays do not require a work permit provided they have valid study permits, are full-time students, enrolled at a post-secondary designated learning institution, or otherwise studying in a program that leads to a degree, diploma, or certification of at least 6 months. A secondary level vocational program in Quebec which enrolls international students also does not require a work permit.

  • Students working on-campus

International full-time students working onsite in campus of the academic institutions do not require a work permit.


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