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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Closed or Employer Specific Work Permit Canada

employer specific work permit

Definition of a Closed Work Permit

A Closed Work Permit, also known as an employer-specific work permit, is a temporary immigration document issued to foreign nationals, allowing them to work for a specific employer in a designated occupation and location. Unlike an Open Work Permit, which allows the holder to work for any employer in the destination country, a Closed Work Permit is tied to a single employer, and any changes to the job, employer, or location may require a new work permit or amendments to the existing one.

Eligibility Criteria for a Closed Work Permit

Job offer requirements

To be eligible for a Closed Work Permit, an applicant must have a valid job offer from an employer in the destination country. The job offer must include the following information:

  1. Job title and description

  2. Duration of employment

  3. Location of the job

  4. Salary and benefits

In some cases, the employer may also need to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before offering the job to a foreign worker. The LMIA process ensures that there is a genuine need for the foreign worker's skills and that no local workers are available to fill the position.

Employer requirements

Employers must meet specific requirements to hire a foreign worker on a Closed Work Permit. These include:

  1. Demonstrating a genuine need for a foreign worker

  2. Providing a valid job offer as mentioned above

  3. Ensuring compliance with local labor laws and regulations

  4. Paying the necessary fees associated with the work permit application process

  5. Cooperating with any audits or inspections conducted by authorities

Applicant requirements

Foreign nationals seeking a Closed Work Permit must meet the following criteria:

  1. Possess a valid job offer from an eligible employer

  2. Meet the necessary educational, experience, and language requirements for the specific job position

  3. Prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves (and any accompanying family members) during their stay

  4. Have a valid travel document, such as a passport

  5. Be admissible to the destination country (e.g., no criminal record or security concerns)

  6. Pass a medical examination, if required

  7. Pay the necessary fees and submit a complete application

Transitioning from a Closed Work Permit to an Open Work Permit

Eligibility requirements

To transition from a Closed Work Permit to an Open Work Permit, a foreign worker must meet certain eligibility requirements. These may include:

  1. Gaining permanent resident status: In some countries, becoming a permanent resident may automatically grant the foreign worker an Open Work Permit. The eligibility criteria for permanent residency vary by country and may include factors such as language proficiency, work experience, and financial stability.

  2. Spousal or common-law partner status: Foreign workers who have a spouse or common-law partner with a valid work permit, student visa, or permanent residency may be eligible for an Open Work Permit based on their relationship.

  3. Specific programs or categories: Some countries offer specific programs that allow eligible foreign workers to transition from a Closed Work Permit to an Open Work Permit. These programs often target high-skilled workers, international graduates, or workers in certain industries.

  4. Meeting all other general requirements for an Open Work Permit, such as being admissible to the destination country, having a valid travel document, and proving sufficient funds to support oneself.

Application process

The application process for transitioning from a Closed Work Permit to an Open Work Permit typically involves the following steps:

  1. Determine eligibility based on the destination country's immigration policies and specific requirements for Open Work Permits.

  2. Gather required documents, such as proof of eligibility (e.g., permanent residency card, spousal visa, or program-specific documentation), a copy of the current Closed Work Permit, a valid passport, and any other relevant documentation.

  3. Complete the necessary application form, usually available online through the destination country's immigration website.

  4. Pay the required application fee.

  5. Submit the application and wait for a decision from the immigration authorities. Processing times may vary depending on the destination country and specific circumstances.

Pros and cons of making the transition

Transitioning from a Closed Work Permit to an Open Work Permit offers several advantages and disadvantages:


  1. Increased flexibility: An Open Work Permit allows foreign workers to change employers, job positions, and locations without needing to apply for a new work permit each time.

  2. Greater job opportunities: With the freedom to work for any employer, foreign workers can explore various job options and industries to find the best fit for their skills and career goals.

  3. Easier access to permanent residency: In some cases, obtaining an Open Work Permit can facilitate the process of becoming a permanent resident, as it demonstrates the foreign worker's ability to integrate into the local labor market.


  1. Eligibility requirements: The criteria for transitioning from a Closed Work Permit to an Open Work Permit can be stringent, and not all foreign workers may qualify.

  2. Additional paperwork and fees: Transitioning to an Open Work Permit requires a new application process, with associated fees and documentation.

  3. Uncertainty in job market: While an Open Work Permit offers more flexibility, foreign workers may still face challenges in finding suitable employment in a competitive job market.

Rights and Restrictions for Closed Work Permit Holders

Employment rights

Closed Work Permit holders enjoy several employment rights in the destination country, which typically include:

  1. Fair wages: Permit holders are entitled to receive the same wages and benefits as local workers in similar job positions.

  2. Safe working conditions: Foreign workers have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, free from discrimination and harassment.

  3. Legal protection: Permit holders are protected by the destination country's labor laws and regulations, and they can seek legal remedies if their rights are violated.

  4. Limited job mobility: While Closed Work Permit holders are restricted to working for a specific employer, they may still be eligible for promotions or changes in job positions within the same company, as long as these changes do not violate the conditions of their work permit.

Social benefits

Social benefits for Closed Work Permit holders may vary depending on the destination country and specific circumstances. Some common social benefits include:

  1. Access to public healthcare: In some countries, foreign workers with a Closed Work Permit may be eligible for public healthcare services, either through mandatory insurance contributions or by enrolling in a government healthcare plan.

  2. Limited access to social welfare programs: Depending on the destination country, Closed Work Permit holders may have limited access to certain social welfare programs, such as unemployment benefits, child support, or disability benefits.

  3. Education opportunities: Closed Work Permit holders may be eligible to enroll in language courses or professional development programs offered by the destination country, which can help them integrate into the local community and advance their career.

Travel restrictions

Closed Work Permit holders may face certain travel restrictions, such as:

  1. Limited international travel: While permit holders can generally travel within the destination country, they may require a valid visa or travel authorization to visit other countries. Additionally, they must ensure that their work permit remains valid during their travels, as they will need it to re-enter the destination country.

  2. Reporting changes in address: Foreign workers are usually required to inform immigration authorities of any changes in their residential address while holding a Closed Work Permit.

Family members and dependents

Closed Work Permit holders may be eligible to bring their family members and dependents to the destination country, subject to specific requirements and conditions:

  1. Spouses and common-law partners: In many cases, the spouse or common-law partner of a Closed Work Permit holder can obtain a dependent visa or work permit, which allows them to live and work in the destination country.

  2. Children: Dependent children of Closed Work Permit holders may be eligible for a dependent visa, which allows them to live in the destination country and attend local schools.

  3. Application process: To bring family members and dependents, the foreign worker must submit a separate application for each dependent, along with the necessary documentation and fees.

Common Issues and Solutions for Closed Work Permit Holders

Job termination or change in employment

Issue: If a Closed Work Permit holder's job is terminated or they wish to change employers, they must obtain a new work permit or risk violating their immigration status.

Solution: Upon job termination or change in employment, the permit holder should immediately begin searching for a new job and work with their new employer to secure a new work permit. It is essential to maintain a valid work permit status to avoid potential deportation or future immigration issues.

Addressing delays in application processing

Issue: Closed Work Permit applications may sometimes face delays due to incomplete documentation, high processing volumes, or other issues.

Solution: To minimize delays, ensure that your application is complete and accurate before submission. Stay informed about current processing times, and if possible, submit your application well ahead of time. If you encounter significant delays, consider contacting the immigration authorities or seeking assistance from an immigration consultant or lawyer.

Dealing with permit refusal or cancellation

Issue: Closed Work Permit applications may be refused, or the permit may be canceled due to various reasons, such as non-compliance with permit conditions, changes in eligibility, or job termination.

Solution: If your application is refused or your permit is canceled, you may have the option to appeal the decision or provide additional documentation to support your case. Seek professional advice from an immigration consultant or lawyer to help you navigate the appeal process and increase your chances of success.

Renewing a work permit after expiry

Issue: If a Closed Work Permit holder fails to renew their permit before it expires, they risk violating their immigration status and may face penalties or deportation.

Solution: To avoid this issue, monitor the expiration date of your work permit and initiate the renewal process well in advance. Ensure that you have a valid job offer or contract extension, gather all required documentation, and submit your renewal application before your current permit expires.

Tips for Success as a Closed Work Permit Holder

Building a strong relationship with your employer

Establishing a good rapport with your employer can lead to better job opportunities, promotions, or contract extensions. Communicate openly with your employer about your career goals and seek feedback on your performance to continuously improve.

Networking within your industry

Building a professional network within your industry can help you discover new job opportunities, learn about industry trends, and gain valuable insights. Attend industry events, join online forums, and connect with colleagues and professionals in your field.

Understanding your rights and responsibilities

Familiarize yourself with the destination country's labor laws and regulations to protect your rights as a foreign worker. Comply with the conditions of your work permit and be proactive in addressing any issues that may arise.

Planning for the future

Consider your long-term goals, such as transitioning to an Open Work Permit, obtaining permanent residency, or returning to your home country. Plan your career moves and gather the necessary resources and information to support your goals. By being proactive and strategic, you can make the most of your experience as a Closed Work Permit holder and build a successful career abroad.

Ready to take the next step towards working in Canada? Let Immergity Immigration Consultant guide you through the work permit application process, ensuring a smooth and successful experience. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to help you navigate the complex immigration system and find the best pathway tailored to your unique situation.

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