Our Canadian immigration lawyers assist both the employers and employees were looking for employees and employers respectively and resolve their immigration related issues. These issues may relate to work permit and LMIA, work permit during and after study permit, open work permit and NAFTA work permit.
Canadian Work Permit
If you are a foreign national and you want to work in Canada, you will require Canadian work permit. When the Canadian government gives you work permit, it authorities you to work in Canada for a particular duration. This means that work permit allows you to work in Canada only for a particular period of time. If you want to work for an unrestricted duration, you must apply for permanent residency. You can work for a total number of four years in Canada on the basis of the work permit.
The most important part of the work permit is labor market impact assessment (LMIA). It is given by employment and social development Canada (ESDC). The employer who is unable to get a desired employee in the domestic Canadian market and also shows that he is unable to get a qualified person for the job qualifies for LMIA. After the employer gives LMIA to the employee, he is eligible to get Canadian work permit. The work permit which is received in this process is specific to a particular employer. So if an employee has received LMIA and work permit from a particular employer and now that employee wants to change the jobs, the employee must receive fresh LMIA and fresh work permit. There are several categories of persons were exempted from having a work permit in Canada.
Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) – Labor Market Impact Assessment was formerly called Labor Market Opinion (LMO). The purpose of this verification is to protect the Canada has domestic job market and foreign workers. As described above, ESDC approves LMIA application made by the Canadian employer. It’s a long process where the employer has to explain to the Canadian authorities that the foreign worker is required and why the domestic worker has not been employed. The employer must show in his application that the employer made efforts to find a suitable employee but no other person in Canada was available to do the job. There are many other criteria and our lawyers can assist you in getting LMIA from the ESDC. ESDC has discretion to accept or reject the application for LMIA.
While making the application for LMIA you must inform the Canadian authorities whether the employee is going to be high wage employee of the low-wage employee. The differences that in the case of high wage employee, you must submit a transition plan stating that the wage is equal to or above the provincial or territorial median hourly wage. However in the case of low-wage employee, there is no such requirement. The processing time of the application may range from a few days to a few months, depending on –
The scale to trade
The wage rate
The duration of work
LMIA exemption – There are certain categories in which LMIA is not required and is therefore exempt.
International exchange program. Persons who are entering Canada through youth, teacher or similar exchanges and working holiday visa are exempt.
International agreements. If you want a Canadian work permit and you are business visitor or professional and you are also covered under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) then you are exempt from LMIA.
Private entrepreneurs. If you are a private entrepreneur and you want to start business in Canada, you are exempt from having LMIA work permit. You have to meet certain conditions like you should have majority ownership of your business concern, the business should benefit Canada and the nature of your work in Canada must be temporary.
Intra company transfers. LMIA is not required when a Canadian company company has a branch outside Canada and it transfers an employee having a specialized knowledge position to Canada.
Religious works. A foreign national does not require LMIA for the performance of charitable or religious work.
Provincial nomination. LMIA is not required if you have been selected through a PNP program of the province if you have a job offer in that province.
Pilot projects. These are specific programs which are created to promote employment of foreign workers in particular areas.
Open Work Permit Canada
The most important difference between an ordinary work permit and open work permit is that work permit is specific to a particular employer while open work permit allows you to work anywhere in Canada. Since open work permit is not specific to a particular employer, the holder of open work permit need not have LMIA. You make it open permit if you are a spouse or common-law partner of the temporary foreign worker or foreign student.
Post Graduation Work Permit
If you are an international student who has completed post-secondary education in Canada, you are eligible to apply for a post graduation work permit. To apply for this permit, you do not need to have a job offer. This will help you get work experience in Canada from Canadian employers. Post graduation work permit is not specific to an employer and therefore you do not require LMIA. The maximum duration for which a post graduation work permit can be granted is three years. However you must have completed your full-time study program of at least eight months from a public or private post-secondary educational institution. In case your educational institution is private, it must be regulated by the same rules and regulations as public institutions. Further, the educational institution must be authorized by the Canadian authorities to grant degrees to its students. This means after the completion of your studies, you must receive some sort of educational qualification which is authorized by the Canadian government. You must apply for this work permit within 90 days of the receipt of your educational qualification. The duration of post graduation work permit depends on the duration of your study program. If you study program is less than two years but more than eight months, then you may get post graduation work permit for the same duration as that of your study program. However if your study program was of two years or more, you are eligible to have post graduation work permit of three years. Many of our clients who entered Canada on a study visa have applied for permanent residency after completion of one year of work in Canada.
Working while studying in Canada
If you are a foreign student, you can work in Canada during your studies without getting work permit. However the number of hours of off-campus work permit are limited to 20 hours. You do not have to wait for any time after you get your study permit start working in Canada. In order to continue working in Canada, you must continue your studies in an approved educational institution in Canada. However there are situations in which you may not be eligible to work in Canada without a positive LMIA. It is the duty of the student to check whether the student fulfils all the requirements for working in Canada or not. Spouse of an international student may also apply for open work permit which will be valid for the same duration as the study visa of international student.
NAFTA Work Permit
When an application for temporary work permit is made, US and Mexican citizens are eligible for certain exemptions under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These work permits may be categorized into three categories.
NAFTA intra-company transfers – A company which has been incorporated outside Canada may transfer its employees having specialized knowledge to its Canadian subsidiary. To qualify for this category in terms of specialized knowledge, mere title of the employee is not important and the employee must provide documentation to prove that employee is qualified. For this to become possible, the employee must meet certain criteria. The employee must be in full-time employment with the same employer for one year within the last three years. However in certain circumstances, this requirement may be waived. The employee must be employed in Canada at the same position as the employee was outside Canada. If these criteria are met, LMIA is not required. Generally an application under this category is made through a Canadian Visa office. However, an employee may apply for work permit under this category at the port of entry in Canada if all the required documentation is complete.
NAFTA traders and investors – Applicants under this category may qualify only if they can show that they are going to enhance the trade between Canada and their native countries substantially. The aim of Canadian immigration authorities is to ensure that they work permit in this category will develop business in Canada. It is important that the trade between the US or Mexico on one side and Canada on the other side must already be existing. This permit cannot be sought for the purpose of starting new trade or investment. The ownership of the foreign company must be primarily held by American or Mexican citizens and the application may be made either by an investor in the company or employees of the company. However the employees seeking work permit under this category must have specialized skills. LMIA is not required for work visa under this category. The duration of NAFTA traders and investors permit can be for maximum one-year and not more than that. However in certain situations you can get extension of the permit for two years. Applicants can apply for either a NAFTA trader permit or a NAFTA investor permit but not both. As mentioned above, the company where the employee works must be owned at least 50% by the US or Mexican citizens.
NAFTA professionals – If you are a US or Mexican citizen and you are qualified for employment in one of the professions listed by Canadian immigration authorities, you can apply for NAFTA work permit for professionals which may be valid for less than three years. You must fulfil all the requirements. For example some professions may require specific type of education. You are not required to have LMIA to apply for this work permit. After the completion of duration of initial grant of work permit, you can apply to renew the work permit.
Working Holiday Visa Program
This program is meant for you if you want to visit Canada and get work experience in Canada for less than two years. This visa program applicable to the foreign nationals in a particular age group and of selected countries only. You do not require a job offer to apply for working holiday visa program.
Getting PR through temporary work permit – There are several ways to get permanent residency after getting temporary work permit.
Federal skilled worker program – if you are already working on a temporary basis and you get an offer for permanent employment, you can apply for permanent residence in Canada under this program. You will be required to fulfill all the requirements under this program.
Canadian experience class– If you are unable to fulfill the requirements under the above-mentioned category, then you can apply for PR under this category. You should have minimum 2 years of work experience in Canada to apply under this category.
Provincial nominee program (PNP) – In Canada, different provinces have their own different immigration programs. After having worked in Canada on temporary work permit, you can apply under this program if you intend to reside in a particular province.