The Religious or Charitable Work visa is a well-suited option for applicants seeking to carry out duties for a Canadian religious or charitable organization. The Religious or Charitable Work visa allows applicants to work and live in Canada, and gain valuable Canadian work experience while receiving temporary admission to Canada. These work visa holders must have the required experience, credentials, and skills necessary for the position they intend to hold.

Once granted, the Religious or Charitable Work visa program allows the entry of foreign workers to Canada on a temporary basis to carry out duties for religious or charitable organizations. Working on a Religious or Charitable Work visa may allow applicants to gain eligibility for permanent residence.

Religious or Charitable Work Visa Basic Requirements

Applicants for this visa must provide documentation supporting the legitimacy of the offer of employment, information about the Canadian employer, and their ability to work with or minister to the specified group. They must also meet basic visa requirements such as health and character.

Requirements for work considered charitable or religious, include the following conditions:

  • The applicant will receive a stipend for living expenses from the employer;
  • The organization which is sponsoring the worker will not receive remuneration from any source for the services to be rendered by the foreign worker; and
  • The work to be performed extends beyond normal work provided in the labour market.

Persons seeking to work as clergy and whose employment will consist of preaching doctrine, presiding at liturgical functions, or providing spiritual counseling as an ordained minister, layperson, or member of a religious order may also apply for this visa.

Religious or Charitable Work Visa Entitlements

Once a Religious or Charitable Work visa has been issued, applicants will be allowed to live and work in Canada for a specified period of time, generally between 1-37 months.

The foreign worker’s spouse and dependent children may be eligible in certain cases to work and study during the stay. While dependent on the specific job offer, it may be possible to renew or extend the temporary work permit if they wish to continue working in Canada.

A Religious or Charitable Work visa may assist them towards permanent residence and may be processed in tandem with a permanent residency application, which could allow applicants to stay in Canada once the application has been approved.