Determine your eligibility – Hire temporary foreign workers

You must meet certain requirements before you can hire a foreign worker.

Labour market opinion

To hire a foreign worker, in some cases, an employer must get a Labour Market Opinion (LMO)—which supports the work permit application. An LMO is the opinion provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)/Service Canada to the officer that enables the officer to determine whether the employment of the foreign worker is likely to have a positive or negative impact on the labour market in Canada.

You can get an LMO for:

  • a specific worker or position, or
  • pre-approval, which is approval in principle for a series of positions. This might be helpful if you need to recruit a larger number of people.

Some work categories are exempt from the LMO requirement. See Jobs that are LMO-exempt.

See Labour market opinion basics to learn more about the labour market opinion and the role of Service Canada.

In cases where you believe a LMO or Work Permit exemption may apply, you can request an assessment (“opinion request”) from a Temporary Foreign Worker Unit, provided the foreign worker is from a visa-exempt country and is currently outside Canada.

Temporary Foreign Worker Units

Temporary Foreign Worker Units are designed to help employers address labour and skill shortages.

These units will:

  • ease entry for temporary foreign workers who are exempt from the labour market opinion and/or work permit process, and
  • pre-screen your supporting documents to streamline the application process and provide an opinion for officers at the port of entry.

You can reach temporary foreign worker units in:

  • Toronto (serving Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut)
  • Montreal (serving Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador)

You can also find out about the service standard for opinion to employers on exemption from LMO by Temporary Foreign Worker Units. This details the specific level of service you can expect to receive under normal circumstances.

Learn about:

Employers' Roadmap

This roadmap is a guide for employers in small to medium-sized enterprises interested in hiring foreign workers.
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