Are you seeking to work temporarily in Canada? If so, then you need to apply for a work permit. A work permit is an official document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada that allows foreign nationals to work in Canada. It is usually valid for a specific job and period of time. (There are a number of employment positions that foreigners are allowed to fulfill without having to obtain a work permit. Please call our office if you wish to know whether your job offer falls under any of those exceptions.)
If you wish to obtain a work permit, your prospective Canadian employer must first apply for and obtain a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). A positive LMO will be issued if HRSDC determines that there is no Canadian citizen or permanent resident who can fulfill the position and hiring the foreign worker will have a positive effect on the Canadian labour market.
When reviewing an application for an LMO, HRSDC will consider, among other factors, whether the job offer is genuine; the employer's advertisement and recruitment efforts, if necessary; the wages and working conditions being offered; and whether the foreign worker will transfer new skills and knowledge to Canadians.
Once a positive LMO confirmation letter is issued to your prospective employer, you may then go ahead and apply for your work permit.
It should be noted that jobs falling under the following categories require a work permit but do not require an LMO (subject to certain conditions):
- Under International agreements – this includes citizens of the United States and Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if they are professionals or traders or investors;
- Intra-company transferees;
- Entrepreneurs whose work will provide a significant economic, social or cultural benefit to Canada;
- Co-op students;
- Religious workers.