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Work in Canada

Consistently credited as one of the top ten places to live in the world, Canada has much to offer for those that live and work there. It should be no surprise then, that foreign immigrants are also attracted to work in Canada, both as temporary immigrants and on the basis of permanent residence. In fact, with a relatively small population and the 2nd largest country in the world, Canadian immigration actively welcomes new workers to the country.

That means foreign workers in Canada are sought after, and there are several immigration programs to help them enter the country legally and work in Canada. Whatever type of work or situation, foreign workers in Canada need some kind of work permit to enable them to enter the country and work legally, which one is suitable will depend on a number of factors. Some are administered by Immigration authorities, others operate under different schemes, including international agreements such as NAFTA, or through alternative processes such as those available for post graduation foreign students or working holidays.

Temporary Work Permit


For workers who have a job offer from an employer to work in Canada, a temporary work permit may be the ideal solution. To be eligible, the employer must obtain a Labour market Impact Assessment (LMIA) that confirms that there are no Canadian or permanent resident workers available to do the job.

Once the employer has been granted the LMIA, the candidate seeking to work in Canada can then apply for a temporary work permit. Canadian immigration administration will require written confirmation of a job offer along with accompanying LMIA, and also need to pass basic security checks.  For foreign workers in Canada, the permit only applies to the specific job that is noted in the application.

Thisis a popular option due to the fast processing, while also being a great platform to enter the country and begin building a career. Those already working on such temporary work permits have numerous options that lead to permanent residence at a later date if they decide they would like to stay in Canada.

For those looking to work in Quebec, which administers its own temporary worker scheme, a further document, the Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ), may be required depending on the nature of the work.


Non-LMIA Permits


There are some situations where the need for an LMIA before Canadian immigration is allowed for a foreign worker is “waived”. There are three specific areas where foreign workers in Canada may be allowed to work in Canada without a positive LMIA and these are:

Significant Benefit


Canadian visa officers have flexibility in the LMIA process, and one area where they can waive the need for one is where the foreign worker would provide a significant benefit. There are several areas for this, for instance cultural or social benefit while others would be entrepreneurs or intra-company transfers.

Thisusually applies to those who have distinguished records in their field, who are accepted as experts or unique talents, and must be backed up by testimony from trusted experts and leaders in their particular field. 

For those who bring cultural or societal benefits that means an important, notable input into the field that would have a broader benefit to Canada as a whole.Entrepreneurs must demonstrate that their business will have a lasting and positive impact on the employment market, help grow the economy or raise the profile of Canada in a specific field.  However, as with others, to be eligible for LMIA exemption, the Entrepreneur must be able to show that their work in Canada will be temporary.

Intra-company transfers that apply to executives, managers or workers with specialized knowledge are also eligible for LMIA waivers when they work for a qualifying foreign company that has a relationship with the Canadian company they are transferring to.

Another area where LMIA may be waived is within the entertainment industry. The key to this is demonstrating that a particular performer is essential to a production. This does not necessarily mean actors or other performers but can equally apply to production staff and crew as well.

Academics, such as visiting professors and guest lecturers or researchers required for a specific project are commonly eligible for LMIA waivers too.

Please call us to find out if this is apply to your situation.

Reciprocal Employment

When Canadian workers have a similar opportunity abroad, foreign workers in Canada are able to take up positions of work in Canada without an LMIA. This includes several different arrangements for such reciprocal agreements.

International Agreements

Canada is a signatory of a number of agreements that allow foreign workers in Canada, including most notably the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The admission of these foreign workers is seen as a benefit of the agreement and as a result does not require an LMIA.

Exchange Programs

Canada values international cooperation and as such participates in a number of programs that involve youth exchange. This includes International Experience Canada (IEC), Student Co-Op programs, teacher exchange programs and several more, all of which are exempt from LMIA requirements to ensure these opportunities for foreign workers in Canada, and Canadian youth abroad, are not hindered in any way.

Charitable and Religious Work

Those foreign workers in Canada to carry out religious or charitable work are also exempt from LMIA. It is important to define who this applies to though, and for charitable causes, In Canada this is work that brings about the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or other types of aid that benefits communities. Working for a charity that is registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency as such is ideal, although it is possible to be declared a charity worker even with organizations that do not fulfill that requirement.

Religious workers are expected to share the beliefs of the religious community they intend to work with, or to have the required skills and knowledge to be considered a teacher of such beliefs.  In particular, the foreign worker in Canada should have a defined religious objective, be it the promotion of a certain faith or a committed plan for religious education.

Open Work Permits

For those in Canada on a study permit, work in Canada after graduation is the beginning of a journey to permanent resident status. Canada actively encourages talented graduates to remain and work in Canada, and it has a dedicated immigration process in place for that. The Post Graduate Work Permit allows foreign students to work in Canada for up to 3 years, providing an ideal opportunity to begin building a career in the country. Options are available to apply for permanent residence before the permit expires.

Permit Free Employment

While the examples above highlight how foreign workers in Canada must have a permit for employment, there are some areas where a permit is not required at all. This covers a variety of foreign workers in Canada, but all share similar eligibility requirements.

  • The candidate must be temporary in nature, for a fixed amount of time
  • The candidate must have no intent to enter the job market

The range of occupations available to work in Canada under this permit-free scheme includes:

  • American Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Officers
  • Athletes and Team Members
  • Aviation or Accident Investigators
  • Business Visitors
  • Civil Aviation Inspectors
  • Clergy
  • Convention Organizers
  • Crew
  • Emergency Service Providers
  • Examiners and Evaluators
  • Expert Witnesses and Investigators
  • Foreign Government Officers
  • Foreign Representatives and their Family Members
  • Health Care Students
  • Implied Status
  • In-Flight Security Officers
  • Judges, Referees, and Similar Officials
  • Military Personnel
  • News Reporters, Media Crews
  • On-Campus Employment
  • Performing Artists
  • Public Speakers

In all cases, the scope of employment is limited, and reaching beyond that could mean a work permit is required for the foreign worker in Canada to comply with Canadian immigration laws. An example of this would be a public speaker. If they are in the country to work events for up to 5 days, then no work permit is required. For longer periods than that, a permit may be necessary.

To ensure that any candidate complies with Canadian immigration requirements, consulting a specialist beforehand prevents issues occurring at a later date.

Do not waste your time! Get professional help!

At Canada For Me, we will fight for your rights and freedom. We will be able to help in any cases, only one thing you have to do is to contact us as soon as possible to have your case resolved as quickly as possible.

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