Work Permits for Skilled Workers
Obtaining Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from HRSDC
Usually, Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) must approve an employer’s application for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) before the you, the foreign worker, can be approved for a work permit by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Most foreign workers require both a valid work permit and LMO to work in Canada.
There are specific LMO instructions for
- Low-Skill Worker Program
- Facilitated Entry for Software Professionals
- Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP)
- Film and Entertainment
Facilitated Entry for Software Professionals
This project was launched to streamline the entry of certain high demand software workers in order to fill critical shortages in the software industry. A “national confirmation letter” enables these programmers to enter Canada without the need to get a new LMO. The applicant’s job duties must fit one of these job descriptions, and you need at least two (2) years of experience and the requisite education.
- Senior Animation Effects Editor (NOC 9990.1)
- Embedded Systems Software Designer (NOC 9990.2)
- MIS Software Designer (NOC 9990.3)
- Multimedia Software Developer (NOC 9990.4)
- Software Developer — Services (NOC 9990.5)
- Software Products Developer (NOC 9990.6)
- Telecommunications Software Designer (NOC 9990.7)
Persons invited by a post-secondary institution to give a series of lectures and who occupy a temporary position of a non-continuing nature (which does not comprise a complete academic course) for a period of less than one academic term or semester.
Teachers, elementary and secondary
Persons who are engaged by educational institutions as elementary and secondary teachers coming to Canada under reciprocal exchange agreements arranged between foreign educational authorities and Canadian provincial governments or school boards may be issued work permits under this category as well. Included are pre-school, elementary and secondary school teachers coming to Canada under the Reciprocal Exchange Agreement between New Zealand and the province of Ontario. Family members of Australian and British teachers coming to Canada this category may also be issued work permits.
Work period cannot exceed two academic years and will retain their position abroad. Visiting professors may also include those on sabbatical who are doing collaborative research with a Canadian post-secondary institution. They would be paid by the foreign university that employs them outside Canada.
Charitable or Religious workers
You must be working for a charity. (A non-profit organization is not necessarily a charitable one.) A charitable organization has a mandate to relieve poverty, or benefit the community, educational, or religious institutions.
You could be considered working in charitable or religious work if you:
- Will not receive remuneration, other than a small stipend for living expenses;
- The organization or institution which is sponsoring you won’t receive direct remuneration from any source on behalf of, or for, the services you render; and
- Your work goes above and beyond normal work in the labour market, whether remunerated in some manner or not, for example:
- Organizations which gather volunteer workers to paint or repair the houses of the poor may qualify, provided that the work would not otherwise be done (i.e. if the recipients of this work are not able to hire a professional or do the work themselves).
- L’Arche, which relies on people to live full-time in a group home with people who have developmental disabilities; workers in the homes are remunerated, but they commit to taking care of the disabled on an almost a 24-hour basis.
- Persons who are giving their time to community or religious organizations in a position which would not represent a real employment opportunity for Canadians or permanent residents.
Note: Missionaries who will devote their full time to missionary service for the church or proselytizing qualify. They should be attached to a congregation in Canada and this type of work should be a usual congregational activity.
Note: The difference between a charitable worker (who needs a work permit) and a volunteer (who does not) centres around the definition of “work”, and entry into the labour market. A charitable worker is usually taking a full-time position, and may be engaging in a competitive activity; an activity which meets the definition of ‘work’ even though there may be nominal remuneration (e.g., group home worker, camp counsellor, carpenter for ‘Habitat for Humanity’). A ‘volunteer’ who is not entering the labour market, nor doing an activity which meets the definition of ‘work’ does not require a work permit.
Certain temporary foreign workers must often pass a medical exam before undertaking work in Canada.
You can apply for Permanent Residence before or after you apply for a work permit. Canadian law allows you to have the “dual intent” of applying for a work permit and for permanent residence simultaneously.
This procedure allows you to file for a work permit as soon as you receive a job offer and while your LMO is processed. Once you receive a job offer, you can apply for a work permit. The work permit will not be issued before the LMO is approved. Remember that low-skilled workers must have the LMO before applying for the permit.
Intent to stay
Canadian Visa Officers can refuse your temporary visa application if they’re not convinced that you will leave Canada if required to, particularly when the job opportunity ends).