Our immigration system is designed in a way as to provide various options for those specialists who want to work in Canada under temporary work permit.

If you are an athlete, a coach, a business visitor, a clergy (the full list of specific professions are on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website) then you might not have to apply for a work permit in order to work in Canada. However, you have to be very careful when deciding, based on the information on the governmental immigration website, that you don’t need a work permit. For example, I was contacted by a Canadian business that wanted to invite an American athlete to work as a coach training their students. That business was under the impression that the athlete does not need a work permit because his profession is on the list of exempted professions. It would be correct, if the athlete was coming to Canada to participate in a competition. So, that business did not read the instructions carefully.

When applying for a work permit, a foreign specialist must satisfy the examining officer that they leave Canada after their temporary work. What does it mean? It means that the applicant must provide the officials with documentary evidence demonstrating that they will likely return to their country of nationality and continue their careers there, and not in Canada.

Before applying for a work permit, a candidate must find out whether or not their job has to be approved first by Service Canada, Foreign Worker program. The prospective Canadian employer, in some instances, must apply to Service Canada with the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application. The rationale behind that approach is to make sure that Canadian employers put Canadian needs first and if a Canadian is not available or not willing to work for the prospective position, then Service Canada allows to hire a foreign worker.

The LMIA process is lengthy, usually being processed at Service Canada for 3-4 months, but in some situations, it could be done expeditiously. The government of Canada designed a Global Skills Strategy’s two-week application process for professions that fall under skill type 0 (managerial positions: restaurant managers, mine managers or shore captains (fishing) or level A  (doctors, dentists and architects) in the National Occupational Classification system (NOC). Those candidates do not need an LMIA. If a candidate falls under Global Talent Stream (it’s usually highly qualified computer specialists and again, there is full list of professions for this stream that one can find on the official immigration website), they need an LMIA approval and can benefit from this two-weeks’ processing.

Majority of foreign workers who are interested in working in Canada need an LMIA approval. So, the process of applying for a work permit starts from looking for an eligible Canadian employer. It can be done through an immigration firm dealing with employers or directly with the employer.


Working in Canada
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