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Immigration & Work Permits

Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Canada, as established by immigration laws. Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the Canadian market. If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.

To apply for a Canadian visa you can use the ‘Application for a Work Permit Made Outside of Canada [IMM 1295]’ procedure.

The list of countries that are exempt from requesting a visa to visit Canada is subject to change at any time. Obtain an updated list of Visitor Visa exemptions by consulting the Government of Canada website.

Your Options

Use your own company

The steps undertaken by the employer

  • As an employer, you may need to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before you can hire a foreign worker or get pre-approval to hire a large number of workers.
  • A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for the foreign worker to fill the job you offer and that there is no Canadian worker available to do the job.
  • If you are hiring foreign workers in an occupation that requires prolonged and/or extensive recruitment and you would like approval in principle before you recruit, you can fill out the application form to hire foreign workers. You might use this process because of the large number of workers being recruited and/or the complexity of the required recruitment.
  • Leave blank the part of the application form regarding information about the foreign worker. Clearly indicate on the application that this is a request for pre-approval.
  • Submit the completed application to the nearest Service Canada Centre that processes foreign worker applications. If you have any questions on pre- approvals or on completing the application form, contact the nearest Service Canada Centre that processes foreign worker applications.
  • When a decision is made about the pre-approval request, you will receive a notice from Service Canada, which explains the decision. You can only begin recruiting if your pre-approval request has been approved.
  • After you have recruited foreign workers and the necessary information about them has been provided to Service Canada, positive LMIAs will be issued to each successfully recruited worker. In these cases, you as an employer must meet the conditions of the foreign worker application form and employment contract (if applicable).
  • Do not recruit if Service Canada refuses your pre-approval request. If you disagree with the Service Canada decision, you may submit any new information that you feel may affect the decision to the Service Canada Centre indicated in the notice.
  • Once a positive LMIA has been issued, you should provide a copy of the confirmation letter to each foreign worker and advise each worker to apply for a work permit and, if necessary, a temporary resident visa at a visa office abroad.
  • The requirements needed to obtain a work permit for an employee needs to meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that the employee will be in Canada for a temporary stay.
  • Employee makes work permit and Temporary Resident Visa application (if necessary) at their local Canadian High Commission.
  • The Work Permit and/or Temporary Resident Visa is approved.
  • Employee travels to Canada.
  • When the employee arrives at the point of entry in Canada, an officer will make the final determination.
  • Employee is legally permitted to work in Canada.

Documentation required (Employee):

  • The positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) your employer received from Employment and Social Development Canada and your job offer, or
  • A copy of the Offer of Employment form (PDF, 1.12 MB) submitted by your employer and a copy of the fee receipt the employer received when they paid an employer compliance fee to Citizenship and Immigration Canada if you do not need an LMIA and you are not applying for an open work permit
  • Proof that you meet the requirement of the job such as proof of education and work experience
  • Educational and Professional Certificates
  • Scanned copies of all documents
  • A police certificate
  • Possibly a medical exam certificate
  • Provide any additional documents requested by the officer to establish your admissibility.

Use the Shield GEO solution

Shield GEO can process work permits in 1-2 weeks, depending on the nationality of the employee, and the service would costs $2,000 USD.

The steps required are as follows:

  • Company engages with Shield GEO.
  • The employee supplies their documentation.
  • Shield GEO applies for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and supply this, along with the required documentation and application form, to the employee.
  • Employee makes work permit and Temporary Resident Visa application (if necessary) at their local Canadian High Commission.
  • The Work Permit and/or Temporary Resident Visa is approved.
  • Employee travels to Canada.
  • When the employee arrives at the point of entry in Canada, an officer will make the final determination.
  • Employee is legally permitted to work in Canada.

Documentation required (Employee):

  • Proof that you meet the requirement of the job such as proof of education and work experience
  • Educational and Professional Certificates
  • Scanned copies of all documents
  • A police certificate
  • Possibly a medical exam certificate
  • Provide any additional documents requested by the officer to establish your admissibility.

Types of visas in Canada

Category Description of Visa
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