The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals for a specific period of time. To hire a foreign national, in most cases the foreign national must obtain a temporary work permit. There are two types of permits available, open work and employer specific, which allow an employer to hire a foreign national to fill a position they were unable to hire a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for.
Prior to applying for a temporary work permit, unless the worker qualifies for an exemption, an employer must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU), showing that the hiring of a foreign worker would not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market. There are exemptions available under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27, as well as under various trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). If you’re not sure whether the foreign national you would like to hire qualifies for an exemption from the LMIA process, you can request an opinion from the IMWU. Requests for opinions are typically responded to within 14 calendar days.
The next step after the LMIA process is to apply for a temporary work permit. The application process and the information required can vary significantly, depending upon what class the worker is applying under and whether the worker is applying from inside or outside Canada. There are also certain classes of workers which do not require a temporary work permit such as a “business visitor” under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Depending upon the foreign national’s country of citizenship, they may have to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa before being permitted entry into Canada. Depending upon the individual situation, there are a number of documents related to your work permit that you may be required to have on your person to present to a Border Services officer upon entry to Canada. The process itself can be complex and arduous, but Sampson McPhee is here to guide you every step of the way.
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