New measures have been introduced for foreign workers in Canada and Canadian employers who are hiring them.
There are two kinds of foreign workers in Canada – those who need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and those who are LMIA-exempt.
An LMIA shows whether Canadians are available, or if there is a need for a foreign worker. There are however, situations where foreign workers do not need an LMIA. This may be the result of free-trade agreements such as NAFTA or youth exchanges programs, for example, where there are reciprocal agreements that benefit Canada.
As a result of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program review, a number of changes have been introduced for foreign workers in Canada and the Canadian employers who are hiring them.
Among the changes, LMIA-exempt foreign workers will now be part of the newly named International Mobility Program. This will distinguish them from foreign workers who need a LMIA to enter Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Here’s an overview of other changes coming, that will ensure both programs continue to benefit Canadians:
- Making employers of LMIA-exempt foreign nationals (with employer-specific work permits) more accountable by requiring them to submit their job offer to Citizenship and Immigration;
- Implementing a robust employer monitoring system that will see thousands of employers of LMIA-exempt foreign nationals inspected each year;
- Introducing new fees for LMIA-exempt employer-specific work permits and for most open work permit applicants; and
- Adjusting the rules for several specific exemptions, such the LMIA exemption for intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge, to ensure they continue to operate as intended and in Canada’s best interests.
For more information about the changes, please see our news release and backgrounders.
If you need a work permit to work temporarily in Canada, you must make sure you are eligible for one. Whether you are eligible or not depends on a few things, including where you plan to apply for your work permit.
Apply from outside Canada
Anyone may apply for a work permit before they enter Canada. In some cases, you must apply to a visa office outside Canada. This is usually true if you need a visa to enter Canada or if you need to have a medical exam before you come here.
Apply from inside Canada
You can only apply for a work permit from inside Canada if you:
- are currently in Canada and have a valid study or work permit, or your spouse or parents have a study or work permit,
- have graduated from a program at a
- Canadian university,
- community college,
- publicly funded trade/technical school or
- other eligible school,
- have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more, or
- are in Canada because you have already applied for permanent residence from inside Canada (you will have to pass certain stages in the main application process to be eligible for a work permit).
Apply as you enter Canada
You can ask to be allowed to work in Canada as you enter Canada but only if:
- you do not need a visa,
- you already hold a valid medical certificate, if you need it for your job, and
- your employer does not need a labour market opinion (LMO) for your job (with some exceptions) or you already have an LMO.
Note: If your job does need an LMO, you can apply for a work permit as you enter Canada, as long as your employer has approval to hire you through an LMO before you enter the country. (This does not apply to live-in caregivers and seasonal agricultural workers.)
No matter where you apply, you must:
- prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires,
- show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home,
- obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (we may ask you to give us a police clearance certificate),
- not be a danger to Canada’s security,
- be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed,
- not plan to work for an employer on the list of ineligible employers,
- not have worked in Canada for one or more periods that total four years after April 1, 2011 (with some exceptions), and
- give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country.
Applying for a new visitor visa (to re-enter Canada)
If you are currently in Canada with a valid study or work permit, and you want to leave and then come back to Canada, you may need a visa to re-enter Canada as a visitor.
If you do, you must apply for a new temporary resident (visitor) visa before you leave. To do so, you must:
- be legally in Canada as a student or temporary foreign worker only with a Canadian home address,
- have valid temporary resident status, and your existing counterfoil has expired and/or was valid for only one entry, and
- need a new visitor visa to return to Canada in the near future.