There are many different pathways to come to Canada and to become a permanent resident, among which are programs based on international trade agreements, study programs that grant the work permit after graduation and also economic immigration programs. Some programs are based on international agreements with individual countries. For example, IEC will have work permits from one to two years length. Lithuania and Spain – one year, Portugal and Ireland – two years.

International Experience Canada (IEC)
If you are from a country that has a bilateral agreement with Canada, you may be able to stay and work in Canada under this program for one or two years. IEC gives you an opportunity to explore whether Canada is the right country for you through work and travel. Later on, you might decide to apply for permanent residence.
Study Permit
You can apply for a student visa to Canada to study in many colleges and universities. Canadian educational institutions rank highly in terms of quality. If you study in designated learning institution in most cases you will be eligible for a work permit to work up to 20 hours per week during your studies, and full time during scheduled breaks between academic sessions. After graduation, you become eligible for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) which generally lasts as long as your study program.
If you want to stay in Canada beyond your PGWP, there are a number of routes you can take depending on your goals and personal circumstances. PGWP is an open work permit which allows you to work for any employer anywhere in Canada. However, if you want to apply for Canadian immigration, it will benefit you to get a job in what is called a “skilled” occupation.
Work permits: LMIAs and trade agreements
In order to get a work permit in Canada, your employer often needs to apply for a permission from the government to hire a foreign worker, this process is called Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
However, there are other work permit options under the International Mobility Program that do not require LMIA. These work permits exist to promote Canada’s broad economic, social, and cultural policy objectives. These work permit programs cover workers whose presence would add a “significant social or cultural benefit” to Canada. Some examples include film and TV workers, as well as entrepreneurs, IT workers and self-employed workers. The process to obtain work permit is faster than applying for LMIA.
Canada also has many trade agreements that allow citizens of certain countries to work in Canada without an LMIA. Canada has trade agreements under CETA for citizens of the European Union, as well as for U.K. citizens.
The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a multilateral trade agreement negotiated between Canada and the European Union (EU). The agreement came into effect on September 21st, 2017. CETA provides unique opportunities EU citizens to work in Canada. Those foreign nationals covered by CETA provisions may be eligible to work in Canada without the requirement for a LMIA.

Apply for immigration: Sponsorship, Express Entry, Provincial Nominee

Applying to certain immigration programs for permanent residence will qualify you for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), which allows you to keep working in Canada if your PGWP expires before you get approved for permanent residence.
Family Sponsorship
If your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, then spousal sponsorship may be an option for you. If you are applying from inside Canada, you may be eligible for an open work permit specifically for spouses and common-law partners of Canadians who are going through the immigration process.
Express Entry
Express Entry is an online system that the Canadian government uses to manage immigration applications. There are 3 immigration programs managed through Express Entry, the Canadian Experience Class program which is for skilled worker who have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience, the Federal Skilled Worker Program which targets skilled workers with foreign work experience, and the Federal Skilled Trades program, which is for skilled workers who are qualified in a skilled trade and who have a valid job offer or a certificate of qualification.
If you are eligible for one or more of these programs, you could submit your profile to the system, and you will be ranked in the Express Entry pool. To be invited to apply to the permanent residence via Express Entry, you need to have a score above the minimum points score for each round of invitations. Once you are invited to apply to the permanent residence, you will have 60 days to submit your application. If you apply for permanent residence inside Canada, you might be eligible for an open work permit.
Provincial Nominee Program
This program is for workers who want to become permanent residents of Canada, have certain skills, education, and work experience required on a specific province or territory in Canada, and who want to live in that specific province or territory. Each province has its own immigration programs and requirements that target certain groups. For example, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program targets foreign workers, international students, business owners or entrepreneurs that want to apply for permanent residence in Ontario, whether they are inside of Canada or not. However, if you apply for permanent residence inside Canada, you might be eligible for a work permit.

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