Canada encourages applications for Permanent Residence from people with skills, abilities, education and work experience that will contribute to the Canadian economy. The Canada immigration system favors individuals with either work experience or a job offer when granting Permanent Residence. A job offer in Canada can provide several routes to obtaining Permanent Residence via Express Entry.
What is Canada Express Entry?
The Canadian government launched Express Entry in January 2015 for skilled applicants to apply for Permanent Residence status. Applicants are eligible to apply whether they are in Canada as temporary foreign workers or outside of Canada, as long as they meet the criteria.
What is an LMIA?
A job offer may need an approved Labour Market Impact Assessment - LMIA; a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. A positive LMIA shows that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do the job.
If you have an LMIA you get an extra 50 points on your Express Entry score for a skilled worker and up to 200 points for an executive position.
Do You Need an LMIA to Obtain a Work Permit?
An LMIA is sometimes but not always required to get a Canada work permit. Employers who hire qualifying foreign workers through the International Mobility Programs will not require an LMIA.
Here is are 3 ways a Canada job offer can lead to becoming a Permanent Resident.
1. Express Entry: Federal Skilled Worker Program
The federal skilled worker program is only open to certain occupations. If you have an offer of employment and the LMIA, the occupation list does not apply to you. You only need a job offer in an occupation in the National Occupational Classification (NOC) A, B or O skill levels, and meet the other requirements of the program.
If it's possible for you to immigrate under the Federal Skilled Workers Program, you must then apply for permanent residence under Express Entry. But to do that, you will need to be invited to do so. Your initial Federal Skilled Worker Program application places you in a pool with other eligible workers. Then you are all ranked and if you are at the top, you will get an invitation to apply via Express Entry.
2. Express Entry: Canadian Experience Class
With an LMIA job offer, you can apply for a work permit. After working in Canada for 12 months in and NOC A, B or O skill level job full-time (or equivalent), you can apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class - CEC - category.
Your initial CEC application places you into a pool with other eligible workers. You will be ranked and if you are near the top of the pool, you will get an Invitation to Apply via Express Entry. There are no specific lists of requirements because each applicant is unique., you will get a customized list of documents needed.
3. Provincial Nominee Programs
If your job offer does not get a positive LMIA, the Provincial Nominee Program or PNP system allows the territorial and/or provincial governments to select immigrants based on the specific economic needs of that territory or province. Many provincial nominee programs will evaluate job offers from employers to determine if they meet a need in the province. The provincial criteria are different from the federal criteria, so an unsuccessful LMIA could be a successful job offer application through a Provincial Nominee Program.
If accepted by the province, you can apply for permanent residence as a provincial nominee, and bypass the skilled worker and LMIA processes.
PNP and Express Entry
If you use the Express Entry approach, you must meet the individualized requirements of the province or territory, get a nomination in that Express Entry stream, submit an Express Entry profile proving you are eligible, and also meet one of the immigration program requirements that are aligned with Express Entry.
It’s a good idea to consult an immigration lawyer if you have questions about Express Entry, LMIA and whether you have the skills, education and experience to qualify and accept a job offer that can lead to Permanent Residence.
This post does not constitute legal advice – you should consult with a lawyer so he or she can evaluate your unique circumstances and application materials.