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Corporate Services – Work Permit Options

Should you be interested in hiring foreign workers on a temporary basis, here are a few programs worth looking into, and we can help you decide which one is suitable for your organization’s needs.

LMIA-Based Work Permit

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada and is required in order to apply for most Canadian work permits. Prior to submitting the application for an LMIA, the employer must advertise and Job Bank must be one source. Applications for an LMIA for a temporary position have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for.  The positive LMIA is provided by Service Canada / ESDC to the employer, who will give it to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which, if granted, is typically issued for one year. There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for eligible highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.

The Application for an LMIA has the same requirements as the LMIAs for Express Entry and Permanent Residence, hence receives the same scrutiny from ESDC.

The foreign workers must show that they meet all the requirements of the position (i.e. education, experience, skills) as listed in the LMIA application.

Owner/ Operator LMIA

To qualify as an owner/operator, a foreign national must demonstrate that they:

  • have a level of controlling interest in the business of more than 50% of the business,
  • are in the most senior position and are active in the management of the business;
  • have a sound business plan
  • plan to employ at least one Canadian or permanent resident in the first year, and
  • the business activity in Canada will create more employment opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents and/or skills transfer to Canadians and permanent residents.

Advantages:

  • When applying for an Owner/Operator LMIA, there is no requirement for advertising or recruitment.
  • This option is available anywhere in Canada.
  • The validity of a positive LMIA is up to 2 years; IRCC issues a work permit for 2 years 
  • Becomes a path to permanent residence through the Express Entry System

Disadvantages:

  • The unpredictability of end-result;
  • Employer-specific work permit;
  • There may be a loss of investment; and
  • There are some tax disadvantages.

Global Talent Stream LMIA (Pilot Program)

A two-year pilot to hire highly-skilled global talent, which began on June 12, 2017, under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Global Talent Stream is a new streamlined process. The Global Talent Stream Pilot is a key part of the Innovation and Skills Plan which has as a primary objective making Canada a world-leading centre for innovation. The main characteristic of this pilot program is the Labour Market Benefits Plan to detail the specific benefits for the Canadian Labour market and the Canadian economy, and employers must provide activities and targets for each benefit. By taking into employment highly-skilled global talent, the employer must commit to further providing both mandatory and complementary benefits, depending on the category they apply under:

Category A

  • referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of Global Talent Stream’s designated partners;
  • hiring unique and specialized talent;
  • mandatory benefits for Category A: creating jobs;

Category B

  • only the occupations on the Global Talent occupations list;
  • mandatory benefits for Category B: increasing skills and training investments.

Alongside job creation and investment in skills and training, other benefits are transferring knowledge to Canadians and permanent residents and enhanced company performance.

There is no advertising requirement and no transition plan for this stream; however, there is a mandatory progress review on the employer’s progress on their commitments made in the Labour Market Benefits Plan.

Considering the benefits, this pilot program might be extended and eventually transition into a permanent program.

LMIA-Based Work Permit under PNPs

Provincial Nominee Programs facilitate the entry or stay in Canada of many categories of professionals who otherwise might not qualify under the Express Entry System.

Note: if you have not found or trained a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to fill out the labour shortage, you have to keep in mind that proper planning is necessary and apply for a new LMIA ahead of time. The temporary worker can apply for a work permit extension before the initial work permit expired, and he can continue working for your organization while awaiting a decision to be made on their application. For the new applications for an LMIA for the high-wage positions, your transition plan must be feasible so to be credible, with realistic and verifiable implementation steps of:

  • increased efforts to hire Canadians and train them in the long-term; or
  • support the high-skilled temporary foreign worker transition to becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

Business Expansion to Canada through PNPs

Provincial nominee programs authorize provinces and territories to nominate applicants based on the labour market and economic needs of each province or territory. Please visit our PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAMS page.

LMIA-Exempt Work Permit

The following sections of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) provide the IRCC with the regulatory authority to issue a work permit for temporary positions that do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

  • R204: International agreements Canada-International Free Trade Agreements (FTA) (CUSMA/USMCA, GATS, CETA, CPTP, ETC.), Canada-International Non-Trade Agreements (SITA, IATA, etc.);
  • R205: Canadian interests (Significant benefit (unique work situations), Reciprocal employment, research, competitiveness and public policy, Charitable or religious work)
  • R206: No other means of support (Refugee claimants, and persons under unenforceable removal orders)
  • R207: Permanent residence applicants in Canada (spouse or common-law partner in Canada, Convention refugees, successful pre-removal risk assessment applicants,
  • R208: Humanitarian reasons (holder of a Temporary Resident Permit of 6 months or more with no means of support)

Under these regulations, employers can avoid the lengthy and complex LMIA process.

Exemptions apply to the following types of Work permits:

  • Work permit for a start-up visa entrepreneur if they do not intend to immigrate to Canada;
  • Work permit for the key personnel for the new start-up visa office;
  • Work Permit for employees of international Organizations with divisions in Canada, under the International Mobility Program (IMP), Canada’s International Agreements and Non-trade-related agreements;
  • Work permit for after-sales service specialists (installation, repair or maintenance of industrial or commercial equipment);

Intra- company transfer (ICT) – existing subsidiary in Canada

The first key element of an LMIA-exempt application is to establish the relationship between the Canadian organization and the parent company, branch or affiliate outside Canada. To be eligible for the intra-company transfer to the Canadian office, the foreign national eligible must have been employed for a minimum of one year in the same position by the parent company, subsidiary, branch or affiliate company outside Canada. The transferred personnel have the option to be joined by their family members for the period they will work in Canada. Contact us for exploring the best options for the employer and for your transferees.

LMIA-exempt applications involve two phases:

1) the employer must submit an offer of employment to the IRCC, together with the employer compliance fee, and provide the foreign national with the offer of employment number (the AA number); and

2)  the work permit application, together with a visitor visa for each family member, spouse work permit, and/or dependent children study permit/visitor record, depending on the situation.

Note: If your job is at the NOC 0 (managerial, executive) or NOC A (professional) level, you may be eligible for a two-week application processing.

The application must be submitted online, must be complete, and the application fees must be paid correctly.

Start-Up Intra-Company Transfer Work Permits – (New Office)

Before making the LMIA-exempt work permit application, the Canadian company must register or incorporate in Canada, so the qualifying company relationship between the entities is established.

International Experience Canada (IEC) Work Permit

A work permit under this category is meant for youth between 18 and 35 years from a country of citizenship that has an agreement with Canada that allows applying for an IEC work permit. There are three categories, but not all three are applicable to all countries: working holiday, young professionals and international Co-op internship.

The working holiday category provides an open work permit, while the young professionals and the international Co-op internship provide employer-specific work permits.

It is important to keep updated, as the eligibility requirements for countries and categories are continuously changing.

For example, Chilean citizens may participate in IEC twice, under any of the three categories. Under the Young Professionals category, Chilean citizens, particularly post-secondary graduates, who wish to further their careers by gaining professional work experience in Canada for up to 12 months can submit their profile to the pool. To be eligible, the Chilean citizen must:

  • be of age between the ages of 18 and 35 (inclusive)
  • have a signed letter of offer or contract of employment in Canada—the employment offer must be in their field of expertise and enhance their professional development
  • provide proof of financial resources to help cover expenses in Canada, and to purchase a departure ticket at the end of the authorized stay in Canada
  • provide evidence of health insurance
  • not be accompanied by dependents
  • be admissible to Canada.

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