Canada has several work permit categories that allow Canadian companies to hire foreign talent. When determining whether or not an individual qualifies for a work permit, it is necessary to fully evaluate each individual’s situation to determine the best category in which to apply.
Among the most common Canadian work permit categories are:
Foreigners seeking to be employed in Canada require a temporary work visa. Most requests for temporary work visas are processed at designated Canadian Visa Offices. However, certain requests may be considered by immigration officers at international airports and other ports of entry into Canada.
There are no annual quotas, either per category, by national origin, or in total numbers, on the issuance of temporary work visas by the Canadian Government. To obtain a temporary work visa for an employee, the employer is usually required to seek a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), also known as Service Canada. This involves providing the Canadian Government with evidence that there is no Canadian citizen or Landed immigrant in Canada qualified to fill the job position.
The process by which a Canadian employer makes a case for hiring a non-Canadian and obtaining an LMO is cumbersome and time consuming. Citizenship and Immigration Canada, however, has recognized that there are situations in which an LMO is not necessary. The Canadian government has thus established several other LMO-Exempt routes for obtaining a temporary work visa to facilitate the prompt entry of special employees into Canada. The most common utilized temporary work visa categories are outlined below.
Prior to applying for a temporary work visa, the Canadian employer must first obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). This involves the employer presenting evidence to the Canadian government of both the unique skills of the foreign candidate as well as the lack of qualified domestic alternative. The creation of job opportunities and economic benefit to Canada resulting from the foreign worker's presence in Canada are also of importance. To establish that there are no suitable Canadian citizens or landed immigrants to fill the position, the employer may be asked to advertise the position for two weeks online and/or in print. The employer may then be subject to queries as to how many domestic candidates responded to the advertisement and why none of them were sufficiently qualified. The HRSDC official will then decide whether a positive LMO is warranted. Once approved, an LMO is forwarded to the appropriate Canadian visa office abroad. Documentary evidence concerning the foreign employee's qualification together with the appropriate application for the temporary work visa and processing fees must then be filed at the Canadian visa office.
When all is successfully completed, the candidate is issued the temporary work visa and permitted to enter Canada to work for the designated employer in the specified position.
Professional applicants who are being transferred from a foreign company to the company's Canadian based subsidiary, parent, branch or affiliate, are exempt from meeting LMO requirements. Temporary work visas for qualifying foreign employees may be obtained relatively easily at any Canadian Visa office and occasionally at a Canadian port of entry. To qualify for an employment authorization under this employment visa category, the candidate must maintain an "Executive", "Managerial" or "Specialized Knowledge" position at the foreign office for at least 12 months prior to the transfer. The employee must also be assuming a position in the same capacity at the Canadian office.
Chapter 16 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is designed to address the movement of American, Canadian and Mexican citizens within each other's territories. NAFTA focuses entirely on temporary entry and does not impact an individual's permanent admission to any of the participating countries. The NAFTA criteria on admission of professionals offers significant opportunities for the movement of foreign personnel. Qualifying applicants need not obtain an LMO and temporary work visas may be issued on the spot by a Canadian Immigration official at any international airport or port of entry into Canada.
NAFTA Professionals provide pre-arranged, salaried or contracted employment services to Canadian enterprises. Their services may be directly engaged by the Canadian employer or they may be retained pursuant to a contract between the Canadian employer and its Mexican or US trading partner.
There are over 60 eligible professions listed in APP 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA. Each applicant must possess an offer of employment from a Canadian enterprise. The applicant must demonstrate that he/she possesses the academic and /or practical qualifications in the specified profession and must perform duties within the ambit of his/her respective profession in Canada.
Canadian employers seeking to employ foreign workers whose employment in Canada would result in a significant benefit to the nation, to a Canadian industry, to the national economy or Canadian people in general, are exempt from the requirement of obtaining an LMO. In such instances, an application for a temporary work visa may be made directly to a Canadian Visa office.
This is a wide open and discretionary employment visa category. Visa officers reviewing such applications look for high-level candidates with sophisticated specialties, whose employment will give a competitive edge to a Canadian company.
Once a foreign national has been working in Canada for two years, s/he may be eligible to apply for permanent residence to Canada under the Canadian Experience Class.
For further information with respect to US and Canadian immigration or to find out if you or a company employee is eligible for temporary or permanent relocation to Canada or the US, we invite you to contact our experienced immigration lawyers and attorneys by contacting the Bomza Law Group at:
1-800-993-9971 or by clicking here: “Contact Us”.