Every year, over 150,000 foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily in order to help Canadian employers address skill shortages. A work permit is required for most temporary jobs in Canada.  Foreign employment in Canada may be divided into three categories:

  • a work permit that requires a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA),
  • employers who hire foreign workers through the International Mobility Programand are not required to obtain an LMIA, and
  • individuals authorized to work without a work permit.

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

An LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada allowing an employer to hire a foreign worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. In instances where a positive LMIA is required, the employer must provide evidence that they have attempted but were not successful in locating qualified Canadians to perform this job, that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian labour market, and that the foreign worker will be given a salary and benefits that meet federal and provincial standards.

International Mobility Program

Foreign workers hired through the International Mobility Program are not required to obtain an LMIA but are required to obtain a work permit. These foreign workers include the following:

Foreign Workers under the International Agreements

NAFTA, GATS, the Canada-Chile FTA, the Canada-Peru FTA, the Canada-Colombia FTA, the Canada-Korea FTA, and CETA;

Other Categories

People taking part in exchange programs; spouses; workers who are eligible for a work permit through a federal-provincial/territorial agreement; workers nominated by a province or territory for permanent residence; applicants who are eligible to apply for a bridging work permit who are already working in Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class or under one of the caregiver classes; repair personnel for industrial or commercial equipment; intra-company transferees; academics; co-op students; religious workers; and others, such as people who need to support themselves while they are in Canada, such as those waiting on a refugee claim.