Over 300,000 Foreign Workers Immigrate to Canada Every Year!
In order to work in Canada on a temporary basis, foreign skilled workers must have a temporary offer of employment from a Canadian employer and be granted a Temporary, Foreign Worker Permit by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
If you or a family member are applying for a PR card, you can also apply via an ‘Open Work’ permit, and if you are American or Mexican, you can fast track the working visa process via the NAFTA agreement.
There are four basic steps to getting a temporary Canadian Work Visa:
- Employer applies for labour market opinion (if necessary)
- Employer extends temporary job offer to foreign workers
- Foreign skilled worker applies for work permit
- Work permit is issued
Step 1 Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) formerly LMOs
Before applying for a temporary Canadian Work Visa, in most cases, you need to qualify for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIAs) previously called an LMO from Service Canada. A temporary tourist visa will not provide eligibility to work within Canada
What is the difference between LMOs and LMIAs?
The procedure involved in obtaining an LMIA is similar to LMOs, but there are significant differences.:
- High Wage Positions
- The application forms have changed from the old LMOs and are more extensive
- Employers must complete a ‘transition plan’ that will explain how they intend to permanently fill the job being held by the temporary foreign worker;
- Employers are required to keep more detailed records during the foreign worker’s stay in Canada;
Individual applications will be processed more quickly.
Foreign workers in skilled trades, high paid workers with salaries in the top 10% of Canadian earnings, and employees immigrating for 120 days or less will all receive LMIA decisions in 10 business days;
A new time limit for high-wage Canadian temporary work permits may be imposed, but has not yet been announced.
For Low-Wage LMIAs
The procedures and criteria involved for Low-Wage LMIAs are somewhat different than for High-Wage LMIAs. More restrictions are imposed on Low-Wage job offers than are high wage as follows:
Positive LMIAs for low-wage jobs will now allow employers to hire a foreign worker for only one year at a time.
For organizations with more than ten employees, low-wage foreign workers can make up no more than 10% of the workforce.
Transitional measures will apply to employers whose workforces do not comply with this new rule.
Canadian companies in the accommodation and food service sector as well as the retail trade sector will no longer be allowed to apply for LMIAs for jobs in ten lower-skill occupations.
As with high-wage LMIA applications, Canadian companies must now qualify with a higher application fee, complete longer application forms, and keep detailed records about their recruitment practices.
Who does not need to apply for an LMIA?
As in the case of the old LMOs, Canadian employers can recruit some TFWs without an LMIA. The following are categories where temporary work permits are LMIA exempt:
- Skilled Workers covered under the NAFTA agreement;
- Intra-Company Transferees;
- International Experience Canada participants (also known as Working Holiday Permit holders);
- Post-Graduate temporary work permit holders;
- Bridging Open Work Permit holders; and
- Participants in private academic exchanges such as postdoctoral fellows and visiting professors.
- Programs such as those above have now been reclassified as ‘International Mobility Programs.’
Also, beginning in summer 2015 employers hiring through some International Mobility Programs must have their job offers approved by a Canadian visa office before their hired employees can request a Canadian temporary work permit. The processing fee for the job offer approval application will be $230.
Step 2: Employer Extends Temporary Job Offer
The employer must send a copy of the positive LMIA along with a detailed ‘job offer letter’ to the foreign skilled worker.
Canadian companies are required by CIC to prepare a formal employment contract or what our industry refers to as the ‘Job Offer Letter,’ which must include:
- Job title for the position
- Job description
- Requirements for the temporary position
- Details about start and end dates
- Specifics about the salary
- The name and address of the employer
Canada Service Agency will ensure that the job offer is legit and real. Once the Canadian immigration department has confirmed the job offer with an LMIA, then the CIC will grant employment authorization for the company’s future employees to work in Canada.
Once the LMIA is granted, the Canadian employer can extend a temporary job offer to the foreign skilled worker.
Step 3: Foreign Skilled Worker Applies For a Work Permit
Once you have your LMIA and ‘Job Offer Letter’ squared away, you then can apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit. If the employer that is hiring you is in the province of Quebec, then you may also need to obtain a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) in order to work temporarily in Quebec.
In some cases, when applying for a temporary foreign worker permit, you will be required to attend an interview with a visa officer. If the visa officer is satisfied that the foreign worker’s employment will not adversely affect employment in Canada for Canadians and that the foreign worker qualifies for the position, then a Canada Work Permit will be issued.
Note: In some cases, applicants from certain countries will be required to undergo medical examinations.
Step 4. Get Issued a Canadian Temporary Work Permit
A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will issue the Canadian Temporary Work Permit at the point of entry when the skilled foreign worker arrives in Canada. Depending on the foreign worker’s country of citizenship, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also need to be obtained in order to enter Canada.