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How Canada Processes Work Permit Applications for Regulated Occupations Such As Doctors  

By cvf, 05/23/2024


The assessment of a work permit application in Canada not only requires that officers be satisfied with the foreign national’s ability to perform the work being sought, but also with the foreign national’s credentials to perform that work.  

In Canada, the latter part of that requirement is true for regulated occupations – jobs that require a licence or certificate of qualification – like doctors. 

For the issuance of a work permit, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officers or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers need to ensure the worker has the required education, certification, training or licensing to practise in a regulated occupation in Canada. 

If the applicant is not in Canada and is not able to go through the process to meet the requirements to practise their occupation or trade, IRCC or CBSA – before issuing a work permit – will be responsible for assessing the likelihood that the application, on a balance of probabilities, qualifies or has taken steps toward obtaining the right certification or licensing after coming to Canada.  


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There are two possible case scenarios that could transpire while processing work permit applications for regulated occupations: 

1. Applicant has certification or license 

If the applicant has been in Canada previously with an authorization to work and had been given the required certification or license, an officer can be put to review the document to determine whether they are satisfied that the individual is able to perform the requisite work. 

2. Applicant does not have certification or license  

In this scenario, if it has been determined that the occupation is regulated, the processing officer needs to be satisfied the foreigner has obtained the right license or can obtain it within a short period after coming to Canada.  

A reasonable period herein is usually within 4 months (that is, qualifying after a maximum of one semester of studies), as the expectation is that the worker performs the work immediately upon coming to Canada.  

However, the lack of required licensing or certification is not an immediate disqualifier for a work permit, as some occupations exist where the testing can only be completed, or licensing can only be obtained, while the worker is physically in Canada.  

For some other occupations (architects, surveyors, etc.), a candidate’s work can be put for review, approval, and signing-off by a registered (licensed) professional until the foreign national passes licensing requirements.


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When the review of an application is being done, one of the following guidelines can be used by officers if the workers lack license or certification:  

1. Training or testing is part of the employment offer: If the employer says in the job offer that they (employer) will fund the training or testing and pay a wage during the training/testing period, the employee needs to show proof that they are scheduled for the required training or testing and can complete it in a reasonably short period after coming to Canada and that they have the language skills to succeed in their training. 

2. Lower-level occupation: A worker may be applying to enter Canada in a lower-level occupation and then complete their training or testing after arrival so that they later meet the requirements of the intended level of work, at which point they will apply for a new work permit in the higher-level occupation. 

An officer needs to be satisfied that the worker will have the ability to perform the work sought as per paragraph R200(3)(a). If they do not have a required licence or cannot obtain it within a reasonable period of time, the officer may refuse the work permit. 

Approvals or Refusals 

In case the processing officer is satisfied that the foreign national is likely to obtain the license/certificate of qualification required, and the other conditions are met, they may approve the application and impose a condition under subparagraph R185(b)(iv).  

Contrarily, if the officer is not satisfied that the applicant has the language skills to succeed, that the training is available and will take place within a reasonable period of time post entry, or that funds are not available to pay for training, they have reasonable grounds to believe that the foreign national will not be able to perform the work sought.  

The post How Canada Processes Work Permit Applications for Regulated Occupations Such As Doctors   appeared first on Canada Immigration and Visa Information. Canadian Immigration Services and Free Online Evaluation..

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