Nowadays Canadian employers have trouble finding the right people to staff their business. Due to this difficulty, many Canadian employers are seeking foreign workers to help alleviate current labour shortages. Furthermore, hiring a foreign worker gives the employers access to unique sets of skills that are not readily available on the Canadian labour market. Canadian employers have an option to hire foreign workers either on a permanent or temporary basis. There are several options to choose from based on the employers’ needs and eligibility requirements.

Employers can hire foreign workers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP). In most cases under the TFWP, Canadian employers have to go through a process known as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) / Service Canada and obtain a positive approval letter before they can hire a foreign worker. An LMIA verifies that there is a need for the foreign worker and that no Canadians are available to do the job.

Employers: CLICK HERE to get more details about sponsoring a foreign worker.



All foreign workers that come to Canada to work on a temporary basis must obtain a work permit. To obtain a Canadian work permit, also known as a Canadian work visa, foreign workers must receive a job offer from a Canadian employer. Said employer, must receive a positive LMIA letter from Employment and Social Development Canada / Service Canada that gives the employer a permission to legally hire a foreign worker.

Once the LMIA approval letter is granted to the Canadian employer, only then can the foreign worker prepare and submit an application for a Canadian work permit to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The employer will have to provide a valid job offer letter to the foreign worker along with the copy of the LMIA approval letter.

Note: If accepting a job offer in the province of Quebec, the foreign worker may also need to obtain a CAQ in order to work temporarily in Quebec. There are specific job categories in Quebec that are ‘facilitated’ and eligible for streamlined processing.

Employees: CLICK HERE to get more details about being sponsored by a Canadian employer.

LMIA Exemptions


Under the International Mobility Program (IMP), Canadian employers can hire certain eligible foreign workers without an LMIA. Exemptions from the LMIA process are based on broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada such as reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement that allows citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico to entry into each other’s countries for temporary employment, business or investment reasons. In addition, nationals of these countries may be exempt from the requirement to obtain LMIA, which means that Canadian employers may not need to go through an LMIA process to hire an American or a Mexican national.

Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) category allows international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada for the purpose of improving management effectiveness, expanding Canadian exports, and enhancing competitiveness in overseas markets. Qualified intra-company transferees require work permits and are exempted from the LMIA requirement.

Employers & Employees: CLICK HERE to get more details about LMIA exemptions.