3. Finding internationally trained workers

In this section you will find information on the following:

  • Finding ITWs in Canada
  • Finding ITWs outside of Canada
    • Federal Skilled Worker Program
    • Temporary Foreign Worker Program
    • Temporary Foreign Worker Program and international students
    • Canadian Experience Class
    • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Related resources

Finding ITWs in Canada

 Video: Finding Internationally Trained Workers

ITWs in Canada have the skills and experience you need, and there are many ways to find them.

There are a number of good places to start recruiting, including the following.

  • Immigrant-serving organizations help immigrants and newcomers settle in Canada. They can put you in touch with the newcomers they serve.
  • Data banks are searchable websites where agencies post ITW profiles. Some also allow employers to post jobs.
    • Service Canada’s Job Bank is a free, easy-to-use, online job listing and recruitment service that connects workers and employers across the country.
  • Employees, including Canadian-born staff, can often refer you to ITWs.
  • Associations and networks may have programs aimed at placing internationally trained workers in employment.
  • Job fairs can bring you face to face with promising candidates in your region, community or sector. You can join a job fair as a participating employer.
  • Universities and colleges provide many services, including bridge-to-work programs and placement services that connect ITWs with employers.

Finding ITWs outside of Canada

To hire a foreign worker, you must go through one of several federal or provincial immigration programs.

  • This section is intended to provide you with a quick overview of a variety of immigration programs. It covers your responsibilities as an employer or sponsor and provides background information on the responsibilities of the immigrant.
  • It is important that you do further research into your responsibilities if you choose to support the immigration of an ITW to Canada through one of these immigration streams.
  • Quebec establishes its own immigration requirements and selects immigrants who will adapt well to living in Quebec. Employers should be aware that internationally trained workers who want to come to Canada as Quebec-selected skilled workers must first apply to the Quebec government for a certificate of selection (Certificat de sélection du Québec).

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is for foreign citizens who wish to immigrate to Canada or become permanent residents of the country.

What you need to know

  • The program uses six selection factors to assess applications: education, language skills, experience, age, arranged employment and adaptability. Each factor is allotted a maximum number of points, and applicants must obtain at least 67 points in order to qualify for a Canadian immigration (permanent resident) visa.
  • Some countries require that their citizens meet certain conditions to work abroad.
    • Ask the foreign worker to verify if additional conditions apply in his or her country. You can also contact the country’s consulate in Canada or visit its website for more information.
  • If you plan to hire skilled workers for permanent positions and support their immigration, you can improve their chances of being approved by applying for an arranged employment opinion (AEO) from Employment and Social Development Canada.
    • Note that Citizenship and Immigration Canada considers AEOs when reviewing applications for permanent residence, but that an AEO does not guarantee a work permit will be issued.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows you to hire eligible internationally trained workers to work in Canada for an authorized period of time.

  • Before you start recruiting, you must demonstrate that you are unable to find Canadians or permanent residents to fill the jobs, and that the entry of new foreign workers will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market.
  • In most cases, there are four steps involved in hiring a temporary foreign worker from outside Canada.
    • The number of steps will depend on the specifics of the job offer, and on the foreign worker’s country of citizenship and last place of permanent residence.

Steps for employers

Step 1: Determine if you require a labour market opinion (LMO)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada considers labour market opinions (LMOs) when deciding whether to issue work permits to foreign workers. An LMO is an assessment of the impact that hiring a foreign worker would have on Canadian jobs. It seeks to ensure that people in Canada have first access to available jobs and that employers pay and treat foreign workers fairly.

Most job categories require an LMO but some do not. Contact a Temporary Foreign Worker Unit to check if your job offer is exempt. You will likely need to provide them with details about the position before they can advise you.

  • You can get an LMO for one worker or position, or approval in principle for a series of positions. This might be helpful if you need to recruit a large number of people.
Step 2: Apply for a labour market opinion (if applicable)

If the job you’re offering requires an LMO, complete an LMO application and submit it to the Service Canada centre in your region.
Service Canada will send you a letter of confirmation.

  • If the LMO is positive or neutral, send the foreign worker a copy of this letter, a signed job offer and an employment contract (if applicable). The worker will use these documents to apply for a Canadian visa (if it is required) and a work permit. Note that a positive or neutral LMO does not guarantee a visa, a work permit or entry into Canada.
  • If the LMO is negative, you are advised not to continue the process for hiring a foreign worker. You may request a review of the decision at a later date if you have new information.

Steps for foreign workers

Step 3: Complete the work permit application

Most foreign workers or candidates must apply for and obtain a work permit and visa from Citizenship and Immigration Canada before they can work in Canada.

The procedures for acquiring these documents may differ depending on the visa office contacted. The foreign worker must submit applications to the applicable visa office – the office that serves his or her country of origin, or the country in which he or she legally resided for at least one year.

Information the worker will need to provide usually includes:

  • information concerning the identity of the candidate;
  • a copy of the job offer or signed employment contract;
  • the labour market opinion;
  • photographs of the worker and any accompanying family;
  • proof of the applicant’s present immigration status;
  • a medical examination; and
  • a criminal background check.

An application fee will be collected from the applicant.

Step 4: Obtain the work permit from the Canada Border Services Agency officer at a port of entry

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) grants foreign workers their work permits at ports of entry.

Keep in mind
  • A work permit is usually valid only for a specified job, employer and period of time.
  • Processing times for visa and work permit applications vary.
  • A visa must be granted before the applicant leaves his or her home country.
  • Employers and foreign workers must provide accurate and complete information or the application process may be delayed.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program and international students

Two Temporary Foreign Worker Programs allow you to hire international students to work in Canada.

Off-Campus Work Permit Program

The Off-Campus Work Permit Program allows certain foreign students to work off campus while completing their studies.

  • To qualify, students must be enrolled at participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institutions or in approved programs at eligible privately funded institutions.
  • Students must apply for and receive work permits before they can begin to work off campus.
    • Work permits authorize students to work up to 20 hours a week during regular academic sessions, and full time during scheduled breaks such as summer holidays and spring break.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

Under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), employers may hire international students who have graduated from participating Canadian post-secondary institutions.

  • They can work up to three years, in jobs related to their fields of study, without the need for the employer to obtain an LMO.
  • Graduated students who have worked under the PGWPP may be eligible for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class stream of immigration.

At a later date, if you choose to support your temporary foreign worker’s transition to permanent residence, you can improve his or her chances of having the application approved by applying for a labour market opinion from Employment and Skills Development Canada.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program allows temporary foreign workers and graduated international students to apply for permanent residence.

  • To qualify, the candidates must:
    • intend to live outside Quebec;
    • be either:
      • temporary foreign workers with at least two years of full-time (or equivalent) skilled work experience in Canada, or
      • foreign graduates from a Canadian post-secondary institution with at least one year of full-time (or equivalent) skilled work experience in Canada;
    • Have gained their experience in Canada with the proper work or study authorization; and
    • Apply while working in Canada or within one year of leaving Canada.
  • To be considered for permanent residence under the CEC, the candidate’s work experience must fall within one of the following Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) categories:
    • Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations);
    • Skill Level A (professional occupations); or
    • Skill Level B (technical occupations and skilled trades).
  • Candidates are assessed on their Canadian skilled work experience, their proficiency in English or French, and their Canadian post-secondary credential (if applicable).

Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program allows provinces and territories to nominate immigrants who will settle within their boundaries and contribute to their economic development.

You can help foreign workers succeed by advising them on the process.

Steps for foreign workers

Step 1: Apply for provincial nomination

Workers who choose to immigrate to Canada as provincial nominees must first apply to the province where they wish to settle and complete the provincial nomination process. Each jurisdiction has its own criteria, and employers may participate in the nomination process in some provinces and territories.

A successful applicant will receive a certificate of provincial nomination from the province or territory. A copy of the certificate will be sent directly to the visa office, so the applicant does not have to submit a copy with his or her application.

Interested workers and employers should visit the appropriate website to determine eligibility and requirements.

Step 2: Obtain and complete the forms in the permanent residence application package

After workers have been nominated by a province or territory, they have to make a separate application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for permanent residence.

The Application for Permanent Residence: Guide for Provincial Nominees package includes an application guide and all the forms that need to be filled out.

The applicant should print the following forms and carefully follow the instructions for filling them out. All questions should be answered carefully, completely and truthfully, and the forms must be signed.

Application for Permanent Residence in Canada

  • Schedule1: Background/Declaration
  • Schedule4: Economic Classes: Provincial Nominees
  • Additional Family Information
  • Use ofan Immigration Representative. This form is for foreign workers who get advice and assistance from immigration representatives. Using a representative is a personal choice and thereis usually a fee for this service.
Step 3: Check the application before submitting it

The foreign worker must make sure the application is completed correctly, and that all the necessary supporting documents are included.

Step 4: Submit the application to the correct visa office

The foreign worker must submit applications to the applicable visa office – the office that serves his or her country of origin, or the country in which he or she legally resided for at least one year.

Step 5: Pay the applicable fees

The foreign worker should determine the fees that will have to be paid. Information on how to pay fees is included in the instructions.

  • A processing fee for foreign workers and their dependants must be paid when the application issubmitted.
    • This fee is not refundable, even if the application is not approved.
  • A Right of Permanent Residence fee for applicants and accompanying spouses or common-law partners may be applicable.
    • The fee should not be paid until the application is processed, but must be paid before Citizenship and Immigration Canada issues a permanent resident visa. This fee is refundable if the foreign worker cancels the application, if the application is not approved, or if they do not use their visa.
  • Other costs may include fees for a medical examination, a police certificate and language testing.
    • Medical examinations have to be carried out at prespecified locations. The list of authorized doctors, organized by country, territory or region, is included in the Guide for Provincial Nominees.
Keep in mind
  • Application forms and fees must be submitted to the appropriate Canadian visa office.
  • Employers and foreign workers must ensure that they provide accurateand complete information or the application package will not be processed and will be returned to the applicant.
  • The visa office cannot process an application if the supporting documents or processing fees are missing, or if the forms are not completed and signed. This will delay the application.

Related resources

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