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Religious Work Permit: Work without a Work Permit in Canada

Religious Work Visa (Clergy Work Authorization) program allows religious workers to work and live in Canada on a temporary basis without a work permit. The foreign nationals applying through Religious Work Visa program are expected to perform duties such as advancing the spiritual teachings of a religious faith, providing spiritual counselling, preaching of doctrine or presiding over public worship once in Canada. 

Religious work permit usually requires the foreign national to be a member of, or share the beliefs of, the religious community where they will work, or to be able to teach or communicate religious beliefs, as required by the employer. 

Requirements For Religious Work Permit

The following are the eligibility requirements when applying for a Clergy Work Visa in Canada:

  • Genuine job offer from a religious organization
  • Proof of the applicants ability to minister  a congregation in the applicable religious denomination
  • Meet the Health requirements

The proof of the religious organization may be assessed in some instances, to check the genuineness of the employer for the religious worker. This involves the incorporation documents, proof of registration as charity or non-profit organization (if applicable), details about the make-up and size of the congregation and some financial statements. 

Reasons to apply for a Work Permit as a Religious worker

Though a religious worker (clergy) does not have to apply for a work permit, candidates may still want to apply for some reasons. 

  • Constant Religious Visa Permit renewal. An applicant through Clergy Work Authorization gets a 6-month temporary visa, which cannot be sufficient for those who desire to stay and work permanently in the religious office. 
  • Spouse companionship and work permit. Religious workers who want to come to Canada along with their spouses can grant their spouses the ability to apply for an Open Work Permit to be able to accompany them and work legally during their stay in Canada. Also, your children can study in Canada who are in pre-school, primary or secondary levels, without having a study permit

The religious worker with the above reasons in mind, can choose to apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit under exemption code C-50. Having a real work permit can add some additional points up-to 50 points when a religious worker wants to apply for Permanent Residency. 

Processing time for Religious Work Permit application

The processing time for a Canada Religion Visa is usually around 1 to 3 months, depending on different circumstances the application can take longer. In some cases, an applicant can be in Canada while the Religious Worker Permit is being processed.

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Got questions about Religious Work Permit? You’re covered.

Yes, an applicant can apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit while in Canada after coming through a work without a work permit authorization, Religious Work Permit. With this work permit, an applicant can acquire an open work permit for the spouse as well as study permit for the children in pre-school, primary, and secondary level.

An applicant can apply for permanent residence as a Skilled Worker under Canada’s Express Entry system, or as a Provincial Nominee in some provinces like British Columbia if your ministry will sponsor you. 

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