Coming to B.C. for work

Last reviewed: March 11, 2024

If you would like to come and work in B.C., visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website to find out about the options available to you. An online tool is available on the IRCC website that can help you to determine if you are eligible to come to Canada as an immigrant, temporary resident or visitor.

Topics on this page

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs)

If you would like to work in B.C. temporarily, there are several steps you’ll need to take. If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, then you will usually need both a valid work permit and a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in order to work in British Columbia. While in B.C., you have many of the same rights as British Columbians.

How do I get a work permit?

If you want to come to B.C. temporarily to work, you will likely need to get a work permit. In some situations you can get a work permit even if you do not have a job offer. These work permits are called open work permits.
  • Find out more about open work permits
If you can’t get an open work permit, you will need a job offer from an employer. In most cases, before hiring a foreign worker an employer must receive a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) showing that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents available to fill the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.

Once an employer has a positive LMIA, they can hire you as temporary foreign worker and you can apply for a work permit. There is a fee to apply for an LMIA. The employer is responsible for applying for an LMIA and paying the application fee.

Do I need a visitor visa?

In addition to a work permit, you may need a visitor visa in order to enter Canada. If you are working temporarily in B.C., your spouse or common-law partner and your dependents may be able to come with you. They may also be eligible to apply for a study or work permit.

What are my rights as a worker in B.C.?

While living and working in B.C. as a temporary foreign resident, you have many of the same rights as British Columbians.

Social Insurance Number

You will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada. You also need a SIN to use government programs and benefits. Learn how to apply for your SIN and what documents you will need to apply.
Your SIN is confidential (private). It has important information about you. Learn how to protect your SIN.

Extending your work permit

If you have a work permit that’s about to expire, you need to apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to extend your work permit, or make changes to the conditions on it.

You need to apply at least 30 days before your current work permit expires.

You can’t extend your work permit beyond the expiry date of your passport.

Employer-specific work permits

You need to apply to extend or change the conditions of your work permit if:
  • your job is extended
  • there are changes to your current job, such as:
    • a change in your pay
    • new responsibilities
  • you’re offered a different job
  • you want to work for a new employer
You can’t start working at a different job or for a new employer until you get your work permit with the new conditions.

Open work permits

If you have an open work permit, you may be able to extend it if you’re still eligible to work in Canada with an open work permit.

Back to top

Becoming a permanent resident

If you want to make your temporary stay in B.C. permanent, there are several options for getting permanent residence in Canada. For some of these programs, you may be eligible even if you have not yet arrived in Canada.

BC Provincial Nominee Program

The BC Provincial Nominee Program offers a pathway to permanent residence for skilled and semi-skilled workers, international graduates, and their family members who intend to settle in B.C.

Express Entry - IRCC

The federal Express Entry system manages applications for permanent residence under the following programs:
  • Federal Skilled Worker
  • Federal Skilled Trades
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Provincial Nominees
You need to meet the eligibility criteria for at least one of these programs in order to apply through Express Entry.

Caregiver Program - IRCC

The federal Caregiver Program provides permanent residence pathways for people who are employed as live-in caregivers or who are caregivers to children or people with high medical needs.
There may be other pathways available for you to apply for permanent residence. Check the IRCC website for the latest information about any changes, new programs, or pilots that may be available.

Becoming a Canadian Citizen - IRCC

Once you have been a permanent resident in Canada for several years, you may be able to apply for Canadian Citizenship.

Back to top