Would you like to work in Canada? The Canadian government encourages bright and highly skilled individuals from around the world to apply for a temporary work permit. If you choose, you can apply for permanent residence after obtaining your temporary work permit.
Canada’s job market is ideal for foreign workers because, in most cases, you can enjoy higher wages and better working hours. To legally work in Canada, you must first obtain a work permit. When considering which foreign worker to admit into Canada’s workforce, the government must balance two factors: (1) the country’s need for highly skilled workers and (2) a need to protect its current workforce. This balancing test has led to a very complex employment mechanism that offers a number of pathways to work in Canada. These pathways include the following:
(1) Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”): An LMIA is an approval letter issued by The Employment and Social Development of Canada (“ESDC”). Your Canadian employer must obtain the LMIA on your behalf by demonstrating that there are no qualified Canadian workers available to fill the job position and that the foreign worker will be receive a salary and benefits based on federal and provincial standards. After receiving a positive LMIA, a foreign national may apply for a Canadian work permit.
(2) North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”): The NAFTA immigration pathway is applicable to American and Mexican citizens who need to expedite their entry into Canada as a skilled worker who is working intra-corporately. In other words, these foreign workers have specialized knowledge and need to be transferred to the foreign corporation’s Canadian subsidiary, affiliate or parent branch. This type of visa is granted to professionals with specialized knowledge or professionals who fall in the managerial or executive class. What makes NAFTA so expedient is that it eliminates the LMIA process via ESDC and enables foreign workers (after obtaining an offer from a Canadian employer) to apply directly for a work permit.
There are 4 categories of professionals who can take advantage of NAFTA’s expedient entry process:
- Business visitors
- Intra-company transferees
(3) International Experience Class (IEC): The IEC work permit is a great way for students and young adults ages 18 – 30 to gain work experience in Canada. Canada’s relationship with many countries allows foreign students, young workers and young professionals to enter Canada for 1 – 3 years to gain Canadian work experience. Based on a quota system, the IEC permit also allows Canadian employers to hire applicants on a permanent basis (i.e., permanent residence) using one of several immigration pathways available to them.
(4) Work Permits for Students: For those students who would like to gain some work experience while furthering their education, a Student Work Permit allows them to do both. Under the Canadian Experience Class, students who are studying at an immigration approved school are eligible for a work permit after 6 months of study. With their work permit, they are permitted to work part-time (up to 20 hours a week) during the school year and full-time during their summers.
Taking any of the above pathways will require involvement of two government entities — the departments of ESDC and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”). The Canadian work permit process is very complex, but our law firm welcomes an opportunity to help you navigate the complexities of this process so that you can immigrate to Canada quickly.
Do you have additional questions? If so, click the button below.
Ask An Attorney