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Can a refugee work in Canada?

Region: Ontario Answer # 674

Refugees are not allowed to work in Canada unless they obtain a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Most refugee claimants can apply to IRCC for a work permit once their refugee claims have been referred to the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Generally, only those who cannot pay for their basic needs without public assistance are eligible for a work permit.  Furthermore, they may need to provide IRCC with the results of a medical examination before a work permit is granted.

To apply for a work permit, an application must be completed and mailed to IRCC. Additional documents, such as a copy of a passport or travel document, must be included with the application. Also, applicants must provide:

  • proof that their Personal Information Form has been submitted to the IRB as part of their application for refugee status, or
  • a copy of the completed Personal Information Form, which was signed and stamped by the IRB.

Once a refugee has been granted a work permit from IRCC, they can apply for a social insurance number (SIN), which allows a refugee to legally work, pay taxes, and use government services. Refugee claimants do not need to pay a fee to apply for a work permit or a SIN.

Temporary changes due to COVID-19

Due to the current pandemic, the Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to various immigration programs and procedures. For the most up-to-date information, visit canada.ca.

Get help

For more information about work permits and to obtain application forms, visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. To find foreign consulates and embassies in your province, click here.

A criminal record will delay, and can even prevent you from getting your immigration status. To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and assistance with your work permit application, contact our preferred Immigration experts, Bright Immigration Consultants .

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