More Canadian Employers Hiring Foreign Workers

Despite the unemployment rate in Canada dropping to pre-pandemic levels, employers continue to struggle with finding qualified employees.

A Statistics Canada report showed that, for every 100 vacancies, employers filled an average of 5.2 vacancies. In December 2021, there was an increase in vacancies at the same time as a decrease in Canada’s unemployment rate, which fell to 5.4%.

To fill gaps in available labour, Canadian employers have turned to hiring thousands of foreign workers through more than 100 different work permit pathways. Currently, there are two major work permit programs – the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW) and the International Mobility Program (IMP). The biggest difference between the two programs is the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption.

What is the LMIA?

LMIA is a labour market test that employers must complete if they want to legally hire a foreign worker.

Since the TFW is made to address labour shortages in Canada, it does require employers to get an LMIA. On the other hand, the IMP supports the country’s broad social, cultural, and economic objectives, which eliminates the need for tests connected to the labour market.

What Can You Expect When Applying for a Foreign Worker Program?

If an employer decides to hire you via the TFWP, they first have to prove that there is an absence of suitable workers already within the country, and that your employment won’t have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market. Once the employer receives a positive or a neutral LMIA, they must give you a copy so you can submit it together with your work permit application to the IRCC. After your work permit application is approved, you can start your new job.

With the IMP, work permits are a result of Canada’s free trade agreements. One of those is the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program which enables youth from around the world to work in Canada. International student graduates and eligible spouses and common-law partners can also apply for open work permits.

Workers with open work permits can accept any job offer in Canada, regardless of employer or occupation. Since all open work permits fall under the IMP, employers do not need an LMIA to hire these workers.

That said, employers who wish to hire through IMP must pay an employer compliance fee and submit an offer of employment form through IRCC’s Employer Portal. This must be done before a foreign worker can apply for their work permit.