A step by step outline of the process for business owners, human resources managers, and those in similar roles for hiring foreign workers in Canada.
What makes employers need to hire foreign nationals or temporary foreign workers to fill job vacancies? The answer is simple. Labour and skills shortages that exist in the Canadian Labour market. Canada imports coffee because it cannot be grown here but there is a demand for it. In resource rich and booming remote communities, often it can be a challenge to recruit labour such as kitchen staff, or labourers in areas where the unemployment rate is exceptionally low ie. less than 6%.
If you oversee hiring staff and employees for your business and are struggling to find skilled or committed workers to address your labour shortage, hiring a foreign worker is a process we are highly skilled with to address your labour shortage problem.
There are two ways to bring foreign workers to Canada on a temporary basis:
1) Temporary Foreign Worker Program and;
2) International Mobility Program.
Step 1: Determine which program to pursue as an employer
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP) have one key distinction. For an employer to hire a worker under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program they must obtain a positive LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) from ESDC (Service Canada) – Employment and Social Development Canada. An LMIA is an approval document that confirms that the foreign worker is absolutely needed and that there is no available Canadian to fill the job. The International Mobility Program allows for certain categories or foreign workers to be hired without obtaining an LMIA based on an LMIA exemption code. This is because these jobs have broader cultural or social benefit to Canada and have reciprocal benefits for Canadians. For example, an LMIA exempt job for a foreign national under IMP is: “an expert on a mission working for the United Nations at the Canada office.” As you can imagine, most jobs do not fit into the International Mobility Program and the majority are required to obtain an LMIA and follow the TFWP. For that reason, the rest of these steps describe the Temporary Foreign Worker Program pathway.
To determine whether the foreign worker or job vacancy will need an LMIA, contact CIVS (Canada Immigration & Visa Services). For a list of the LMIA exemption codes that apply to the International Mobility Program, please visit this link on the Government of Canada website.
Step 2: Find a suitable foreign worker
If you have tried unsuccessfully to hire Canadian workers and are struggling with high-turnover or labour shortages, you now must find a suitable foreign worker you wish to hire. Canada is a country with less than 0.5% of the world population but has some of the greatest standards of living on earth. It is one of the best places to work, live and play on the planet which means there is a significantly large amount of people who want to come to Canada. The advantage of this is that there are many skilled and talented workers at a moment’s notice that would love the opportunity to fill a Canadian labour shortage and will do so graciously, especially if it offers them a pathway to permanent immigration. It also means, there is a lot of ineligible workers and subpar applicants to filter through.
At CIVS we are a registered employment agency and have thousands of pre-screened, eligible, diverse, suitable foreign workers and applicants with a variety of skills, the work ethic, the drive and determination to come to Canada and fill the position you are hiring for.
Step 3: Apply for an LMIA for that Worker and Position
The LMIA to be applied for is tied to the foreign worker that you wish to hire to fill the job vacancy. Applying for an LMIA is complicated process if you are not familiar with it. There are strict regulations Service Canada must see on an LMIA application including evidence that the job was first advertised to the Canadian market for a minimum for 30 days on certain specified job listing websites as well as advertised to disadvantaged Canadians. The job posting must also list certain requirements and follow a specified format amongst other things. An innocent misstep in this application process will delay the hiring of your foreign worker by a minimum of 2 months.
We’ve processed and received approval for hundreds of LMIA’s at CIVS. We can complete the entire process from start to finish to get your foreign worker the best chance at an LMIA approval in the fastest time possible to address your current, or imminent and upcoming labour shortage.
Step 4: Apply for Work Permit
Now that the Service Canada has issued your company a positive LMIA, meaning, they don’t believe the foreign worker is displacing jobs from Canadians, and the only other option for your company to address your labour shortage is to import it; a work permit must be obtained for the worker. A work permit is issued by Immigration Canada (unlike the LMIA which is issued by Service Canada – (ESDC) Employment and Social Development Canada. Work Permits give the foreign worker the right to work in Canada and will generally be approved as long as the foreign worker is backed by a positive LMIA, passes the security checks, and the application is done correctly. Work Permits can be obtained at certain ports of entry to Canada or they can be obtained by applying online. The advantage of getting a work permit at a port of entry is that it is immediate, whereas the online process can sometimes take up to 4 months or more. However, depending on the country the foreign national is coming from, application at a port of entry may require obtaining a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) first. A misstep here could cause the applicant to be barred from entering Canada or likely will result in additional travel costs and delays for them to get started working for you.
Once the worker has obtained a work permit, they are eligible to work for your company in Canada and the process is complete!
At CIVS (Canada Immigration & Visa Services) we understand all the nuances from start to finish for the process of hiring a foreign worker and offer the greatest chance at achieving an approved work permit in the shortest time possible. We take care of this entire process for the employer from:
1) Finding, pre-screening, and presenting the foreign workers and talent to you
2) Accurately submitting an LMIA application for approval to Service Canada
3) Applying and securing a Work Permit for the foreign worker using the appropriate pathway
By retaining CIVS (Canada Immigration & Visa Services), you will not be convoluted and confused with the immigration and regulation process for the foreign worker. It will be no different for you than hiring a Canadian worker. However, there are a few bottlenecks in the process for hiring a foreign worker which elongate the timeline that are all strictly dependent on the government and beyond the control of CIVS. These include: the 30-day LMIA advertising requirement, the LMIA processing time, and the work permit processing time. Therefore, it is important to plan anywhere from 3 to 8 months ahead of when there will be a future labour shortage, expansion of your company, or additional business location so that you have the workforce available, eligible to work, and ready when needed.