All work permits and visas to come to Canada


If I had received one euro every time I was asked for the various work permits and visas to come to Canada, I’d be rich. I would have taken one euro, not one Canadian dollar, to be rich, you read that right! It’s true that if you’re at the beginning of your search, there’s a lot of information available. And you don’t really know where to start. I was in your shoes about ten years ago when I was looking for ways to experience life abroad. In this article, I’m going to go over the work permits and visas to come to Canada one by one. I hope it will help you in your immigration to Canada.

Please note: each province has its own particularities. This article is for information purposes only. You are responsible for your own research.

If you’re interested in a living an experience outside Canada, you can also read this article.

Don’t forget to follow me Instagram and Youtube to learn more about Canada.


The eTA

The eTA, Electronic Travel Authorization is mandatory for all tourists visiting Canada. This is not a work permit. It is forbidden to seek work in Canada with an AVE. If immigration has any doubts about your entry, they may refuse you entry.

The eTA is valid for up to 5 years, which means you can reuse it for several trips. It is attached to your passport. After the 5-year period, it can be renewed. If you change your passport during the 5-year period, you’ll need to reapply for an AVE.

Please note that even if your eTA is valid for 5 years, you cannot stay longer than 6 months as a visitor.. I invite you to consult this site for the complete conditions, which may change according to nationality.

Many AVE scams can be found on the Internet. Make sure you apply on the official Canadian government website. I’ve put the link here, but for your information, the fee is only $7. Apply for an eTA online.

Study permit

A very popular solution for coming to Canada: come with a study permit. I won’t go into all the steps here, because they can change depending on your country of origin and the school you’ve chosen. Speaking of schools, make sure you choose one with a good reputation.

The big advantages of a study permit:

More information on conditions on the Canadian immigration website.


The WHV Canada

I talked about it in the article on the different ways to experience life abroad. The WHV, which stands for Work Holiday Visa, is a work permit issued by Canada to French citizens for a maximum period of 24 months. Conditions vary according to your country of origin. It is non-renewable. This was my first visa in Canada. If you’d like to hear about my experience, I’ve got a video on my immigration journey to Canada.

The WHV is the result of an agreement between 2 countries. In this case, for example, between France and Canada. It’s a visa that allows you to work and travel in Canada for 24 months. For the duration of your visa, you are free to leave and return to Canada. Visas are allocated by lottery. And you have to be between 18 and 35 years old to apply. I’d like to stress that the WHP is an open work permit, so you don’t need an employer to apply. Nor are you tied to an employer. It’s a good way to start your immigration to Canada without incurring too many costs.

How does the WHV Canada work?

The Canada WHP is one of the most popular in the world. Quotas are filled every year. In 2024, there are 7,000 places available for French nationals.

  • You can start by checking your eligibility here.
  • You’ll then need to create a profile on the Canadian immigration platform.
  • When your profile is complete, you’ll be placed in what’s known as the pool.
  • Between the opening and closing of the season, immigration will draw lots several times. Sometimes it’s once a week. Sometimes nothing happens for weeks.
  • Click here to see how many people are registered in the pool. But also how many working vacation permits have already been allocated.
  • When you receive an invitation, you have 10 days to accept it and then 20 days from that date to submit your application. More information is available here.
  • Once your application is complete, immigration will review your file. If the decision is favorable, you will receive a letter of introduction. This is the document confirming that you have been granted a working vacation permit.
  • I won’t go into too much detail here, as this isn’t a tutorial on the WHP, but I will end by telling you that once the process is complete and you have your letter of introduction in hand, you have one year to enter Canada. Look carefully at the date on your letter of introduction.
The benefits of a WHV Canada.
  • The conditions for applying are quite broad. It doesn’t matter what your qualifications or professional experience are: if you’re between the ages of 18 and 35, you can apply (except in a few special cases, such as trouble with the law).
  • You are free to combine work and travel. This means you can travel and work anywhere to test out life in several provinces.
  • You can change employers. Which means you can start your adventure with an entry-level job. Get acclimatized to life here and discover the culture. I started out as a store clerk, then a few years later I was in marketing for Toronto’s sports teams! I’ll tell you more about how I found each of my PVT jobs in this video.
The disadvantages of the WHV Canada.
  • The WHV is obtained by drawing lots. This means that it’s difficult to plan ahead until you’ve been selected.
  • Once all the places have been allocated, that’s it for the season.
  • Some people have applied 5 years in a row before getting it, some never get it.


Au Pair Canada

According to my research, there is no visa for au pair in Canada. You’ll need to obtain a WHV or a work permit.

VIE/VIA in Canada

What is the VIE/VIA? The long version is Volontariat International en Entreprise or Volontariat International en Administration. It’s an opportunity to go on a professional mission abroad for a French company with offices abroad. All VIE job offers are available on the Business France website. It’s a very popular option, and places are very expensive. I’ve heard several times that having experience in the company in France before applying increases the chances of success.

The duration varies from 6 to 24 months, and you have to be between 18 and 28 years of age to take part.

The advantages of a VIE/VIA placement
  • With VIE/VIA, you’re paid in euros. Depending on your host country, this gives you quite an advantage in terms of purchasing power.
  • You are tax-exempt in France for the duration of your VIE.
  • You keep your social security coverage in France. And that’s a big advantage.
  • According to the statistics I found, 92% of people are hired after their VIE experience. This is encouraging if you want to stay longer in your host country. Beware, though, you’ll often move on to a local contract after the VIE.
  • You’ll already have a job, which is a big advantage over the WHV, for example.

Closed work permits in Canada

Moving on to other permits and visas to come to Canada. And we’re going to talk about the closed work permit. This is a work permit that allows you to work for a single employer. You’ll need to find the employer first, and take the necessary steps together. The employer will be registered on your work permit. You can go through the Temporary Foreign Worker program offered by Canadian Immigration.

You can find out more about the procedure for obtaining a closed work permit in Canada here.

The benefits of a closed work permit
  • This work permit can be renewed several times.
  • A good way to extend your experience if, for example, you’re waiting for permanent residency after a WHP. Or if you want to extend your experience in Canada without necessarily wanting to invest in permanent residency.
The disadvantages of a closed work permit
  • The employer will have steps to take and costs to pay.
  • Difficult to find at a distance.
  • You are attached to a single employer. Which means that if the company decides to lay you off, you won’t have any work visas. Unfortunately, this does happen. I’ve lost my job twice in Canada. It’s quite similar to what you see in the movies, and I explain it all in this article.


Common-law permit in Canada

I wanted to tell you about a work permit for Canada that’s not too well known: the common-law partner permit. If your partner has a work permit in Canada, under certain conditions, you can apply for an open work permit.

This is also possible if one of you obtains a WHP and the other does not. You’ll need to prove that you have an employment contract of a certain duration, but above all, you’ll need to be able to justify your relationship. In this case, a minimum of one year together: joint water bill, apartment lease. I say this because a lot of people don’t know this and arrive without having shared bills for more than a year. If you have this option, you can simplify your life.

I encourage you to read this article on the Canadian immigration website for more information on the conditions and procedure.

Francophone mobility (outside Quebec)

Let’s continue with our permits and visas for living in Canada, and this option concerns all provinces except Quebec. I’m going to tell you about Francophone mobility. This work permit is only available outside Quebec, and only to people who speak French. The advantage of this work permit is that the employer doesn’t have to do a labour market impact study to justify hiring you. That is, a study proving that it is necessary to hire a foreign employee because there is no one else in the country who can do the job. I’ll end this section by pointing out that this is a closed work permit.

It’s a good option if you’ve come here on a WHP and want to extend your experience here. But you’re not yet eligible for permanent residency. Or if you’re still hesitating to stay and apply for permanent residency.

Find out more about French mobility on the immigration website here.

The benefits of mobility in French
  • This work permit can be renewed several times.
  • A good way to extend your experience if, for example, you’re waiting for permanent residency after a WHP. Or if you want to extend your experience in Canada without necessarily wanting to invest in permanent residency.
The disadvantages of French mobility
  • The employer will have to take steps and pay fees (about $250).
  • Difficult to find from a distance.
  • You are attached to a single employer. This means that if the company decides to lay you off, you will no longer have a work visa. As I said above, it happens. I’ve lost my job twice in Canada. It’s quite similar to what you see in the movies, and I explain it all in this article.


Permanent Residency

Of all the permits and visas for living in Canada, this is the most permanent option. Yes, hence the name. I went through the permanent residency process before becoming a Canadian in 2023. It’s a status that gives you almost the same rights as a Canadian citizen. I’d say the biggest difference is that a permanent resident can’t vote. You’ll have a permanent resident card to present when you re-enter the country after a trip. You’ll have to renew it every 5 years. Please note that there are conditions for renewing it. You’ll find all the information you need in my article on the procedure for obtaining Canadian permanent residency. I talk about what to prepare, each step, the budget and the timeline.

I’d like to share one last piece of information about permanent residency. There are different programs for applying, depending on your experience and status. I mention this because it’s probably one of the questions I get the most:

  • It can be applied for while already in Canada.
  • It can be applied for from outside Canada without ever having lived in the country.

If you apply from outside Canada, you don’t need a job offer.


I hope this article will help you understand your options regarding permits and visas to come to Canada. Remember, immigration to Canada can take time. That there are many options, and that you need to look at all the different angles to find what’s best for you. I encourage you to learn more by taking a look at Watch this video for essential tips and steps to follow when planning your move to Canada.


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