All foreign nationals require the appropriate authorization to legally work in Canada. There are a few options for securing the authorization to work: obtaining a work permit, qualifying for a work permit exemption, or becoming a Canadian permanent resident. Each of these options has a different set of eligibility requirements and application procedures.
In certain circumstances an employer may be required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to support a work permit application, or to supply a foreign national with an official job offer to support a permanent residency application. Read below to learn more about the various pathways and procedures for hiring foreign nationals to work in Canada.
There exist three broad programs enabling foreign nationals to obtain authorization to work in Canada:
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) encompasses an array of smaller immigration programs enabling foreign workers to engage in temporary employment in Canada. All programs contained within TFWP require that employers have received a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before the foreign national may apply for a work permit.
The International Mobility Program (IMP) refers to a collection of smaller programs enabling foreign nationals to engage in temporary employment in Canada. In contrast to the TFWP, all programs contained within IMP do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). IMP encompasses a collection of LMIA-exempt programs as well as a range of programs enabling foreign nationals to obtain open work permits.
Once a foreign national obtains Canadian permanent resident status, they become legally authorized to live and work anywhere in Canada. In some cases, it may be possible for a Canadian employer to assist a foreign national with obtaining permanent residency. This may be possible by providing an official job offer through one of the following permanent residency pathways:
In most cases, official job offers submitted in support of a permanent residency application must be accompanied by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, through the Global Skills Strategy, it is sometimes possible to expedite the processing of LMIA applications submitted in support of a permanent residency application.
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