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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

How can I Work in Canada as a Foreign Worker

How can I Work in Canada as a Foreign Worker

Work Permit

Canada’s work permit policy gives foreign workers an opportunity to come to Canada and support their families back home and in some cases allows their spouses to come along and work and live with their spouse. According to statistics, every year more than 300,000 foreign workers come to work in Canada on Work Permits. For a foreign worker to work in Canada, it is important that they get work permit otherwise they cannot come to Canada as workers.

For foreign workers to get their work permit, an offer of employment from a Canadian employer is usually required before they could be allowed as a worker and be granted a Temporary Work Permit by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). There are various steps to this entire process. Depending upon the foreign worker's country of citizenship, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also be required in order to enter Canada.

Process of Labour Market Impact Assessment

Before a Temporary Work Permit is issued to an individual, the Canadian employer who wishes to hire a temporary foreign worker may require to apply for and be granted a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) by ESDC, which will then grant a positive LMIA if it is satisfied that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident available to do the job.

  • Work Permits may be issued by Canadian immigration officials without the LMIA requirement in certain specific conditions as mentioned below:
  • If the employee falls under international agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • If the category falls under reciprocal agreements that Canada and its provinces/territories have entered into with other countries in the world, such as teacher exchange and youth programs
  • If international students studying in Canada and deserves an opportunity to fulfill academic requirements, known as co-op placements
  • To allow the spouses/common-law partners of work permit and study permit holders in Canada to work in Canada
  • Because the nature of the work is charitable or religious

In recognition that certain persons in Canada for reasons other than the above-mentioned, such as the making of a refugee claim, need to support themselves

The Canadian Employer’s Offer

The foreign worker has to rely upon a job offer made by Canadian employer. There is the first step towards applying for a work permit. Once the Labour Market Impact assessment (LMIA) is granted, then the Canadian employer could provide a temporary job offer to the foreign worker. The employer has to send a copy of the positive LMIA along with a detailed letter for a job offer to the foreign worker.

In most cases, individuals with a job offer from a Canadian employer must secure a Temporary Work Permit to work in Canada.

A Temporary Work Permit could be issued for a specific period of time ranging from a few days to a few years. In many cases, the procedure of applying for a Work Permit has two parts. First, the Canadian employer must have the permission from the government to hire outside Canada. Once the permission is given to the employer, the designated employee must apply for and receive his or her Work Permit.

A Work Permit issued for a specific job in Canada has to be the job that the permit was issued for. An employee may only work for the employer at that specific job. In case if the employee finds different employment and does not still have the permanent resident status, then he or she must apply for a new Work Permit before doing another job in Canada.

Note that a Canada Temporary Work Permit is only for those foreign workers who plan on working in Canada on temporary basis. However, to be able to work and live in Canada on a permanent basis, a foreign worker must undergo the Canadian immigration procedure. A Temporary Work Permit could very well be a stepping stone to Canadian permanent residence. Once the foreign national is in Canada on a Temporary Work Permit, the foreign worker may qualify for Canadian immigration (permanent Residence) under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), through a Skilled Worker category, or through one of the Provincial Nominee Programs.

Applying for Work Permit from within Canada

In some cases, you can only apply for a work permit from within Canada:

  • If you are in Canada and you have already applied for permanent residence from within Canada. You will have to pass certain stages in the main application process before you could be eligible for a work permit
  • If you already have a work permit for a job but want to apply for a work permit for a different job
  • If you, your parents or spouse/partner have a valid study or work permit
  • If you have a temporary resident permit valid for six months or more

Work Permit Requirements from inside of Canada

If you are already in Canada as a visitor, you may not be able to apply within Canada. You must apply for a work permit at a Canadian visa office:

  • that is responsible for the country where you live or from
  • that is responsible for the country you are a citizen of or national of or
  • a Canadian embassy or consulate in the United States of America if you are in the US

You may be asked to attend an in-person interview at that office. In case of an interview, please make sure you have all the documents you need to enter that country.

Can your spouse or common-law partner work in Canada?

It depends on various factors. If your spouse or common-law partner wants to work in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet the same work permit requirements that you do.

Your spouse or common-law partner must apply for a work permit for a specific job through LMIA. The employer may have to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada. LMIA enables an employer to hire someone for a specific job. However, your spouse or common-law partner may also be able to apply for an open work permit which allows them to accept any job with any employer without any conditions attached—if you meet the criteria below:

  • If you are allowed to work in Canada for at least six months
  • doing work in Canada that allows you to meet a minimum skill level (usually work that requires at least a college diploma) and
  • could also be doing a job listed in Skill Level 0, A or B in the National Occupational Classification

Open work permit is normally valid for the same period as yours. In some cases, your spouse or common-law might be asked to provide with a medical exam.

Canada Work Permit Summary

  • Canadian immigration authorities are required to issue a Work Permit for a limited number of work-related activities in Canada
  • In some cases, Canadian immigration regulations do grant "Open" Work Permits, which are not employer-specific
  • A job offer from a Canadian employer is usually a prerequisite to receiving a Canadian Work Permit for a foreigner to be able to work in Canada
  • Work Permits are always temporary in nature, but can often be applied for extension from within Canada
  • Work Permits will only be granted by Canadian immigration authorities if supported by a positive "Labour Market Impact Assessment" (LMIA) letter issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
  • The issued letter of employment has to indicate that the proposed employment will not adversely affect Canadian workers

Contact Akrami & Associates:

If you want to work in Canada and want go through the process without any hassle, please do consider Akrami & Associates for all your legal needs. Our team of dedicated consultants and lawyers will take good care of you by presenting the best possible case for you and your loved ones. With Akrami & Associates there is always a way.

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