Working in Canada is the dream of many foreign nationals from all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of applications are received yearly however, only a fraction of these applications are approved. Obtaining a work permit in Canada is not as easy as it sounds. There are many precursors to getting a work permit, not to mention the rules and regulations that can make it difficult for even the most experienced skilled worker. Knowing how to apply, what documentation is needed to strengthen your case and especially knowing what to expect can make all the difference for a successful application.
As an employer in Canada or foreign worker seeking employment in Canada, you may be faced with the task of requiring what is known as a labour market opinion. Before any employer can hire a foreign worker, depending on the nature of the work, they will be required to obtain an opinion. A Labour Market Opinion that basically shows that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job offer is there are currently no Canadian workers readily available for the position.
A Labour Market Opinion is designed to demonstrate that there is a shortage of skilled Canadians able to fill their employment needs and therefore need to obtain a foreign national to do the job. A Labour Market Opinion or LMO is obtained by demonstrating recruitment efforts to Service Canada or Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, who assess this information and either provide a positive or negative opinion. If you are able to obtain a positive Labour Market Opinion, you are half of the way there.
For most positions being offered in Canada, employers who wish to hire foreign workers will require labour market opinion. However, there are few exemptions to this role, and depending on the nature of the work, a work permit may be required however, Labour Market Opinion may not be. People on the following categories need a work permit but do not need a labour market opinion:
- Workers covered under international agreements
- Participants in exchange programs
- Spouses or dependents who qualify for the pilot project being offered
- Workers nominated by a province or permanent residents
- Entrepreneurs and intra company transferees
- Religious workers
- Other, such as refugees
If you do not follow this basic list of criteria for those who do not require a Labour Market Opinion, chances are you will require one if you wish to gain employment in Canada. A Labour Market Opinion will be submitted with your application for a work permit which enables an immigration officer to determine whether your employment is likely to have a positive or negative impact on the labour market in Canada.