If you are a Canadian business that wants to hire a foreign worker, the worker must have a work permit or be eligible to apply for a work permit.
What is a work permit?
A work permit is a status document issued by IRCC that allows people from other countries to work in Canada.
There are two types of work permits: closed work permits and open work permits. A closed work permit specifies the occupation, employer, work location, or all. On the other hand, an open work permit has no restrictions.
Hiring foreign workers
If the worker already has an open work permit, you can hire the worker. Sometimes, you can also hire international students who have a study permit because they are authorized to work while completing their studies. Last but not least, you may hire people with a letter from IRCC authorizing them to work because they have applied for a work permit or a work permit extension.
If your potential worker has one of the above documents, you may hire them as long as they meet your employment needs.
Otherwise, before a worker can work for you, they will need to apply for a work permit.
Note that even if the job is unpaid, often the worker still needs a work permit. For example, when the worker completes an internship.
How can you help a worker get a work permit?
Essentially, there are two pathways to help your potential candidate get a work permit if they are not eligible for an open work permit:
You offer a job that is supported by Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), or
You offer a job that is LMIA-exempt.
In other words, without a valid job offer, your potential worker cannot apply for a work permit. Further, if your worker is not eligible for an open work permit or LMIA-exempt work permit, you then must apply for an LMIA before the worker can apply for a work permit.
What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?
An LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Services Canada (ESDC) to employers in Canada. It allows them to hire foreign workers. The purpose of the LMIA is to demonstrate they have the employment need and to ensure they have tried to recruit Canadian citizens and PRs.
You must meet certain requirements and apply for an LMIA at ESDC. You as an employer must also meet certain requirements including compliance with the immigration and labour law.
After you receive the LMIA, you need to give it to your worker for them to apply for an LMIA-supported work permit.
Note that it is the employer’s responsibility to apply for and pay the fee for the LMIA if you decide to hire a foreign worker.
General eligibility for an LMIA
You as an employer do not have to register your business in Canada in order to be eligible for an LMIA. This means foreign employers can also apply.
You can be a start-up. The LMIA application does not require that you are in business for a certain amount of time unless your LMIA is to support your worker's PA application.
Further, for some employers, you need to prove the legitimacy of your business. This means your business offers services or goods in Canada. You must also show that you have reasonable employment needs.
Employers with compliance issues need to fix these issues before applying for an LMIA.
Types of LMIA
You may choose one of the following LMIA streams if you are eligible:
Global Talent Stream (GTS) LMIA,
High-wage position LMIA,
Low-wage position LMIA,
LMIA to support permanent residence,
Academics position LMIA,
LMIA for primary agriculture positions.
Note that there are specific eligibility requirements depending on the stream. We can help you determine whether you are eligible.
Global Talent Stream (GTS) LMIA
The GTS stream allows innovative companies in Canada to hire:
unique and specialized foreign nationals for growing or scaling-up upon referral by a partner designated by ESDC, or
in-demand and highly skilled positions on the Global Talent Occupation List.
Companies applying for GTS LMIA are exempt from advertising the position and enjoy a faster processing time (around 10 business days).
High-wage and low-wage LMIA
These are the two most common LMIAs. The factor that differentiates the two is the wage of the position being offered to the worker. If the wage is above the median hourly wage for the province or territory where the position will be based, you should apply for a high-wage LMIA.
For high-wage LMIA, you need to have a transition plan which explains your plan to eventually hire a Canadian citizen or PR.
A high-wage LMIA may be valid for up to 18 months. It may support a work permit of up to 3 years.
For low-wage LMIA, there is a cap on the number of foreign workers you can hire, and you must fulfill additional employer responsibilities.
A low-wage LMIA can support a work permit of up to 2 years.
Another feature in these LMIAs is that they can be unnamed. If you have not found a potential worker for the position, you can still submit the LMIA application.
LMIA to support permanent residence
This LMIA is dual intent, which means it supports both the worker’s work permit and PR applications under Express Entry. The requirements are similar to the high-wage or low-wage LMIA application.
Note that you may choose to apply for the LMIA to support the worker’s PR application only. In this situation, you do not need to pay the processing fee.
This LMIA may be valid for up to 18 months. It may support a work permit of up to 3 years.
Academics position LMIA
This stream is designated for education institutions. The requirements are similar to the high-wage LMIA application.
How to apply for an LMIA-supported work permit?
The worker is responsible to apply for a work permit although you can assist your worker in the application process. In the application, the worker must provide the LMIA together with other required documents and information.
Note that the work permit application does not always guarantee an approval at the end because IRCC will consider your worker’s qualifications, ability to perform the job duties, and other inadmissible issues. If your worker faces any of the above issues, we can help.
What we do?
LMIA application is a lengthy and complex process. It is necessary to receive professional guidance for a positive outcome.
We value your trust in us and have your best interest in mind. Therefore, we will never make false assurances or promises. At LegalRoots, client experience is what we care about the most. We also create a safe and friendly place for those who wish to discuss their matters with us freely.
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