Work Permit

Temporary Foreign worker

A temporary foreign worker is a temporary resident who is authorized to work in Canada by a work permit (WP) or authorized to work without a permit. It is considered “work” even if no wages are paid or commission is earned as long as the temporary resident is in direct competition with Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.

If a foreign national arrives at a port of entry without a work permit approval or application and intends to work in Canada, he/she is subject to an exclusion order that prohibits him/her from entering Canada for a year without a return authorization. If a temporary resident engages in unauthorized work, he/she may also be subject to an exclusion order.

When issuing a work permit to a foreign national, an immigration officer willconsider if the job is genuine and if the employment of the foreign national islikely to have a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labour market basedon a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) issued by Service Canada to the employer.

There are situations where a temporary resident is not required to have a workpermit to work in Canada, for example:

  • ➢ Business visitors.
  • ➢ Full-time post-secondary school student with a study permit.
  • ➢ Performing artist of foreign production company or a guest artist in a Canadian production company with no employment relationship with a Canadian production company, performing a time-limited engagement and not performing in a bar, restaurant or similar establishment (Note: actors, directors and technicians of foreign film, TV or radio companies who come to work in Canada even for the foreign company will need LMIA’s and WP’s (LMIA-exempt if they have co-production agreements with Canadian companies) while producers of foreign film, TV or radio companies are treated as WP-exempt business visitors).
  • ➢ Athletes and coaches in a foreign team or Canadian amateur team (while foreign athletes and coaches to work in a Canadian professional team need LMIA-exempt WP’s); Referees at an amateur sports competition (while professional referees require LMIA’s and WP’s except that they are LMIA-exempt if they have reciprocal arrangements for Canadian referees).
  • ➢ Guest speakers working no longer than 5 days.
  • ➢ Convention organizers.
  • ➢ Clergy who preach doctrines or minister to a congregation (while those who carry out duties for a Canadian religious organizations need LMIA- exempt WP’s)
  • ➢ Crew members of a foreign-owned means of transportation (trucks, buses, planes and ships) engaged in international transportation (not between two places in Canada)
LMIA – Labour Market Impact Assessment

Foreign nationals who wish to work in Canada are generally required to have a job offer from a Canadian employer to obtain a work permit. Before being eligible to apply for a work permit, the potential employer may have to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

The purpose of an LMIA is to prove that a foreign worker is necessary for a specific job position; it must be true that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do the job. In some case, the employee, with the support of their employer, may be eligible for a LMIA- exempt work permit