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Canadian employers and businesses who cannot find workers with the skills, training and experience needed for their operation, may consider to hire foreign workers either temporarily or permanently.

Although there is a constant need for skills and experience in Canada as a nation of immigrants, the rules governing the hiring and management of foreign workers are complex and the immigration process is daunting.

You have identified a foreign worker with the skills and the experience you require for your business and you want to hire him/her temporarily, what to do next?

First, in most cases, you must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”). In order to obtain a positive LMIA, a Canadian employer must prove that there is no Canadian or permanent resident worker available to complete the job in question and a foreign worker is therefore required.

There are general as well as different specialized applications for LMIA, i.e. Global Talent Stream, academics, agriculture, caregivers.

LMIAs are overseen by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position application.

The average processing time for LMIA varies depending on the stream under which the application is processed, for example, the Global Talent Stream average processing time is 12 business days. On the other hand, Low-wage Stream average processing time is 108 business days.

All employers applying to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) must provide documents along with their Labour Market Impact Assessment application to demonstrate that their business and job offer are legitimate.

A Transition Plan, valid for the duration of the employment of the temporary foreign worker, is a mandatory requirement to hire temporary foreign workers in high-wage positions. It describes the activities you are agreeing to undertake to recruit, retain and train Canadians and permanent residents and to reduce your reliance on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. If you have never completed a Transition Plan before, you must submit one as indicated in the appropriate section of the Labour Market Impact Assessment application form for high-wage positions.

If you are applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment and have previously submitted a Transition plan for the same position and work location, you must report the results of the commitments you have made in your previous Transition plan that will be used to determine if the described activities had been undertaken. There are some exceptions where the Transition plan is not required, for example, in the case of hiring a caregiver or hiring a worker under the Specialized Occupation that qualifies for Quebec’s facilitated Labour Market Impact Assessment process.

Second, once you have obtained LMIA (unless exempt from obtaining one), the foreign worker can apply for a temporary visa and work permit. The foreign worker’s family may accompany him/her if they obtain proper temporary visas such as a study permit or an open work permit.

Applying for a Canadian work permit visa can be a complication process. The rules and regulations for obtaining a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) make it difficult for employers and the foreign worker. Successful LMIA application and work permit applications require careful planning, preparation and filing procedures.

The process is costly, takes time and depends on the assessment of third-party officials who review and rate each case. The review process needs full knowledge of rules and laws which are often revised. Policies and procedures change depending on the aims of the Canadian government of the day. An experienced Immigration lawyer can support you through all steps of the process.


This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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