How to hire a temporary foreign worker in Canada?

How to hire a temporary foreign worker in Canada?

If you are a Canadian employer aiming to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs), understanding the intricacies of the process is crucial. At our office, we frequently receive inquiries from employers seeking clarity on hiring temporary foreign workers, both with and without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). So, let’s explore the crucial steps and key aspects of hiring foreign workers in Canada to ensure a successful process.

What is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and do I need a LMIA?

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program stands as a vital avenue for Canadian employers seeking to fill temporary job positions when qualified Canadians are not readily available. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is the primary Canadian government department responsible for assessing applications from employers who seek permission to hire temporary foreign workers. One of the critical tools in this assessment is the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a process that evaluates the potential impact of hiring foreign workers on the Canadian labour market.

Several factors come into play during the assessment, including available labour market information for the region and occupation, the employer’s recruitment and advertising efforts, wages and working conditions, as well as considerations of labour shortages and the transfer of skills and knowledge to Canadians. 

A fundamental characteristic of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is the mandatory requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). In many cases, employers will need to engage with the LMIA process first before hiring a temporary foreign worker. For any employer seeking to bring in a foreign national through the TFWP, the LMIA serves as a crucial document. This assessment is a demonstration that the employer diligently searched for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident but was unable to find a suitable candidate to fill the intended position. The issuance of a positive LMIA is a prerequisite for employers to proceed with hiring a foreign national officially. Subsequently, the foreign national can initiate the application process for a Canadian work permit or even Canadian permanent residence.

Can I hire a temporary foreign worker without a LMIA? 

Despite the LMIA being a standard requirement under the TFWP, there are alternative avenues available for employers who wish to hire temporary workers without undergoing the LMIA process. These options fall under the umbrella of the International Mobility Program, specifically designed to facilitate the processing of LMIA-exempt work permit applications. This provides employers with more flexibility in certain situations, streamlining the hiring process for temporary workers without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

Common examples of where you do not need a LMIA include intra-company transfers, specialized employment scenarios and labour needs, as well as through various Foreign Trade Agreements. 

What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)?

This document is often required by employers before they can proceed with hiring a foreign worker. A positive LMIA serves as evidence that there is a genuine need for a foreign worker to fill a specific job role. Additionally, it demonstrates that no qualified Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to undertake the job. This positive outcome in the LMIA process is sometimes referred to as a confirmation letter.

For employers in need of an LMIA, the first step involves evaluating business needs and demonstrating genuine recruitment efforts. This application process involves providing detailed information about the job, including its nature, requirements, and the efforts made to recruit domestically. Upon successfully obtaining the LMIA, the worker is then eligible to apply for a work permit. 

Remember: just because your business was able to acquire a LMIA does not automatically guarantee that the employee will acquire a work permit.

In order to complete the work permit application, the worker must submit essential documents, including a job offer letter, a contract outlining the terms of employment, a copy of the LMIA, and the specific LMIA number associated with the approved assessment. These documents collectively form a comprehensive application package that supports the worker’s request for a Canadian work permit. 

Do you need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire a temporary foreign worker?

Before initiating the hiring process for a temporary foreign worker in Canada, it’s crucial to ascertain whether a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is needed. Most employers must obtain an LMIA, which confirms the need for a temporary foreign worker and the unavailability of Canadian citizens or permanent residents for the job.

  • To check if you’re exempt from an LMIA or work permit, review exemption codes and work permit exemptions.
  • Select the relevant LMIA exemption or work permit code and include it in your offer of employment.

How to apply for an LMIA?

Submitting your LMIA application efficiently is crucial for the timely processing of your request. The LMIA application can be submitted up to 6 months prior to the expected job start date. The LMIA online portal streamlines the application process for submitting your request to Service Canada. Ensure a smooth experience by following these steps:

  • Create a job bank account: If you don’t already have one, register for a job bank for employers account. Please allow up to 5 business days for job bank to process your new employer’s file.
  • Access the LMIA online portal: Log in to the LMIA online portal using your job bank for employers’ credentials. Your account details will be necessary for authentication purposes.
  • Submit your application: Complete the LMIA application within the portal, ensuring all required information is provided and prerequisites are met. Upload any necessary documents that support your business legitimacy if applicable. Finalize the submission by sending the application form, required documents, and processing fee (if applicable) through the LMIA online portal.

Once the assessment process is complete, the employer will be notified in writing of the final decision of their LMIA application. The employer will receive a letter confirming the approval of the LMIA application. As of October 31, 2023, this positive LMIA will be valid for 12 months from the date of issue. 

How to hire without an LMIA?

The International Mobility Program offers employers the opportunity to hire temporary foreign workers without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This alternative process involves specific steps and responsibilities for both employers and temporary foreign workers.

  • Submitting an offer of employment: In most cases, employers must initiate the process by submitting an offer of employment through the Employer Portal. This step serves as a formal agreement and is a crucial part of the hiring process.
  • Work permit application by the temporary foreign worker: Following the employer’s submission, the temporary foreign worker is responsible for applying for a work permit. This application is a vital step in obtaining the legal authorization to work in Canada.
  • Employer responsibilities upon arrival: Once the temporary foreign worker arrives, employers must adhere to specific conditions and responsibilities outlined in the program. Failure to meet these obligations could result in penalties.
  • Inspections: Employers hiring through the International Mobility Program may be subject to inspections. These inspections aim to ensure compliance with program conditions, protect temporary workers, and verify that the program is being utilized appropriately.

Seeking personalized guidance on hiring temporary foreign workers? Our dedicated team is poised to offer tailored solutions, ensuring a seamless and successful hiring process.

Don’t allow uncertainties to impede your workforce expansion. Reach out to Shory Law LLP today, and let’s collaborate to bring skilled international talent to your team. The journey to hiring temporary foreign workers starts with a call to 403-216-1199.

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