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3. Finding Internationally Trained Workers
3.2.2 Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Recruitment: Finding Internationally Trained Workers
The federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows you to hire eligible internationally trained workers to work in Canada for an authorized period of time.
- Before you start recruiting, you must demonstrate that you are unable to find Canadians or permanent residents to fill the jobs, and that the entry of new foreign workers will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market.
- In most cases, there are four steps involved in hiring a temporary foreign worker from outside Canada.
- The number of steps will depend on the specifics of the job offer, and on the foreign worker’s country of citizenship and last place of permanent residence.
Steps for Employers
Step 1: Determine if you require a labour market opinion (LMO)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada considers labour market opinions (LMOs) when deciding whether to issue work permits to foreign workers. An LMO is an assessment of the impact that hiring a foreign worker would have on Canadian jobs. It seeks to ensure that people in Canada have first access to available jobs and that employers pay and treat foreign workers fairly.
Most job categories require an LMO but some do not. Contact a Citizenship and Immigration Canada Temporary Foreign Worker Unit to check if your job offer is exempt. You will likely need to provide them with details about the position before they can advise you.
- You can get an LMO for one worker or position, or approval in principle for a series of positions. This might be helpful if you need to recruit a large number of people.
Step 2: Apply for a labour market opinion (if applicable)
If the job you’re offering requires an LMO, complete an LMO application and submit it to the Service Canada centre in your region.
Service Canada will send you a letter of confirmation.
- If the LMO is positive or neutral, send the foreign worker a copy of this letter, a signed job offer and an employment contract (if applicable). The worker will use these documents to apply for a Canadian visa (if it is required) and a work permit. Note that a positive or neutral LMO does not guarantee a visa, a work permit or entry into Canada.
- If the LMO is negative, you are advised not to continue the process for hiring a foreign worker. You may request a review of the decision at a later date if you have new information.
Steps for Foreign Workers
Step 3: Complete the work permit application
Most foreign workers or candidates must apply for and obtain a work permit and visa from Citizenship and Immigration Canada before they can work in Canada.
- Work permits are not required for all job categories. Check jobs that do not require a work permit before you advise candidates about applying.
- Some countries do not require their citizens to obtain visas to enter Canada on a temporary basis. Check Countries and territories whose citizens require visas in order to enter Canada as visitors for a list that covers all temporary visa types.
The procedures for acquiring these documents may differ depending on the visa office contacted. The foreign worker must submit applications to the applicable visa office–the office that serves his or her country of origin, or the country in which he or she legally resided for at least one year.
- To find the applicable visa office, go to Where to send your application.
- Note that applicants already working in Canada temporarily should submit their applications to the visa office in Buffalo, New York.
Information the worker will need to provide usually includes:
- information concerning the identity of the candidate;
- a copy of the job offer or signed employment contract;
- the labour market opinion;
- photographs of the worker and any accompanying family;
- proof of the applicant’s present immigration status;
- a medical examination; and
- a criminal background check.
An application fee will be collected from the applicant.
Step 4: Obtain the work permit from the Canada Border Services Agency officer at a port of entry
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) grants foreign workers their work permits at ports of entry.
- Workers may be denied a work permit or entry into Canada if the CBSA officer believes that they do not meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
- A work permit is usually valid only for a specified job, employer and period of time.
- Processing times for visa and work permit applications vary.
- A visa must be granted before the applicant leaves his or her home country.
- Employers and foreign workers must provide accurate and complete information or the application process may be delayed.