A work permit is a generic term for a legal authorization that allows a person to engage in work activities in a specific jurisdiction for a specific duration of time.
It is most often used in instances where a person is given permission to work in a country where one does not hold citizenship.
Work authorization is needed based on activities in country, duration of stay, salary and citizenship.
Many work authorization approvals are obtained in the host country through local authorities.
Criteria for obtaining work authorization varies by country and the individual set of circumstances.
While some countries use this term, the document often goes by various names. In China, it’s called an employment permit, and in the United Kingdom it’s the Certificate of Sponsorship. However, the purpose is the same in most countries.
Most work permits must be applied for in the destination country, however, there are exceptions. For example, in India the employment visa is applied for directly at the foreign consulate abroad and processing is handled by the local ministry in India.