A work permit, or authorization to work without a permit, is required before a temporary foreign worker can be employed in Canada under either the TFWP or the IMP (International Mobility Program). Where an LMIA is required, a positive LMIA must be obtained by the employer before the temporary foreign worker can apply to IRCC for a work permit. A positive LMIA, however, does not guarantee that a work permit will be issued.
There are currently three kinds of work permits: employer‑specific work permits, open work permits, and open work permits for vulnerable workers. IRCC and ESDC are also considering introducing an occupation‑specific work permit for temporary foreign workers in the primary agriculture stream and low‑wage stream of the TFWP.
The high‑wage stream refers to positions with wages at or above the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. When hiring temporary foreign workers through the high‑wage stream, in addition to meeting the recruitment requirements explained above, employers must develop a transition plan describing the activities they will undertake to recruit, train and retain Canadians and permanent residents in order to reduce the employers’ reliance on the TFWP. If an employer applies for an LMIA for the same work location and position in the future, the employer will have to report on the results of the commitments made in the previous plan. There are certain exceptions to the transition plan requirement, including for workers hired in caregiving or primary agricultural occupations.
Requirements for High-wage Job Offer
Here are some of the requirements for employers who want to hire a temporary foreign worker:
- Employers must supply documents along with their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to demonstrate that their business and job offer are legitimate.
- Transition Plan, validating the duration of the employment of the temporary foreign worker
- Employers must conduct recruitment efforts to hire Canadians and permanent residents before offering a job to a temporary foreign worker.
- Wages offered to temporary foreign workers should be similar to wages paid to Canadian and permanent resident employees hired for the same job and work location, and with similar skills and years of experience.
- Employers must ensure that the temporary foreign workers they want to hire under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are covered from the provincial or territorial workplace safety insurance provider, required by law.
The low‑wage stream refers to positions with wages below the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. In addition to having to meet recruitment requirements as discussed above, employers are subject to a cap on the proportion of temporary foreign workers they can hire under the low‑wage stream at a specific work location. This cap was introduced on 20 June 2014 as one of the changes implemented to reduce Canadian employers’ reliance on temporary workers. For employers who hired a TFWP worker in a low‑wage position prior to 20 June 2014, the cap is 20%. For employers who did not employ a temporary foreign worker in a low‑wage position prior to 20 June 2014, the cap is 10%. Exemptions from the cap include, but are not limited to, on‑farm primary agricultural positions, caregiving positions in a private household or healthcare facility, and low‑wage positions in seasonal industries that do not go beyond 180 calendar days.
Procedures for Employers hiring a Temporary Worker for Low-wage position
The employer who is ready to hire a temporary worker for a low-wage position must complete the following steps:
Step 1: Complete and sign the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Labour Market Impact Assessment Application – Low-Wage Positions form.
Step 2: The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application can be submitted up to six months prior to the expected job start date. It must be completed, signed, and sent along with all required documents and the processing fee to the appropriate Service Canada Processing Centre. The application package must include:
- Labour Market Impact Assessment application form for low-wage positions
- Proof of business legitimacy
- Proof of recruitment
- Employment Contract