Each year, more than 300,000 foreign workers come to work in Canada on Temporary Work Permits.
In order to work in Canada on a temporary basis, most foreign workers require a work permit.
For foreign workers, an offer of employment from a Canadian employer is usually required before the worker may be granted a Temporary Work Permit by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). There are several steps to this process. Depending upon the foreign worker's country of citizenship, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also need to be obtained in order to enter Canada.
- Step 1: Employer applies for Labour Market Impact Assessment, if necessary.
- Step 2: Employer extends Temporary Job Offer.
- Step 3: Foreign Worker applies for Work Permit.
- Step 4: Work Permit is issued.
Step 1: Employer applies for Labour Market Impact Assessment, if necessary.
Before a Temporary Work Permit can be issued, the Canadian employer who wishes to hire a temporary foreign worker may need to apply for and be granted a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) by ESDC, which will grant a positive LMIA if it is satisfied that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available to do the job.
Work Permits may be issued by Canadian immigration officials without the LMIA requirement in a limited number of situations, as follows:
- Under international agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
- Due to the significant economic, social or cultural benefits the work activity will bring to Canadians;
- As part of reciprocal agreements Canada and its provinces/territories have entered into with other countries, such as youth and teacher exchange programs;
- So that international students studying in Canada can fulfill academic requirements, known as co-op placements;
- To allow the spouses/common-law partners of Work Permit and certain Study Permit holders in Canada to work in Canada;
- Because the nature of the work is charitable or religious;
- In recognition that certain persons in Canada for reasons other than the above-mentioned, such as the making of a refugee claim, need to support themselves.
Step 2: Employer extends Temporary Job Offer.
Once the LMIA is granted, the Canadian employer can provide a temporary job offer to the foreign worker. The employer must send a copy of the positive LMIA along with a detailed job offer letter to the foreign worker.
Step 3: Foreign Worker applies for Work Permit.
With these documents, the foreign worker can apply to ESDC for a Canada Temporary Work Permit.
If the Canadian employer that is hiring is in the province of Quebec, the foreign worker may also need to obtain a Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) in order to work temporarily in Quebec. There are a number of professions in Quebec that are 'facilitated' and eligible for streamlined processing. Local recruitment efforts do not need to be performed by employers as part of their applications to hire temporary foreign workers for these positions in Quebec.
Step 4: Work Permit is issued.
A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will issue the Canada Temporary Work Permit at the point of entry when the foreign worker arrives in Canada.
Do you have a Canadian job offer and need a Work Permit?
In almost all cases, individuals with a job offer from a Canadian employer must secure a Temporary Work Permit to perform work in Canada.
A Temporary Work Permit may be issued for a period of time ranging from a few days to a few years. In most cases, the process of applying for a Work Permit is twofold. First, the Canadian employer must receive government permission to hire outside Canada. Once this permission has been granted, the designated employee must apply for and receive hi or her Work Permit.
A Work Permit granted for a specific job in Canada will be tied to that job. Consequently, an employee may only work for the employer specified on his or her Work Permit. If he or she finds different employment and does not yet have permanent resident status, he or she must apply for and receive a new Work Permit before performing another job in Canada.
There are a number of different ways to secure a Work Permit. Depending on one’s nationality, occupation, and intended work in Canada, there may be possibilities for expediting the process.
Work in Canada: Basic Facts
- For Canadian immigration purposes, "work" is defined as an activity for which remuneration is earned or as an activity that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.
- Canadian immigration authorities require a Work Permit to be issued for a limited number of work-related activities in Canada.
- A job offer from a Canadian employer is usually a prerequisite to receiving a Canadian Work Permit.
- In some instances, Canadian immigration regulations allow forOpen Work Permits, which are not employer-specific.
- Work Permits are always temporary in nature, but can often be extended from inside Canada.
- Normally, Work Permits will only be granted by Canadian immigration authorities if supported by a positive "Labour Market Impact Assessment" (LMIA) letter issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), indicating that the proposed employment will not adversely affect Canadian workers.