In most cases, there are four steps to hire a foreign worker from outside Canada.
You may not need to do every step, depending on the job offer and the foreign worker’s country of citizenship and last permanent residence.
Both you and any foreign workers you hire must provide accurate and complete information or the application process may be delayed.
The four steps to hire a foreign worker
These are the four basic steps for hiring a foreign worker.
1. Determine if you need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Your first step is to find out if you need a LMIA to hire a foreign worker. You will need this information for the steps below.
2a. If an LMIA is required: apply for one from Service Canada.
Find out how to apply for an LMIA from Service Canada.
If you get a letter from Service Canada confirming a positive LMIA, you will need to send certain documents to the foreign worker you wish to hire. The foreign worker will use these documents to apply for a work permit.
Send the following documents to the foreign worker you wish to hire:
- a copy of the positive LMIA confirmation letter for the job offer, including the file number and
- a detailed job offer. The job offer should include:
- a description of the job duties and responsibilities
- a list of the education, skills and experience that workers must have for the job, including a list of licences and professional credentials
- details on when the job will start and end. Work permits are issued only to foreign workers who are coming to work in Canada for a limited (temporary) time. If workers want to come to live and work permanently in Canada, they must apply for permanent residence. See Hire permanent workers.
- details of the salary you are offering, including wages and other forms of payment (for example, room and board or commission) and
- your name and address, and the address where the foreign worker will be working.
The foreign worker will include these documents in their application for a work permit. In certain cases, they also need a signed contract.
2b. If an LMIA is not required: submit the Offer of Employment and pay the employer compliance fee to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
If you want to hire a foreign worker who does not need an LMIA, you must first pay an employer compliance fee and submit an Offer of Employment form to CIC. A Form Aid is available to help you complete the Offer of Employment form.
You must send a copy of the Offer of Employment form you have submitted to CIC and proof that you have paid the employer compliance fee to CIC to the foreign worker you wish to hire. The foreign worker will use these documents to apply for a work permit. Their work permit application will be refused if these documents are not included.
3. Have the foreign worker complete the work permit application.
You can find information about work permit applications under Working temporarily in Canada. In most cases, foreign workers must apply for a work permit at a Canadian visa office abroad.
The visa office will review the work permit application to see if the worker is eligible to work in Canada. If the work permit application is approved, a Letter of Introduction (LOI) will be sent to the foreign worker.
4. If the worker is still eligible when they arrive in Canada, a border services officer will issue the work permit at the point of entry.
To learn more about this process, see After hiring.
Other important hiring information
- Depending on their country of citizenship, foreign workers may need a temporary resident visa (TRV) to enter Canada. For more information, see Temporary Resident Visa - How to Apply.
- Depending on the type of work they will do and where they lived in the last year, foreign workers may have to undergo a medical examination before entering Canada. For more information, see about medical examinations.
- Some countries have requirements that citizens must meet before leaving the country. They may need an exit visa or other documents related to their Canadian employment. Workers should check with their government authorities to find out what the requirements are before they attempt to leave.
- Make sure you hire someone with a valid work permit, and follow the conditions described on work permits. See the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for more information on employers’ responsibilities.
Hiring in the province of Quebec
If you are a Quebec employer, the person you wish to hire may also need to get a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) from the Quebec government before a work permit can be issued. For information about the CAQ, see Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (the Quebec immigration department), or contact either a Canadian embassy abroad or a Canada Immigration Centre in Canada.
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