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How To Recruit Your Ideal Foreign Worker and Get An LMIA

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Temporary Foreign Worker - LMIA and Temporary Foreign Workers

How To Recruit Your Ideal Foreign Worker and Get An LMIA

Canada has a growing economy and employers may need to fill short-term labour and skill needs for which qualified Canadians are not available. Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows an employer to recruit a foreign worker to fill temporary labour and skill shortages.

Most temporary foreign workers leave at the end of their first Work Permit, but the tendency to stay longer in Canada is increasing. Government policies and regulations managed under Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) determine whether temporary residents can remaining in Canada either temporarily or permanently. The duration of a temporary foreign worker's stay in Canada is strictly regulated by the terms of their Work Permit.

How To Recruit A Foreign Worker

Talented, skilled and educated workers are available around the globe, but sourcing overseas talent can be time-consuming and unfamiliar. Recruiting, hiring and relocating foreign workers can be very challenging. Many businesses outsource to a global executive search firm that knows how to recruit a temporary foreign worker and can source qualified foreign candidates, assess their eligibility for an international move, process their visa and an international relocation company to coordinate an international move.

Many employers can't wait the 4 - 6 months it typically takes to process a temporary foreign worker application, and need strategic solutions to streamline the process of hiring foreign employees. Businesses and executive global search firms often retain an experienced immigration lawyer to get qualified employees in place quickly and smoothly to begin their new role. An immigration law firm will handle complicated cross-border business immigration cases, have experience in working with international executive search firms and be skilled at trouble-shooting delays and unexpected obstacles to smooth the way for new employees to begin their assignment as quickly as possible.

Case Study

An international film festival in Canada needed to hire an artistic director. When there was not a local candidate, they identified an American candidate. Ackah Law was able to process their LMIA and skilled foreign worker permit within 3 weeks. The new employee's spouse was able to move to Canada with a work permit just 2 months later.

3 Steps To Hire a Temporary Foreign Worker

Once you successfully recruit a qualified foreign worker candidate, to hire a TFW IRCC requires 3 steps:

  • Get an LMIA or submit an offer of employment
  • Have the worker apply for a work permit
  • Tell the worker what to expect from their application

1. Get An LMIA

A Work Permit alone may not be enough for someone to work legally in Canada. In some circumstances, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) may be required. This is a document that indicates that there is a demonstrated need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available to do it. An LMIA is issued by Employment and Social Development Canada Service (ESDC) and when it is completed, it must be "positive" or the employer cannot hire a foreign national for the specific position. A positive LMIA tells IRCC that the entry of a temporary foreign worker in the position named will create either a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market.

LMIA-Exempt Jobs

Some jobs are LMIA exempt from the need for the Labour Market Impact Assessment.

According to IRCC, employers who hire qualifying foreign workers through the International Mobility Programs (IMP) will not require an LMIA. Many of those programs are the different "trade agreements" that Canada has created with other countries. The list of workers exempt from LMIA is limited and all the foreign workers will require a work permit before entering the Canadian labour market.

    2. Submit a Job Offer

    For LMIA-exempt jobs, employers may need to submit an offer of employment via the IRCC portal or pay an employer compliance fee.

    3. The Worker Must Apply for a Work Permit

    After the employer has an LMIA number or offer of employment number, most foreign workers must apply for a Temporary Work Permit. These are issued by IRCC and give authorization for someone to work legally in Canada. Canada has 2 types of work permits: Employer Specific or Open. Temporary Work Permits explain:

    • the type of work the individual named can perform
    • the employer(s) they can provide labour for
    • where they are going to work
    • how long they are given permission to work

    Workers applying under IRCC's International Experience Canada program or for two-week expedited processing under the Global Skills Strategy must submit their work permit application online.

    The foreign worker that they will receive a letter of introduction when their work permit has been approved. The actual work permit is issued by a border services officer at the port of entry when the worker arrives in Canada. If the worker is already in Canada and eligible to apply, IRCC will mail the work permit to them.

    HR Cannot Provide Employee Immigration Services

    Human Resources personnel cannot provide business immigration services to their employees – it’s contrary to Canada regulations. Canada’s immigration laws require that anyone who provides immigration services must be members of a regulatory body. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act sets penalties for anyone, including an HR professional, who breaks the law. An HR professional who performs any of the prohibited activities faces the possibility of fines of up to $100,000 and up to two years in jail.

    Who can provide corporate immigration services? HR professionals cannot complete and or submit immigration applications on behalf of an employee or a candidate, and they are not permitted to communicate with IRCC or Canada Border Services Agency on behalf of an employee or job candidate. This applies even if the person is a current or prospective employee of the company for which the HR professional works.

    We smooth the way to Canada and the United States for employees, families and individuals.

    Expedited, Streamlined Hiring of Foreign Workers

    Often employers cannot find a local qualified job candidate, yet cannot wait the four to six months it typically takes to process an immigration application. Delays cost money, and critical business deadlines can be missed. An experienced immigration lawyer understands what to do - and what not to do - to streamline the immigration application and approval process.

    With knowledge and expertise, the immigration professionals at Ackah Law navigate complex Canadian and U.S. immigration rules and regulations to solve problems and remove obstacles, before you get to the border.


    Evelyn Ackah

    Founder/Managing Lawyer

    Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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    Evelyn’s commitment to her clients and her love of our community makes her a great fit with our company.

    – Deb Jarvis, Human Resources Leader

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