The regulations governing Canada’s work permit programs are complex and challenging. Canadian work permits generally fall into three categories:
- Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) required.
- Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exempt.
- Work permit exempt and LMIA exempt.
An LMIA involves a Canadian employer demonstrating to the Canadian government that they have made a genuine and good-faith effort to hire or train Canadian citizens or permanent residents first before hiring a foreign national. The Canadian employer must advertise the vacancy through designated online/print media for a minimum of 30-days prior to filing an LMIA application.
If a Canadian employer obtains a positive LMIA from the Canadian government, they may hire a foreign national on a temporary foreign work permit (TFWP) which is generally valid for two years. A TFWP is a great way for a foreign national to enter Canada and then transition to permanent residence through the Express Entry system after 1 year.
The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a fast-track program within the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP), establishing a 10-day standard for the processing of LMIA’s and subsequent 10-day standard for Canadian work permit applications for highly skilled occupations. The two categories of the GTS target high-growth companies, and workers in identified on a shortage occupation list.
There are several situations where foreign workers can take up jobs in Canada without an employer having to receive an LMIA, the most common examples include:
French Speaking Skilled Workers–nationals of French-speaking nations who have a job offer in skilled occupation from a Canadian employer located outside Quebec, may be eligible for an LMIA exempt work permit. The foreign national’s habitual language must be French and they must have an upper-intermediate level of French ability.
Intra-Company Transfers (ICT) – multi-national companies with a presence in Canada to transfer staff to their Canadian location. The staff being transferred must be executives, senior managers or employees with specialized knowledge of the company’s products or services. The proposed employee must have been working for the company in a similar capacity for at least one-year and must be offered a salary in Canada that meets or exceeds the “prevailing wage” for their occupation. The Canadian business will have to demonstrate a qualifying relationship with its foreign counterpart – e.g. parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate.
Working Holiday Visa – enables citizens of certain countries including Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain and the UK, aged between 18 and 35 (in some countries the age limit is 29 or 30) to stay in Canada and work legally for up to two years. You do not need to have a pre-arranged job in order to participate in this program. Each country receives a set quota for the number of visas that will be issued.
Canadian Work Permit Exemptions
Workers in occupations classified as skill type 0 or skill level A in the NOC may enter Canada for one 15-day stay in a six-month period, or one 30-day stay in a 12-month period, and may work without a work permit. Researchers undertaking projects in Canada may stay for 120 days in a 12-month period, without requiring a work permit, as long as they are working on a research project at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution.
Sterling Immigration will help you understand which Canadian work permit is suitable for your situation.