Jobs in Canada for Foreigners
There is a shortage of labour in Canada, particularly in certain skilled fields. Consequently Canada is actively seeking foreign workers and professionals to help grow its domestic workforce.
On this page we discuss:
- Jobs that require work permit
- Jobs that do not require work permit
- Open work permit
- Working while studying
- Where to apply for work permit
- Steps by steps for applying for work permit
Every year, the Canadian government issues 100,000 work permits to Temporary Foreign Workers to help business meet their skilled labour demands. These are foreigners with jobs in Canada with work permit.
In addition to these workers, there are other foreigners who are allowed to work without a work permit. Depending on the type and scope of work, duration of work, country of citizenship and other factors of the foreign worker, different rules and requirements apply.
It is crucial for foreign workers and their employers to go through the proper channels before any employment in Canada commences. This article provides foreigners with overview of how to get job offer in Canada from outside.
Most job positions and foreigners require Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and a Work Permit, others only require a work permit, and some do not require a work permit at all.
Jobs that require LMIA and Work Permit
In most cases, a Canadian employer wishing to hire a foreign worker must first receive government approval via the LMIA before the hiring can take place. This is to ensure that no qualified Canadians were passed up in favour of the foreign worker. It is also to ensure that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards. As part of the LMIA in general all Canadian employers must provide evidence that they have attempted to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill job positions before turning to foreign workers.
LMIA Exempt Jobs
In certain circumstances individuals are allowed to work in Canada without first obtaining a LMIA. Note: Being exempt from obtaining a LMIA does not mean the individual is exempt from obtaining a work permit. All streams on the LMIA exemption list still require the individual to obtain a work permit to work in Canada legally.
The most common LMIA-exempt streams are jobs involving:
- International Agreements (NAFTA, GATS, Canada-Columbia FTA, Canada-Peru FTA)
- Entrepreneurs/Self-Employed Candidates
- Intra-Company Transferees
- International Exchange Programs
- Spouse and Dependents Of Foreign Workers
- French-Speaking Skilled Workers
- Religious Workers
- Provincial LMIA Exemptions
Work without a Permit
A foreigner is allowed to work in Canada without a work permit in the following occupations:
- Athletes and team members
- Aviation accident or incident inspector
- Business visitor
- Civil aviation inspector
- Convention organizers
- Emergency service providers
- Examiners and evaluators
- Expert witnesses or investigators
- Foreign government officers
- Foreign representatives and Family members of foreign representatives
- Health care students
- Implied status
- Judges, referees and similar officials
- Military personnel
- News reporters, media crews
- On-campus employment and some Off-campus work
- Performing artists
- Public speakers
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Open Work Permit (OWP)
An Open Work Permit allows a foreign national to work in any job, without restriction. An LMIA or confirmed offer of employment is not needed to apply for an Open Work Permit.
The following are eligible for OWP:
- Foreign spouses/common-law partners of temporary foreign workers
- Foreign students and Spouses/common-law partners being sponsored through the Inland Spousal/Common-law Sponsorship category
- Graduating international students under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
- International Experience Canada (IEC) Candidates under the Working Holiday category
Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
The bridging open work permit (BOWP) is a way to keep a worker in Canada working while his or her application for permanent residence is being processed.
Individuals within Canada who have made an application to immigrate to Canada under either the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) may be considered for a bridging open work permit if their current work permit is due to expire (within four months).
A foreign worker legally working in Canada who has made, or will soon make, an application for permanent residence under one of these immigration programs may then continue to work until a decision is made on his or her application for permanent residence.
International Experience Class (IEC)
The IEC is a program designed to bring younger adults and youth to Canada on a temporary basis to work for temporary periods. Citizens of countries with a bilateral youth mobility arrangement with Canada who are between 18 and 35 years old may be eligible for IEC work permits. The IEC program is composed of three categories:
- Working Holiday
- Young Professionals
- International Co-op
Working while Studying
Full-time students who are enrolled at an institution may work at that institutions campus in any job without a work permit. See Working as a Student.
Students may work at more than one campus of an institution, provided that they are in the same municipality. Students may be enrolled in any course to be eligible.
The approved institutions are:
- Community Colleges
- Publicly Funded trade/technical schools
- Private Institutions authorized by provincial statue to confer degrees
Students working as graduate , research or teaching assistants may work off campus a locations related to their research grants. These locations must have a formal association or affiliation with he learning institution. This may include hospitals, clinics and research institutes.
Where to Apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit
There are three locations at which a foreign national can apply for a work permit:
- A visa office outside of Canada
- A Canadian port of entry
- A visa office within Canada CEGEPs
The requirements for the various application locations are summarized below.
Applying at a visa office outside of Canada
All persons may apply for a work permit from a visa office outside of Canada. However, the following individuals must apply for a work permit from a visa office outside of Canada:
- Individuals who require a temporary resident visa (TRV) in order to enter Canada. Usually, anyone traveling to Canada as a temporary resident or worker must have a TRV. This rule, however, does not apply to:
- Citizens of certain countries.
- Travellers who hold certain travel documents.
- Foreign nationals coming to Canada for certain legally specified purposes.
- Persons who are subject to the TRV exceptions listed above may apply for a work permit at a Canadian port of entry or from within Canada depending on whether or not they require a medical examination. For a full list of countries of citizenship, travel documents and travel purposes that allow for an exemption from the TRV requirement, Click here.
- Individuals who require a medical exam in order to enter Canada. This applies to applicants who need a TRV to enter Canadaandapplicants who do not need a TRV. If an applicant has already undergone a successful medical examination and is in possession of the results, he/she may apply for a work permit at a Canadian port of entry. For more information on medical exams, click here. (Medical Exams for Temporary Foreign Worker Applicants)
- International youth exchange program participants. This requirement does not apply to citizens or permanent residents of the USA. Also, some foreign nationals not from the USA will sometimes be approved in advance by the responsible visa office and thus, not be required to apply from outside of Canada.
- Seasonal agricultural workers.
- Live-in caregivers.
Applying at a Canadian port of entry
Most foreign workers must apply for a work permit from outside of Canada (see above). Some applicants, however, can apply for a work permit upon arrival at a Canadian port of entry. An applicant can apply at a Canadian port of entry if they meet all of the following requirements:
- They will not be working as live-in caregivers or seasonal agricultural workers.
- They do not need a TRV to enter Canada.
- They have passed the medical examination, if required. (Medical Exams for Temporary Foreign Worker Applicants)
- Their employer has submitted a copy of a valid LMIA, if required.
- Their employer has paid the compliance fee and submitted an offer of employment letter to CIC.
Applying from within Canada
The following individuals may apply for a temporary work permit from within Canada.
- Individuals living in Canada and holding a valid study or work permit.
- Individuals working in Canada in a job that does not require a work permit that are applying for a second job that does require a work permit. Note: This rule does not apply to business visitors.
- Individuals whose spouse or parents have a valid Canadian study or work permit.
- Individuals who have graduated from a program at:
- A Canadian university.
- A Canadian community college.
- A CEGEP.
- A publicly funded trade or technical school.
- Another eligible Canadian school.
- Individuals who hold a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more.
- Individuals that are in Canada because they have already applied for permanent residence from within Canada.
- Refugee claimants and individuals subject to an unenforceable removal order.
- Permanent residence applicants living in Canada who are members of the following classes:
- Live-in Caregiver.
- Spouses or Common-Law Partner.
- Protected Persons.
- Persons filing an application on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.
- Individuals holding work permits that were: authorized at a Canadian mission abroad and NOT issued at a Canadian port of entry.
- Mexican citizens admitted to Canada as temporary residents who are applying to work under NAFTA.
- USA citizens admitted to Canada as temporary residents who are applying to work under a NAFTA professional or intra-company transferee program.
- Foreign workers who have written permission from the Canadian government to work at a foreign embassy, consulate or high commission in Canada.
How to Apply for a Canadian Work Permit
A step-by-step description of how to apply for a temporary work permit in Canada.
Step 1: Determine if you require a work permit to work in your desired job in Canada
Foreign nationals can work in certain jobs in Canada without a work permit. See earlier on this page for a comprehensive list of Canadian jobs that do not require a work permite. Note: Even if you do not need a work permit to work in Canada, you will still need to obtain legal entry to Canada. For example, you can enter Canada under a temporary resident visa.
If your desired job requires a work permit, proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: Determine if you are eligible to apply for a Canadian work permit
Your eligibility to apply for a Canadian temporary work permit depends on various factors, including the location in which you apply for a work permit. ALL work permit applicants, however, must:
- Prove that they will leave Canada when their work permit expires
- Show that they have enough money to take care of themselves and their family members during their stay in Canada
- Show that they have enough money for themselves and their family members to return home
- Have no criminal record
- Not be a danger to Canada
- Be in good health and pass a medical exam, if required
- Not plan to work for an employer on the list of ineligible employers.
- Not plan to work for an employer who offers striptease, erotic dance, escort or erotic massage services
- Not have worked in Canada for one or more periods that total four years within the past four years
- Not be otherwise inadmissible to Canada.)
There are also other requirements that depend on the location in which you apply for a work permit. For more information on these requirements, click here.
Step 3: Determine if you will apply online or on paper for Canadian temporary work permit
If you apply online, you must have access to a scanner or digital camera. This will allow you to upload all required documents for Canadian temporary work permit online to be included in your application. If you choose to apply on paper, you can obtain all necessary forms from CIC.
Note: If you are applying under the International Experience Class Program, you must submit your application online.
Step 4: Obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from your potential employer, if required
In most cases, an employer must obtain a positive LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) before hiring a foreign worker. Once the employer obtains a positive LMIA, it must be sent to the foreign worker applicant for inclusion in the work permit application.
Step 5: Obtain a temporary job offer from your potential employer
All foreign nationals applying for a temporary work permit must have a temporary job offer from their potential employer. The employer must send a detailed job offer letter to the work permit applicant. The applicant must then attach the job offer letter to his/her work permit application. The job offer letter must prove:
- That the job offer is genuine
- That the wages and working conditions are high enough to attract a Canadian worker
- That the employment is full time
- That the employment is not seasonal
The job offer letter must also include:
- The job title for the job being offered
- A description of the job’s duties and responsibilities
- Requirements for the job concerning: education, professional credentials, work experience, skills and licenses
- Details about the start date and end date of the job
- Details on salary and the way in which salary will be paid
- The name and address of the employer
- The address of the worker’s future workplace
- Contact information for a person at the company who is familiar with the job offer
If the employment is to take place in Quebec, the job offer must be approved by the Quebec government.
Note: The job offer letter must be submitted to the government by the employer AND a copy of the letter must be submitted by the applicant along with the work permit application. The applicant should also make sure that the employer has paid the employer compliance fee.
Job Bank has long been a valuable and resourceful platform that Canadians find jobs online. Job Bank is free for both employers and candidates to use. It is probably as close to an authoritative list of available jobs in Canada as you will be able to find online. It is worth trying.
Manpower Group is a trusted job consultant firm helping immigrants find the best Canadian jobs. Manpower Group is associated with 20+ Industries in Canada offering various jobs to immigrants from Production to Logistics to Industrial jobs.
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