Let’s face the fact that everyone is looking for an opportunity to JAPA! Don’t show that face of yours here like you are not one of them. Though I am not trying to skin you out. But for you to have opened this post on How to Apply for a Canadian Work Visa then, I am sure that you are looking for opportunities to work in Canada but somehow unsure how to navigate the visa process from Nigeria?
This post is written just to walk you through the entire application process – from finding a job offer to submitting your documents to obtaining final visa approval.
This post ( How to Apply for a Canadian Work Visa ) outline exactly what to expect from start to finish so you can get the ball rolling.
How to Apply for a Canadian Work Visa from Nigeria
Whether for a skilled employment, continuing your post-graduate studies, or just wanting an adventure abroad through a working holiday, Canada has options for you to experience living and working there legally as a Nigerian citizen.
Even if you are working to temporarily relocate for an exciting job opportunity in Canada, but uncertain how to tackle the visa application process from Nigeria? Well a lot of people face this challenge daily. We’ll make sure you understand all requirements for Nigerians and provide tips to strengthen your application.
Stage 1: You Have to Decide on the Appropriate Work Visa Category
There are multiple temporary Canadian work visa programs available today, with each having differing requirements based on your situation and intentions abroad.
Some of the options available are:
Skilled Worker Visa – For legal employment in professional occupations where you already have a qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer. An approved Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will be mandatory.
International Experience Canada Program – This special work exchange program doesn’t initially require arranged employment. It allows those 18-35 years old to live and work freely in Canada for up to 2 years. Promotes cultural exchange and lets you finance future travels through temporary jobs secured after arrival.
Study Permit – If pursuing degree studies as an international student at one of Canada’s top educational institutions, you can work limited hours during academic sessions and full-time hours during breaks.
IEC Working Holiday Visa – For young adults looking to work while experiencing Canada by living in different cities. No job offer required initially.
NAFTA Work Permit – For USA/Mexico citizens to work in certain occupations like engineering, sciences, etc.
There are a few additional niche work permit categories too. So you have to select whichever aligns best in your situation before proceeding.
Ensure you consult Canada’s website to identify which visa allows the type of work you are pursuing abroad.
The subsequent steps will vary depending on the stream you select.
Stage 2: Secure a Job Offer from a Canadian Employer
For some work visa routes like the Skilled Trades category, you must obtain a bonafide employment offer from a Canada-based employer willing to act as visa sponsor first.
So, you must first obtain a concrete job offer from an employer located in Canada with most Canadian work visa categories. This is employer will be your visa sponsor later on.
The hiring process is the same as applying for any position – submit your CV, interview, negotiate salary and start date, etc. The Key things you must look out for in your Canadian employers include:
- Willingness to support foreign worker visa applications
- Positions in fields eligible under visa programs
- Companies operating under Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) permits when required for your visa type
Also, be clear on logistics – location and size of company, whether remote or on-site work is expected, if any relocation allowance is provided, etc.
Having a written job offer is mandatory before submitting your work visa application in most cases.
This written job offer will detail:
- Position responsibilities
- Location within Canada
- Company information
- Salary and benefits
- Contract duration
- Other key terms and commitments
This verifies that a legitimate temporary job awaits your arrival. The hiring process involves typical steps like interviews, negotiating details, confirming eligibility requirements upfront, etc.
If you’ll be working in a regulated occupation, ensure the employer can secure a LMIA if mandatory based on the work visa program policies.
Stage 3: Employer Applies for a Labour Market Impact Assessment
In visa categories like the Skilled Worker Program where an LMIA is mandatory, the employer must have to apply for this assessment through Employment and Social Development Canada for a LMIA confirming:
- Hiring you will not negatively impact Canadian citizens or permanent residents seeking the role.
- They were unable to find local qualified candidates to fill the position.
- Your compensation & working conditions meet all program standards.
The LMIA usually takes 2-4 months with C$1,000 fee paid by the employer. When approved, keep this document to submit later with your visa application.
Stage 4. Prepare All Necessary Documents
While waiting on the LMIA, begin compiling all documentation required to include in your eventual work permit application submission:
Requirements for a Nigeria to Canada Work Visa
To apply for and obtain approval for a Canadian work visa from Nigeria, the following documentation must be included in your application submission:
Valid Passport – Your passport must remain valid for a minimum of six months beyond your planned return from Canada, with at least two blank pages for the visa documents.
Photos – Include two recent passport-sized photographs that meet typical visa photo requirements with full front image of face and solid background.
Financial Statement – Bank records from the past 3 months detailing available account balances, income deposits via job payslips, and documentation on any applicable investments owned.
Tax Returns – Provide personal income tax return records filed over recent years.
Employment Verification – Enclose records from your employer(s) detailing your current or previous positions with job duties, length of employment, salary payments.
Accommodations Bookings – Include confirmation of accommodations in Canada spanning the full duration of your planned stay.
Flight Itinerary – Provide return plane ticket reservation, even if exact travel dates are still to be determined.
NOC Letter (if applicable) – Nigerian government employees require No Objection Certificate to exit the country issued by their Department.
Permit application form – Form IMM 1295 completed according to instructions provided online.
$155 CAD application fee – Confirm payment accepted via online processing system listed on latest application version.
Education & skills proof – Degrees, certificates, training credentials related to job offer.
Job offer letter & contract – Signed formal document from the sponsoring Canadian employer.
Additional Applicable Documentation
Retired applicants should provide pension letters and related documentation verifying details.
Married applicants also must provide marriage certificates issued by appropriate government institution.
Fulfilling and providing complete records on all mandated requirements creates the strongest application case for securing work visa approval.
You contact the High Commission of Canada with any questions on application expectations for your specific situation. And any other documents required by the specific work permit program policies.
Stage 5: Finalize Then Submit Entire Work Visa Application
Double check that you:
- Completed all forms fully and accurately
- Included every required application item on IRCC’s checklist
- Made photocopies of all documents to retain
Then mail complete paper application to the responsible Canadian visa office for your region. This includes forms, passport, job contracts, LMIA, application receipts, financial statements, biometrics confirmation, education credentials, photos, reference letters, etc.
Submitting online is not yet available for Nigerian applicants. Track mail delivery to ensure your documents arrive as expected at the visa office.
Stage 6. Submit Mandatory Biometrics Provided in Nigeria
Nigerian citizens must provide fingerprints and a photo captured at an approved IRCC biometrics collection centre when submitting a work visa application. This short appointment verifies identity.
After submitting your application, you will receive a Biometrics Instruction Letter by mail. Follow directions to schedule your biometrics appointment and remember to bring:
- Biometrics referral letter
- Original passport
- Photocopies of passport pages
- Two new passport photos
Submit fingerprints and digital photo as instructed. This fulfills biometric requirements.
Stage 7. Complete Mandatory Medical Exam
Finally, Nigerians must also undergo an Immigration Medical Exam from an IRCC-designated physician before their work visa application can be processed. This confirms you meet health standards and monitors communicable diseases.
Your Biometrics Letter will contain Medical Instructions to guide scheduling exams. Testing confirms you do not have:
- Other dangerous communicable diseases
With clean results, medical docs are valid for 12 months.
Stage 8. Review Then Submit Final Application
Now you should have:
- Completed visa application form
- Necessary supporting materials based on visa stream
- Valid passport
- Biometrics confirmation
- Medical exam clearance
Double check all forms are filled out properly with accurate details. Confirm visa category chosen aligns with your situation and that you included every document on IRCC’s checklist.
Photocopy everything for your records before mailing your final paper application to the Visa Application Centre in Lagos or Abuja. Include application form, all supporting documents, passport, photos, biometrics confirmation, medical results, job offer letters, LMIA if required, etc.
Submitting online is not yet available for Nigerian work visa applicants. Don’t forget to track your physical application to ensure delivery.
Application Processing and Wait Times
Once your complete work visa application is delivered, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will commence processing.
Standard processing times average 12+ weeks for most applications submitted from Nigeria. Avoid contacting IRCC to inquire unless your application exceeds this timeframe.
During processing, you may be asked to provide further information if anything is ambiguous or lacking from your application. Respond promptly to additional requests to aid your case.
If ultimately approved, your passport with the temporary work visa affixed will be returned by mail. Read all provided instructions closely. Notify your employer you can now finalize travel plans!
Tips to Maximize Chances for Work Visa Approval
While applying from Nigeria adds complexity, you can maximize chances of Canadian work visa approval by:
- Finding employment with a company willing and eligible to support foreign hires
- Choosing the appropriate work visa category matching your situation
- Thoroughly completing all application forms and questionnaires
- Compiling the full checklist of required supporting documents
- Meeting all additional application criteria for Nigerian nationals
- Carefully reviewing all application items prior to formal submission
The process has several more hurdles compared to other countries. But being diligent, patient and prepared to satisfy additional requirements will serve you extremely well throughout the journey.
You are now equipped precisely on How to Apply for a Canadian Work Visa from Nigeria. Best of luck securing an exciting opportunity abroad soon.