Work Permit

As a refugee claimant, you have the right to apply for a work permit while a decision is being made on your case.

Refugee claimants can only legally work in Canada if they have a work permit that is issued by CIC. You can order an application form over the phone at CIC or download it from their web page.


Before you can apply for a work permit you must check the following:

  • Have you completed your immigration medical exams?
  • Have the results of those exams been received by CIC in Ottawa?  You can check by calling the CIC Call Centre (1-888-242-21000) or ask a VRSA staff member to help with this.
  • Have you, or your lawyer, sent your PIF (Personal Information Form) to the IRB?


IMPORTANT:  DO NOT send your work permit application if the medical exams have not been received by CIC in Ottawa. This will cause your application to be refused, you will have to re-apply and it will cause more delays in the process.


Points to remember:

Answer ALL the questions in the application form and make sure to include the following documents with the application:

  • A copy of the letter from your lawyer, confirming that the PIF has been sent to the IRB
  • A copy of the last welfare cheque stub, if you are receiving Income Assistance
  • A copy of your passport with the pages showing all your information and any stamp from CIC showing recent entry to the country.
  • A copy of your Refugee Claim Eligibility Document *(internal link to CIC docs.)