Want to apply for a job in Canada? Here’s how!

Want to apply for a job in Canada? Here’s how!

by Andrea Byaruhanga

Updated November 7, 2022

“A new job is like a blank book and you are the author.” – Unknown

Getting a new job can be both scary and exciting – it’s a new start that’s full of possibilities. But when you want to work in another country, it can also be confusing and complicated. If you’re trying to figure out how to apply for a job in Canada from overseas, we can help! Let’s discuss some details below.

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Our top tips on how to apply for jobs in Canada from overseas

There are a few different ways you can get work in Canada (immigrating, for one). In this post, we’re going to focus on one of the most common situations: applying to be a temporary foreign worker (TFW). Here are some things you need to know when you’re applying from overseas. 

Getting a work permit in Canada

First, you need to figure out whether you’ll need a work permit. There are some temporary jobs that don’t require a work permit, including public speaker, emergency service provider and military personnel. You can check to see if your profession falls into this category. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to apply for a work permit. 

There are two types of work permit: open and employer-specific:

Open work permit

An open work permit lets you apply for any job you want. Only certain people can get an open permit (such as refugees or people who have applied for permanent residency). In most other cases – especially if you’re not in Canada yet – you’ll need an employer-specific permit. 

Employer-specific work permit

You get this kind of permit if a Canadian employer offers you a job. This permit will include things like the name of the employer and how long you’ll be allowed to work.

It’s important to make sure any company you apply to work for isn’t on this list. These companies can’t hire temporary foreign workers because they’ve broken the rules in the past. 

Your potential employer might need to get an LMIA, a document that shows that the company has an open position and that they need a foreign worker (like you) to do it. There are some professions that don’t need an LMIA.

Permit application

To get a temporary work permit, you need to meet some requirements, such as proving that you’ll return to your country after your work period has ended and having no criminal record.

If you’re eligible, you can submit an application online. Then, you might have to attend an interview with an official in your country, provide fingerprints, get a medical exam or more.

In Québec, the process is basically the same, but some of the provincial details may be different. You can learn the specifics on the immigration page of Québec.

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Language skills

To be a temporary worker in Canada, your language skills have to be good enough for you to do your job – nothing more. The minimum requirement will be noted on your work permit; whether you need English or French will depend on the job and where it is. To assess your skills, you might be interviewed by an immigration officer, or you could take an official English or French exam. 

There are some programs, however, that do require higher language skills. The PEQ program for example, is an immigrarion program that helps skilled temporary workers become permanent residents of Québec. In that case, you do need to be proficient in French since you’ll be living in Québec permanently.

So, basically: Immigrating to Canada requires stronger language skills than just working there for a limited time.

How to get a job offer in Canada

Above, we mentioned many people need to get an employer-specific permit to work in Canada. But how do you get a job offer? Let’s talk about a few other ways to get Canadian employers to notice you!


If you know anyone in Canada (a relative, a friend, someone you met on a trip once), try to see if they can help. Maybe they can introduce you to someone who’s hiring. Networking is really effective because you’re not seen as just a faceless stranger. 

Contact an agency 

Consider contacting a recruitment agency that can set you up with job opportunities. To increase your chances, see if there’s an agency focused on your profession. You can find a list of Canadian recruitment agencies here.

Send an email 

If you know of a company that you’d like to work for, why not send them an email inquiring about a job? Even if they don’t have any available jobs at the moment, it’s a great way to introduce yourself and start a business relationship. 

Use a job board

You can look for and apply for a job in Canada on a site like Job Bank or Indeed. Just keep in mind: This isn’t the easiest way to find a job since you’ll be competing for the same jobs as Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

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Andrea is a Canadian freelance writer and editor specializing in English, e-learning, EdTech, and SaaS. She has a background as an ESL teacher in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. In her free time, Andrea loves hanging out with her husband and son, creating recipes in the kitchen, and reading fiction. She also loves camping and jumping into lakes whenever possible. Learn more about Andrea on LinkedIn or check out her website.

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