Foreign Worker by Sharon Ben-Arie

Foreign Worker by Sharon Ben-Arie / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY

As a Canadian employer, you have the incredible opportunity to choose from a diverse pool of international workforce candidates. Why not take advantage of the unique experience and skills that are within arm's reach in?

If you are thinking of hiring a non-Canadian, read on to find out the basic requirements. The process doesn't have to be overly complicated


Do you need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

Put simply, this is an application that you need to submit to Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) before you hire a foreign worker.

By seeking a positive LMIA from the government, you confirm that you tried to find a Canadian worker to do the job, but couldn't. Therefore, you need to hire a foreign worker and that will not have a negative impact on Canadian workers

Be aware, however, that while there are some categories of employees that do not require an LMIA, all foreigners do need a work permit.

Even if you see that the person you want to hire falls into one of the categories that requires an LMIA, double check by sending an LMIA exemption opinion request to Service Canada. The administration is notorious for making quick changes without prior notice or further explanation, and this may work to your advantage.

If after all that you do need to apply for an LMIA, keep in mind that while the application is not that complicated, you will receive an answer in no sooner than three months. Just remember: all this hassle is to convince the government that you tried but still couldn't find a Canadian to meet your requirements for the position.


These four employment categories generally require LMIAs:

  • Live-in Caregivers
  • Seasonal Agricultural Workers
  • Lower-Skilled Occupations (e.g. chambermaids, restaurant serving staff, factory workers, drivers, etc.)
  • High-Skilled Occupations (managers, scientists, architects, physicians, dentists, engineers, etc.)


Service of Canada will take under consideration the following points:

  • The occupation for which you need a foreign worker
  • The wages and work conditions you are offering
  • Proof that you advertised the position, and still couldn't find a suitable Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • How hiring a foreign worker beneficial to the local labour market.
  • Evidence that you consulted with organized labour if that particular position is part of a bargaining unit.
  • Is the entry of the foreign worker likely to affect an ongoing labour dispute?

It is crucial for the approval of your application to offer a fair wage to the foreign worker. For instance, if the yearly salary for the job is normally $50,000, but you decide to pay $35,000, your LMIA will be rejected. You need to treat the foreign worker as you would a Canadian.

If the LMIA is positive, Service Canada will issue a response in writing. You can send it to the foreign worker along with a copy of a signed job offer and an employment contract, if any.

Armed with all those documents, the foreign worker must apply for a work permit. He or she can do so at a visa office abroad, a port of entry, or from within Canada if applicable.

However, keep in mind that there are certain people who are not required to obtain a work permit, check the list here.

The bad news: sometimes even a positive LMIA cannot guarantee that a work permit will be issued. This happens most often when the authorities believe that the foreign worker does not meet the qualifications for the job. Take a look at some of the reasons for Canadian work permit refusal (Tweet this!):

  • if the applicant has a criminal record
  • if the applicant is deemed to pose a security risk
  • if the applicant has failed a medical examination
  • if the applicant could not convince the visa officer that after the employment contract ends, he or she will leave Canada.

You, as the potential employer, may appeal or provide additional information that you think may change the situation.

As a Canadian employer, you can hire foreign workers on a permanent or temporary basis. The following are your hiring options:


Permanent Solutions

  1. Arranged Employment. Foreigners can apply through the Federal Skilled Worker category and prove that they have a permanent full-time job offer from a Canadian employer. People who have completed a PhD in a Canadian university as well as PhD candidates have a good chance of being granted a permanent resident visa. The arranged employment option does not ask that you prove that you couldn't find a Canadian citizen to fill the position.
  2. Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP). Check if the province or territory where your business is located has such a program. It's usually used to recruit foreign workers who want to settle as permanent residents. If you operate in a province which has a PNP for foreign skilled workers, you can speed up the process. Depending on your needs, it's good to know that the PNP allows for lower-skilled positions nominations. No minimum skill requirements. But, you may have to prove that there are no qualified Canadians or permanent residents for the position.
  3. Canadian Experience Class. If you already have foreign workers in your ranks who are employed on a temporary basis, you can offer them full-time employment. They may easily qualify for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class. It's easier for them, because the authorities believe that those candidates who already have Canadian work experience have found their place in Canadian society and have established good connections within their communities and work places.


Temporary Work Permit

This is a good option if you want to expand your staff with temporary workers. Each year some 200,000 skilled workers enter Canada on temporary work permits. After an LMIA is granted, you can extend a temporary job offer. The temporary work permit may be issued for a period of time ranging from a few days to a few years.


Ask IMMIgroup for help to avoid any setbacks, and get the foreign workers you need to make your business flourish. Start now!


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