Hire a Foreign Worker

For immigration purposes, “work” is defined as an activity:

  • For which wages are paid or commission is earned; or
  • That competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market. 

If a foreign national will be undertaking activities in Canada which are considered to be work and a work permit exemption does not apply, they will require a work permit regardless of the duration of their stay in Canada, the fact that a foreign entity is paying their salary, the fact that there is no tax equalization, etc.

There are currently two umbrella programs in Canada under which an employer or prospective employer can hire a foreign national. These programs are:

  1. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP); and
  2. The International Mobility Program (IMP).

Under the TFWP, an employer or a prospective employer must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), formerly known as a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), before the foreign national can apply for a work permit. However, under the IMP, foreign nationals can apply for a work permit without an employer or prospective employer having to obtain an LMIA.