How to Apply For Short-term Work Permit (Startup Visa Program)

Everything You Need to Know About Canada’s Startup Visa Path

This guide explains how to apply for short-term work permit under the International Mobility Program before submitting an application for permanent residence under the Startup Visa (SUV) Program. If you don’t mind waiting till IRCC approves your permanent application, you may not not this. You can just go ahead to submit your permanent residence application. However, you can share this guide on how to apply for short-term work permit with friends that need it. 

To apply for the short-term work permit, you need to have received a commitment certificate and letter of support from a designated organization. The designated organization must support your request for a work permit. Before you read further, read our earlier article on how to migrate to Canada via the Startup Visa route. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for a work permit. You do not need to apply for permanent residence first.

1.0 Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a work permit, you must:

  • plan to live in a province or territory other than Quebec
  • pay the employer compliance fee
  • have received a Commitment Certificate and a Letter of Support from a designated entity indicating that you are “essential” and there are urgent business reasons for your early entry to Canada (i.e. section 8.0 of the Commitment Certificate is completed) and
  • have sufficient funds to meet the low income cut off for your family for 52 weeks

Before submitting an application for a work permit, you must submit your ‘self-employed’ offer of employment, as well as pay the $230 employer compliance fee.

2.0 Submit your offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee

You will fall between the two scenarios below:

  1. If your business has registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number, follow the instructions in section 3.0 below.
  2. If your business has not yet registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number, follow the instructions in section 4.0 below.

3.0 Submit your offer of employment and pay the fee through the Employer Portal

If your business has registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number, you must use the online Employer Portal to submit your offer of employment and pay the employer compliance fee.

To do this, you must first enroll in the Employer Portal. For instructions on how to enroll, see the Employer Portal Enrollment Guide.

After you have successfully enrolled in the Employer Portal, you can log in using your secure credential user ID and password (using a Sign-In Partner or GCKey). For more information, read the Employer Portal User Guide.

3.1 Create an offer of employment

When you log into your account, under “What would you like to do today?”, select “Submit an offer of employment”. You will then be directed to the offer of employment application page.

There are four forms you must complete:

The business information form will only need to be filled out when you create your first offer of employment, unless the information changes.

Beside each form name you will see a status symbol that shows if the form is “not started”, “in progress”, or “complete”. The “Business Information” and “Foreign worker” forms are straight-forward.  When you are done completing the form, validate the information, save and exit.

Job details form

To complete the job details form, follow the steps below:

  • LMIA exemption title: Select “Significant benefit” R205(a).
  • LMIA exemption code: This field will be automatically populated.
  • Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested: Explain that you are an entrepreneur seeking to establish or operate your business in Canada and that you are essential to the start-up of your business as per section 8.0 of the Commitment Certificate.
  • Job title: Indicate “StartUp Visa Entrepreneur”.
  • NOC Code: NOC 8888
  • Physical job location: The physical job location is the address where you will be working.
  • Main duties of the job: Provide a brief description of the work you will be performing. Examples could include:
    • setting up your business,
    • registering for all permits,
    • getting approvals as required.
  • Fee payment question: Select “Yes, I will be paying the employer compliance fee for this offer.”
  • Enter the remaining details for the job and select “Next”.
  • Employer primary contact information: Enter the contact information of the person who will provide information about the offer of employment. This person can be the same or different from the business primary contact information.

After completing the form, validate the information, save and exit.

Wage and Benefits form

To complete this form, follow the steps below

  • select the ‘Type of wage’ as hourly from the drop-down list and input ‘0’ in the following five boxes.
  • In the box “Alternate compensation scheme”, indicate that you are a self-employed entrepreneur, and demonstrate that you have the minimum amount of funds to support yourself and any accompanying family members (if applicable) for 52 weeks. Then, indicate the amount of settlement funds available and what documents you can provide as evidence.
  • Leave the benefits section blank.

Once you complete complete the form, validate the information, save and exit.

Before you submit the form, make sure the information provided is accurate. Once you submit the offer, you will not be able to change it. If you make a mistake or enter incorrect information, you may have to withdraw the offer and start the application all over.

3.2 Submit your offer of employment

When the status of all four forms shows “complete”, you can proceed to submit the offer of employment following the steps below.

  1. On the LMIA-exempt Offer of employment page, select “Continue”. You will be directed to “Your document checklist”. Since you indicated “Yes, I will be paying the employer compliance fee for this offer”, you will not be required to upload any documents.
  2. Select “Next”.
  3. On the screen ‘Your Declaration and Electronic Signature’:
    • read the employer declaration
    • select ‘I agree
    • type your name in the signature panel and answer the Security Question
  4. Click ‘Sign’.

3.3 Pay the employer compliance fee

To pay the employer compliance fee, follow the steps below. You can only do this after you sign your offer of employment electronically

  1. Select “Transmit and Pay”.
  2. Review the fees summary page and select “Transmit and pay”. You will be directed to the Receiver General’s online payment website.
  3. Complete the online payment form. Click “Process Transaction”.
  4. Review and print the transaction receipt. You will need to provide a copy of this receipt with your work permit application if you will be applying by paper.
  5. Select “Return”. You will be redirected back to the Employer Portal.
  6. Select “Exit questionnaire” to return to the portal Welcome page.

Review “Employment queue” to retrieve the offer of employment number.

4.0 Submit your offer of employment and pay the fee outside of the Employer Portal

This section is for you if you have not registered for a Canada Revenue Agency business number. You will not be able to use the Employer Portal. So, email the Employer Portal and indicate that you are an entrepreneur.

In your email, include all the information stated below:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • citizenship
  • country of birth and
  • gender

If the Employer Portal team approves your email request, you will get an email response with:

  • the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (IMM 5802) form
  • information on where to return the completed form and
  • instructions on how to pay your employer compliance fee online

Note: You must pay your fee before completing the form. Your fee payment receipt number must be entered in Box 3 on the form.

4.1 Pay the employer compliance fee online (only if using IMM 5802)

To pay your employer compliance fee using the Pay your fees tool, follow the steps below:

  1. Select the country where you are paying from.
  2. Select ‘Employer compliance’ for the fee type (at the bottom of the list).
  3. Click on ‘Get payment instructions’.
  4. Read the instructions under ‘Pay online and apply on paper’.
  5. Click on ‘Pay my fees online’.

You will be directed to a new Online Payment screen.

  1. Select ‘Continue’.
  2. Agree to the Terms and Conditions and select ‘Continue’ once again.
  3. Select ‘Immigration’.
  4. Select ‘Temporary Residence’.
  5. From the list of Immigration fees, enter 1 under ‘Number of Applications’ next to Compliance fee (employer) – $230.00.
  6. Click on ‘Submit’.
  7. Click on ‘Login and pay’.

To pay online, you will need to log into your account. If you do not have an account, click on ‘Register’. After you complete the three step registration process, you can log in with your email address and password and make your payment.

Finally, after your payment is processed, take note of your fee receipt number, as you will need to include this on the IMM 5802.

4.2 Completing the IMM 5802

When completing the Offer of Employment to Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (IMM 5802), refer to the instructions below for certain fields:

  • Box 2 – Leave blank the “Canada Revenue Agency business number (first 9 digits)” section.
  • Box 4 and 5 – Business operating name and business legal name. If you do not have a business name yet, put ‘New business and name of entrepreneur’.
  • Box 17 and 24 – Job title. Enter ‘Startup Visa Entrepreneur’.
  • Box 21 – Title of LMIA exemption being requested. Select ‘Significant Benefit – R205(a) ’ (Box 22 will populate automatically).
  • Box 23 – Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested. Explain that you are an entrepreneur seeking to establish or operate your business in Canada and that you are essential to the start-up of your business as per section 8.0 of the Commitment Certificate.
  • Box 25 – National Occupation Classification (NOC) code. Input NOC 8888.
  • Box 29 – Main duties of the job. Provide a brief description of the work you will be performing. Examples could include:
    • setting up your business
    • registering for all permits
    • getting approvals as required
  • Box 33 – Leave blank the “Wage in Canadian dollars and number of work hours” section.
  • Box 34 – Alternate compensation scheme. Indicate that you are a self-employed entrepreneur, and show that you have the minimum amount of funds required to support yourself and any accompanying dependents for a minimum of 52 weeks. Also, indicate the amount of settlement funds available and what documents you can provide as evidence.
  • Box 36 – Benefits. This section is not required.
  • Declaration of Employer. Complete this section and sign as the employer.

Important: Do not use the “Submit by Email” button. Instead, save the form as a PDF file and attach it to an email as per the instructions you received with your authorization email.

5.0 How to Apply for Your Short-term Work Permit

Depending on your preference, you can apply for a work permit online or on paper. In most cases, you have to submit your application from outside Canada. However, you may be eligible to apply from inside Canada. To ensure your application is successful, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements irrespective of where you plan to apply for your work permit.

You must submit your applications for a work permit and permanent residence in different packages. The two applications must be sent to different offices for processing. This article will only focus on how to apply for short-term work permit online.

5.1 Get your documents ready

Before you apply online or on paper, gather the documents stated below:

  • your Letter of Support which shows that you’re “essential” and that you need a work permit
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself and your family members for a 52-week period
  • your offer of employment number (this number is generated after you submit your offer of employment online through the Employer Portal and can be found in the “Employment queue”) or your completed IMM 5802
  • payment receipt for the employer compliance fee
  • your medical examination results, if needed
  • a valid police certificate, if needed

If you apply online and include all the documents above, your work permit will be processed faster.

5.2 How to Apply for Your Short-term Work Permit Online

To apply online, you must determine your eligibility by answering some questions. To properly identify you as a future applicant under the SUV program, make sure that you answer the following questions exactly as stated below.

  • Question: What would you like to do in Canada?
    • Answer: Work
  • Question: How long are you planning to stay in Canada?
    • Answer: Temporarily – more than 6 months
  • Question: Do you have a written offer from an employer in Canada?
    • Answer: Yes
  • Question: What is the status of your job offer?
    • Answer: Temporary – at least one year
  • Question: Do you plan to work in one of the following categories?
    • Answer: No
  • Question: Do you have any caregiver experience or formal training within the last 3 years?
    • Answer: No experience.

What’s Next?

After you answer all the questions, your results should state “Foreign Worker – International Mobility Program”. You will see information on whether you need a visitor visa or eTA. Finally, click “Continue” to answer a few additional questions.
  • Question: Do you have a valid work permit or study permit, and need a visa to return to Canada?
    • Answer: No
  • Question: What type of work permit do you want to apply for?
    • Answer: A work permit with a Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption.
  • Question: There are fees associated with this application. Will you be paying your fees or are you fee exempt?
    • Answer: Yes, I will be paying my application fees.
If you need help with a question, click on the question mark icon for more information. After you have verified that the information is accurate, click on ‘Continue’ to get to your personal document checklist. Then, write down your personal reference code found at the top of the page. You will need your personal reference code when you submit your application online.

5.3 Work permit conditions and extensions

Your work permit, if granted, allows you to work as an entrepreneur in the development of your business. It is not an open work permit.

Your work permit will only be valid for one year to allow you to begin working in Canada while your application for permanent residence (APR) is being processed. Most times, IIRC will process your APRs within a year. However, if you need an extension, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis through the normal extension process. IIRC will only consider any extension under this program if you have an APR in process.

6.0 Eligibility requirements for family members

You may be able to bring your spouse or common-law partner and your dependent children with you to Canada if they meet the requirements for temporary residence.

So, if your spouse or common-law partner wants to work while in Canada, he/she may apply for an open work permit as the spouse or common-law partner of a high skilled worker. Your dependent children must apply for a study or work permit if they want to study or work while in Canada,

Also, if you have young, non-school-aged children who are coming with you, they need to meet the same entry requirements as any other visitor.  They may need an eTA or visitor visa to enter Canada. Each family member must fill out a separate application form depending on their need.

You can submit all applications for spouses and dependent children together with your work permit application and use one payment receipt for the total amount.

Note: If you are eligible to submit your work permit application at a port of entry, all family members must meet the same requirements as you to apply at the port of entry.

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