Converting a visiting visa to a work permit opens up multiple prospects for those looking to extend their stay for professional reasons. If you have an exciting job opportunity and are currently in Canada on a visitor visa, you might be asking how to legally change your status to a work visa. The good news is that provided you fulfill the requirements and adhere to the correct procedures, you can convert from a guest visa to a work permit from within Canada. 

Tourist Visa vs. Work Visa

Let’s start by understanding the difference between a tourist visa and a work permit. A tourist visa, often called a visitor visa, allows foreign nationals to enter Canada temporarily for leisure, to see family and friends, or to take part in short-term activities like attending a conference or event. However, those on tourist visas are not allowed to work or study in Canada, which is where a work permit comes in.

However, a work visa, often known as a work permit, gives foreign employees permission to work in Canada for a set amount of time at a given job, company, and location. Holders of a valid work permit must be employed by a Canadian company that has received a favourable Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Temporary work permits are linked to the conditions of employment and necessitate renewal or extension in the event that the work contract is extended.

The main distinction is the purpose of the visa: a work visa permits foreign nationals to lawfully work in Canada for a specific employer and job, while a tourist visa is intended for travel and short-term stays. Acquiring the appropriate kind of visa is essential to prevent breaking Canadian immigration regulations.

Why Convert Your Visitor Visa Into a Work Visa?

  • Foreign nationals are granted the valuable ability to work lawfully in Canada for a predetermined length of time with a Canada Work Permit Visa, also known as a Canadian work visa. Having a work visa in Canada has many advantages.
  • Authorized Employment: Being able to work lawfully in Canada is arguably the biggest advantage. This implies that you can look for employment, make money, and acquire valuable work experience.
  • Social Advantages: You can be qualified for workers’ compensation, healthcare coverage in certain provinces, and access to social services while you’re on a work permit.
  • International Connections: You can network with individuals from different countries and backgrounds in Canada, both at work and in the country’s larger community.
  • Economic Stability: The stable political climate and robust economy of Canada are well-known. While working in the nation, this can give you and your family a sense of financial security.
  • Exposure to the Canadian Job Market: Canada’s diversified and strong job market offers opportunities in a wide range of industries. If you have a work permit, you can work for Canadian firms and have access to this labour market.

Canadian Work Visa — Understanding the Requirements

Making sure you meet the standards is vital before you start the application process for a work visa. The most important need is that you must have a legitimate job offer from a Canadian employer who is prepared to support your application for a work permit. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) must provide the employer with a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) attesting to the fact that no Canadian or permanent resident is available to fill the post.

Also, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have temporary employment in mind and be prepared to depart Canada when your work permit expires.
  • You need to be in possession of a current temporary residency permit or guest visa to enter Canada.
  • You must fulfill the educational criteria, work experience requirements, and language requirements for the position you’ve been offered.
  • You cannot be prohibited from entering Canada due to past criminal records, health problems, or unstable finances.

The following are the standard documentation requirements for getting a work permit:

  • Temporary Resident Visa (Visitor Visa)
  • Job Offer Letter
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Proof of Qualifications
  • Valid Passport
  • Proof of Funds
  • Medical Examination

Preparing Your Application For a Canadian Work Visa

You may begin preparing your work permit application as soon as your eligibility has been verified. Here are the primary steps involved:

  • Fill out a Canadian job application. You must first confirm that you are employed for a position for which a work permit is necessary. You can search for employment online. Also, remember that in order for your CV to be taken into consideration, it must follow Canadian standards.
  • Obtain an offer letter that has been approved by the Labour Market Impact Assessment. Companies that have received LMIA approval are permitted to use foreign labour. Verify that the company where you applied has received LMIA approval.
  • Collect all essential documentation. These consist of your passport, the LMIA document that your company has given you, the job offer letter serving as proof of employment, any further supporting documentation needed for your particular circumstances, and proof of education and work experience.
  • Make a Work Permit Application. You can apply for a work permit once you’ve secured employment and obtained the necessary paperwork.

Applications can be submitted in person at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or online via the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Can You Acquire a Canadian Work Visa Without an LMIA?

If you’re unable to obtain an LMIA-approved job offer, you can apply for an open work permit. This can be done under specific circumstances:

  • In the event that your spouse or common-law partner is studying in a DLI and holds a study permit, you may apply as a temporary visitor for an open work permit.
  • You can apply for a work permit as a tourist visa holder if your spouse or common-law partner is employed in an occupation listed in NOC 0, A, or B and possesses a valid work permit.
  • You may apply for a visitor’s work permit if your spouse or common-law partner is awaiting permanent residence and currently holds “approval in principal” status.
  • While you’re waiting for the outcome, if you’ve applied for permanent residence through spouse sponsorship, you can also apply for a work visa.


The process of navigating the complexities of Canadian immigration law can be intimidating, but with the professional assistance of Ronen Kurzfeld, it becomes simple and effective. With a smooth transition from a tourist visa to a work permit, our knowledgeable counsel can help you with work permit applications, offering individualized guidance at every stage.