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Question: I am in Canada visiting family. Now that I’m here, I would like to stay and work. My Aunt can get me a job at her office. Do I need a work visa first?

Answer: Before you can begin working at any job in Canada, you need to determine if you require a work permit. In general, only Canadians and Permanent Residents can work in Canada without a work permit. The Canadian government considers work to be an activity for which compensation, wages or another form, are paid. Also, if the activity is something for which a Canadian would normally be paid or from which they would gain job experience, then it is probably work.

Unfortunately, while you can continue to visit your family in Canada until the end of your allowed time, you will not be allowed to work without a work permit. Even if you are willing to take the position without pay, it is probably a job that Canadians consider work and would expect to be paid for. The Canadian Government expects that employment opportunities will be made available to Canadians and permanent residents first.

Now that you know you need to get a work permit, you will need to find out if you can qualify for one. To find out more about who can qualify for work permits, and how, visit