Most foreign nationals need an open or employer-specific Work Permit to work in Canada. To work means to enter a Canadian labour market, not simply conducting international business activities for the remuneration paid from a source outside Canada. In general terms, Canadian economic and social development policy prescribes that a foreign national can be authorized to work in Canada only if the Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada are not qualified to perform the job offered.
LMIA or a Labour Market Impact Assessment is a document that an employer in Canada may require to get before hiring a foreign worker. If the labor market impact assessment shows that there is no Canadian worker available to do the job and it requires a foreign worker to fill it, the employee will get a positive LMIA. But he or she must apply for one and hire the temporary worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP). And only after that can the worker submit an application for a work permit.
NOTE: To apply for a work permit, a worker must have a job offer letter, a contract, a copy of the LMIA, and the LMIA number. If you are an employer from Quebec, your work candidate may also need to get a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Quebec government.
Do you need a LMIA?
Before hiring an international worker, you need to find out if you need a LMIA. We recommend that you review LMIA exemption codes.
The International Mobility Program (IMP) makes exemptions from the LMIA process based on:
- wide cultural, economic, or other competitive advantages for Canada;
- mutual benefits of permanent residents and Canadians.
How to apply for LMIA
Let’s go though the LMIA requirements for submitting an offer of employment. In most cases, you must pay the employer a compliance fee and submit an offer of employment form through the Employer Portal. However, if your job candidate has an open work permit, you do not need to pay the employer compliance fee or submit an offer of employment form. Because a person with such work permit can work legally for any employer in Canada.
To be sure, we advise you to check employer compliance fee exemptions and find an exemption code that applies to your situation. You will need it for completing the offer of employment form.
After submitting an offer of employment and waiting the LMIA processing time, you will receive an offer of employment number. You must give this number to the prospective candidate that you plan to hire and he will be able to complete the work permit application. If the application is approved, the worker will receive LOI (a letter of introduction) if they are outside of Canada or a new work permit if they are in Canada at the time of entry.
Other important hiring information
- Some temporary workers may need a TRV or an eTA to enter Canada. That depends on their country of citizenship.
- Depending on the sort of employment, they may have to undergo a medical examination during the application process.
- We emphasize that temporary workers should check with their government authorities for the requirements before they attempt to leave.