Top 4 Pathways to Work Permits for Professionals in Canada

Canada's tech sector is booming, and skilled IT professionals are in high demand. But how do you secure a work permit and join the party? This guide unveils the top 4 pathways: Express Entry, Global Talent Stream, CUSMA Professionals (work permit without an LMIA for US/Mexico citizens), and Intra-Company Transfers.

Dreaming of a vibrant career in Canada? Your journey begins here, where opportunities unfold at the crossroads of professional growth and personal fulfilment. For those envisioning a life and career in the Great White North, navigating the pathways to a Canadian work permit is a thrilling prospect.

In this guide, we delve into the top three avenues that beckon professionals from diverse fields, offering a gateway to not just a job, but a fulfilling Canadian adventure.

Get ready to explore the possibilities that await as we unravel the key to unlocking your future in the heart of innovation and opportunity.

Pathways to Work Permits in Canada

If you’re an highly skilled worker dreaming of working in Canada, here are the top 4 pathways to obtaining a work permit and joining the party:


1. Express Entry Category-Based Draw

Express Entry’s category-based draws stand as a primary gateway for professionals seeking opportunities in Canada. With a focus on attracting individuals with expertise in various fields, this initiative streamlines the entry of skilled workers.

The draw system ensures a targeted approach, aligning with Canada’s commitment to fostering talent across a spectrum of industries.

  • Express Entry prioritizes STEM professionals: Category-based draws under Express Entry specifically target skilled workers with recent experience in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. This underscores the critical need for tech talent in Canada.
  • Work permit options abound: To address this demand, Canada offers various work permit pathways for IT professionals, including the Global Talent Stream (GTS), CUSMA Professionals, and Intra-Company Transfers (ICT).

2. Global Talent Stream (GTS)

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) takes the lead as an immigration pathway designed to expedite the hiring of foreign professionals by Canadian employers.

  • Faster work permits and visas: Through GTS, eligible employers can hire skilled workers within two weeks of application submission.
  • Focus on critical tech roles: Software engineers, designers, programmers, analysts, and managers are just some of the qualifying positions under GTS.
  • Expedited LMIA for eligible employers: GTS-approved companies may qualify for a quicker Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which verifies the hiring won’t negatively impact the Canadian job market.

3. CUSMA Professionals

Under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), professionals from the United States and Mexico can obtain Canadian work permits without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This streamlined process accelerates entry into the Canadian workforce for a diverse range of professions.


From healthcare practitioners to business analysts, CUSMA provides an expedited avenue for North American talent to contribute to Canada’s diverse job market.

  • Work in Canada without an LMIA: U.S. and Mexican nationals in specific IT professions (60+) can obtain Canadian work permits faster through CUSMA.
  • A streamlined process for eligible professions: Computer systems analysts, graphic designers, technical writers, and computer engineers are some examples of CUSMA-eligible IT professions.

4. Intra-Company Transfers (ICT)

For professionals with international corporate experience, the Intra-Company Transfers (ICT) pathway serves as a seamless route to secure a Canadian work permit. Recognizing the value of cross-border expertise, this pathway allows individuals who have worked abroad for at least one year to transition to their organization’s Canadian subsidiary, affiliate, parent, or branch.

  • Work for your company’s Canadian branch: Foreign nationals employed with a company abroad for at least one year can transfer to its Canadian branch with an ICT work permit, without an LMIA.
  • Specialized knowledge opens doors: IT professionals with “specialized and proprietary knowledge” of their company’s products or operations often qualify for ICT work permits.


Exploring the top three pathways to a work permit for professionals in Canada provides a strategic approach to fulfilling career aspirations.

Whether through Express Entry’s targeted draws, the expedited processes of the Global Talent Stream, or the streamlined provisions of CUSMA and ICT, these pathways exemplify Canada’s commitment to attracting and retaining top-tier talent from around the globe across a diverse range of professions.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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