Long-term transfers


What are the main work and business permit categories used by companies to transfer skilled staff?

Temporary Foreign Worker Program: LMIA-based work permits

An LMIA is a labour market verification test whereby Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will analyse an offer of employment made to a foreign national to ensure that the employment of the foreign worker will not negatively impact the Canadian labour market. Unless they qualify for variations to minimum advertising, Canadian employers are required to ‘test’ the labour market by undergoing or conducting minimum advertising and recruitment efforts before making the LMIA application.

In assessing an LMIA application, ESDC will review the following:

  • does the salary offered meet the local prevailing wage for the position?;
  • are the working conditions consistent with Canadian labour and employment laws and relevant collective bargaining agreements?;
  • is there a labour shortage for that occupation in the local area?;
  • are there labour disputes in the particular company and industry?;
  • has the employer sufficiently recruited but been unable to find a Canadian to fill the position?;
  • will the foreign worker transfer unique skills or expertise to Canadian citizens or permanent residents?; and
  • will the hiring of a temporary foreign worker displace or negatively affect the employment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents?

If granted, a temporary LMIA is used by the employer to hire a foreign worker for a finite period. Upon approval of an LMIA, the foreign worker must submit a work permit application to obtain a work permit.

International Mobility Program: LMIA-exempt work permits

There are some work permit categories that do not require a company to go through the LMIA process. These exceptions fall under Canada’s International Mobility Program and can result in both open and employer-specific work permits. Below are the most commonly used exceptions for business immigration.

Intra-company transfer (C12, T24)

The criteria below must be met to apply under the intra-company transfer category either as a specialised knowledge worker or as an executive, senior manager or functional manager:

  • there must be a qualifying relationship between the foreign national’s home employer (outside Canada) and the prospective Canadian employer (ie, affiliate, parent, subsidiary or branch in Canada), both of which must maintain continuous and active operations;
  • the employee must be currently employed by the home employer in a specialised knowledge, senior managerial or executive capacity and have worked in that capacity full-time for at least one continuous year during the three years immediately preceding the date of the work permit application;
  • the foreign worker must be entering Canada for a temporary period to occupy a similar position with the Canadian entity; and
  • the Canadian entity must control the foreign worker’s day-to-day activities while in Canada.

The above criteria applies to all intra-company transferees applying under the general provisions of the IRPR. Certain criteria may be relaxed or different if applying under the intra-company provisions of an international agreement to which Canada is party.

Specialised knowledge workers

Immigration officers apply a rigorous test in determining whether a foreign national’s knowledge is in fact specialised such that he or she may qualify as an intra-company transferee. The test focuses on the applicant’s degree of proprietary knowledge and his or her advanced expertise within the company and industry. Specialised knowledge workers generally possess:

  • abilities that are unusual compared to those generally found in the industry, and that cannot be easily transferred;
  • knowledge or expertise that is highly unusual both within the industry and host firm;
  • proprietary knowledge that is critical to the Canadian company, without which there would be a significant disruption to the company’s operations or business;
  • a clear employment relationship, with intra-company transferees under the direct and continuous supervision of the host company; and
  • experience and knowledge that does not require training at the host company related to the area of expertise.

Specialised knowledge is unique and uncommon, held by only a small number or small percentage of employees within a company. The onus is on the participating entities and the foreign national to demonstrate that they are key personnel, not simply highly skilled. The salary of the specialised knowledge worker must be commensurate with the prevailing wage set by Employment, Workforce Development and Labour for the intended specialist position in the intended work location in Canada.

A mandatory wage floor has also been implemented for most specialised knowledge workers, which is expanded upon in question 20.

Executives, senior managers and functional managers

The foreign worker must manage the company or a major component of a department of the company, manage other staff or manage an essential function of the company. The foreign worker may also be a senior executive or manager who manages both the Canadian and home country departments and may need to implement managerial decisions in Canada, despite not residing or working regularly in Canada.

Reciprocal employment: general guidelines (C20)

Foreign workers may take up employment in Canada where Canadians have similar reciprocal opportunities abroad. The underlying policy objective is to permit Canadian employees to gain international experience and to allow for cultural exchanges.

The onus is on the companies and foreign national to demonstrate that reciprocity exists between the Canadian company and the home employer, generally through a written formal policy. Entry under these reciprocal provisions should result in a general neutral labour market impact.

There is no maximum duration associated with this type of work permit; however, reciprocity must be met for each work permit renewal.

Reciprocal employment: International Experience Canada (C21)

International Experience Canada (IEC) manages work permits based on bilateral agreements between Canada and certain countries. The IEC programme may facilitate the entry and work of international youths through a working holiday programme or other streams as per the respective country agreement (such as young professionals, interns or summer students). This programme is generally available to young people aged 18 to 35 (age criteria is dependent on the foreign national’s country of citizenship) who are citizens of one of the countries with a bilateral reciprocal youth mobility agreement with Canada. IEC is designed to allow young people of participating countries to gain international work experience to bring back to their country. Depending on the participating country and applicable IEC category, the eligible applicant may participate in IEC only once or twice.

The IEC work permit application is a two-stage process whereby the foreign national must first create an online profile expressing interest in applying for a work permit under the IEC programme. Based on the candidate’s eligibility, along with the number of applications received (and the quota for work permits issued under the IEC for that country), candidates are selected and issued an invitation to apply (ITA). With an ITA, applicants may then apply for their work permit at a visa post abroad.

Student work permit: co-op or internship programme (C30)

Foreign nationals studying in Canada are authorised to work part-time on the basis of their study permit. However, those seeking to work full-time as part of a co-op or internship programme may apply for a work permit provided the work forms an essential part of an academic, vocational or professional training programme offered by a designated learning institution. To qualify, the student must hold a current valid study permit and the co-op or internship must not form more than 50 per cent of the total programme of study.

Students studying English or French as a second language, or participating in general interest or preparatory courses, will not qualify for this type of work permit.

Student work permit: off-campus work permit (C25)

Full-time students pursuing an academic, professional or vocational training programme of at least six months’ duration at a designated learning institution are eligible to work off-campus without a work permit for up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full-time during scheduled breaks.

Student work permit: post-graduation work permit (C43)

This programme allows international students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain Canadian work experience, which may later help them qualify for Canadian PR, through the Canadian Experience Class.

A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) may be issued for the length of the study programme, up to a maximum of three years. Educational programmes must be a minimum of eight months in length to be eligible for this programme.

To be eligible, the student must apply within 180 days of receiving written confirmation from the educational institution of eligibility to graduate and must hold or have held a valid study permit within 180 days of the date of applying for the PGWP.

Significant benefit to Canada: general guidelines (C10)

The foreign national’s contribution and proposed benefit to Canada should be significant and of social, cultural or economic importance. The immigration officer will analyse the proposed benefits, whether the person’s presence in Canada is crucial to a high-profile event, and whether circumstances have created urgency surrounding the person’s entry. Applicants seeking this type of work permit generally require extensive experience in their field.

Work permit issuance under this category is highly discretionary and will only be granted where benefits to Canada are clear and compelling. Extensions under this category are rarely granted.

International treaty: professional work permits (T23)

The foreign national must be a citizen of a country that is a signatory to the international treaty agreement forming the basis for applying under this category. The foreign national must work as a professional and must satisfy several prescribed eligibility criteria associated with the specific profession (ie, possess requisite minimum educational credentials associated with the intended profession), in accordance with the respective treaty or free trade agreement. In some cases, it may be possible to substitute extensive work experience in lieu of formal educational credentials.

Mobilité Francophone (C16)

The intent of the Mobilité Francophone work permit category is to allow Canada to attract skilled francophone workers to provinces other than Quebec. Under this stream, employers seeking to employ French-speaking foreign nationals in managerial, professional and technical or skilled trade occupations under the NOC skill levels A, B or 0, are not required to seek an LMIA. Recruitment of the foreign national through a francophone immigration promotional event coordinated between the federal government and francophone-minority communities is encouraged, but not mandatory. The officer must further be satisfied that the applicant’s habitual language of daily use is French. Where the officer is not satisfied that this is the case, either an interview or language test results demonstrating an advanced intermediate level or above in French (eg, Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of level 7 or higher in the Test d’évaluation de français) may be required.

All work permit applications under this category may be processed by a Canadian visa post outside Canada. Once IRCC approves the work permit application, the applicant will receive a port of entry letter of introduction that may be presented at the border for the issuance of a work permit document.

Dependent work permit: spouse or common-law partner or child

These types of work permits are discussed in question 33.


What are the procedures for obtaining these permissions? At what stage can work begin?

The procedure for obtaining work authorisation in Canada may vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances.

For all employer-sponsored, LMIA-exempt work permits, the company in Canada must submit an employer compliance filing before the work permit application may be lodged. The employer compliance filing involves submitting details of the offer of employment (including scope of activities, position, education requirements, hours of work, salary and benefits to be earned while in Canada) via the government’s online employer portal. Once filed, a reference number will be generated, which must be included with the foreign national’s application. All details of the work and offer of employment must be accurate, as the government relies on this data when conducting subsequent immigration audits and employer-compliance reviews.

If a TRV is required or if the work permit category mandates, the work permit application must be made at the appropriate Canadian visa post abroad. Once approved, a TRV will be affixed to the foreign national’s passport and a work permit approval letter will be issued. The foreign national must then travel to the Canadian port of entry where a work permit document will be issued to him or her. If the foreign worker does not require a TRV, then he or she may apply for a work permit directly at the Canadian port of entry (provided that the work permit category permits submitting the application upon entering Canada).

If the foreign national requires an immigration medical examination, the work permit application should be made at the appropriate Canadian visa post abroad. The visa post will then issue medical examination instructions unless the examination results are provided up front.

Period of stay

What are the general maximum (and minimum) periods of stay granted under the main categories for company transfers?

The maximum period of authorised work in Canada depends on the work permit category and, in some cases, the type of position in Canada.

Intra-company transfers

The maximum periods for which a work permit may be granted under the intra-company transfer work permit category are:

  • senior managerial and executive category: seven years; and
  • specialised knowledge category: five years.

Initial work permits for intra-company transfers are granted for three years. An initial one-year work permit will be granted to transferees entering Canada to open or work in a new office, as well as those being parachuted into client or project sites. Extensions may be granted for generally up to two years at a time. After intra-company transferees have held a work permit for the maximum time allowed, they must complete one year of full-time employment in the company outside Canada before they may reapply under this category.

There is no set minimum period of stay required under the intra-company transfer provisions. If a foreign worker reaches the maximum period of work permit duration permissible for the specific intra-company transferee category (eg, five or seven years), he or she may be able to ‘recapture’ time spent physically outside Canada during the preceding five or seven-year period. Recapture of time will not be permitted for any time periods of less than one month, or for events that are generally anticipated throughout the duration of a work permit, such as holidays or weekends.

Processing time

How long does it typically take to process the main categories?

See the table below. All processing times are estimates and subject to change. The processing times listed below reflect the average time for the government to render a decision following submission of an application, and do not include visa stamping or postage times for return of passports, if applicable. Under Canada’s new Global Skills Strategy, 80 per cent of online work permit applications submitted from outside Canada requesting employment in NOC 0 or A occupations qualify for the two-week processing standard, which supersedes the processing times listed below.

Typical processing times for work permits (estimates)

LMIAs (required before work permit application can be made at a Canadian visa office or port of entry)

8 to 12 weeks for standard LMIA

LMIAs (highest-demand, highest-paid, or shortest-duration stream only)

10 business days or less

Applications filed at a Canadian visa office (no medical required)

4 weeks (minimum); certain visa posts have higher processing times

Applications filed at a Canadian visa office (medical required)

8 to 16 weeks (minimum)

Applications filed for extension of status in Canada

14 weeks if filed online*

4 to 5 months if filed by courier or mail*

* As of July 2019; subject to change

Staff benefits

Is it necessary to obtain any benefits or facilities for staff to secure a work permit?

There are currently no additional requirements to obtain a Canadian work permit for the categories for highly skilled or high-wage workers; however, provincial employment standards will apply. If the foreign worker’s position requires approval for an LMIA under the low-wage category, then the employer is responsible for the following:

  • covering the transport costs of the foreign worker to the work location in Canada and back to his or her place of PR;
  • ensuring that the foreign worker has suitable and affordable accommodation available; and
  • covering the costs of the temporary foreign worker’s workplace safety coverage and private health insurance until the appropriate provincial or territorial health insurance plan becomes available.

IEC applicants must provide proof of health insurance when they arrive in Canada.

Assessment criteria

Do the immigration authorities follow objective criteria, or do they exercise discretion according to subjective criteria?

All Canadian government departments are given expansive and high-level discretionary authority in interpreting Canadian immigration laws and manuals. IRPA, the primary statute governing immigration law, accords substantial discretion to the Immigration Minister, who advises the Governor in Council on regulations and issues Ministerial Instructions. In addition, administrative guidelines in the form of operational manuals and bulletins assist IRCC and CBSA immigration officers in the immigration decision-making process.

High net worth individuals and investors

Is there a special route for high net worth individuals or investors?

The federal immigration investor and entrepreneur programmes have been terminated. However, the Quebec investor programme and Quebec entrepreneur programme are still in place with limited numbers of applications being accepted each year. Many of the provincial nominee programmes (PNPs) also have investor and entrepreneur programmes for individuals who wish to start a Canadian business.

In addition, there is a federal self-employed persons programme (available to those with relevant experience in cultural activities, athletics or farm management) and a start-up visa programme that links entrepreneurs looking to relocate to Canada with private sector companies that are experts in start-ups.


The majority of provinces or territories can nominate foreign nationals to immigrate to Canada. These individuals must possess the requisite intention, skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of that province or territory.

To apply under the PNP, a foreign national must be nominated by a specific Canadian province or territory then apply to IRCC to become a permanent resident.

Provincial objectives are based on labour market needs and skill shortages (among other criteria) and each province and territory has different priorities. Generally, foreign workers may make an application with the support of their employer based on their skills or knowledge in the intended province of residence. In some provinces, individuals who have graduated from a Canadian educational institution may be able to submit an application directly to the PNP for processing, without employer support. Many provinces have specific streams to facilitate the application for PR through entrepreneur or corporate expansion streams. For high net worth individuals seeking to open or expand a business in Canada, the following additional requirements must be met (requirements may vary by province or territory):

  • make a minimum investment depending on the stream, location and sector of the proposed business;
  • create jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents; and
  • meet minimum language requirements of CLB 5 or equivalent.

If the PNP approves the application, then a nomination certificate is issued and the foreign national has a limited time to submit his or her PR application to the federal stage.

It is important to note that, once the PNP certificate is obtained, the foreign national may use the document to obtain a temporary work permit to allow the individual to commence work immediately while the PR application is processed.

Processing PNP applications via the Express Entry system

Most Canadian provinces have introduced PNP categories that are processed through the Express Entry system. The application process commences with the foreign national submitting an online profile through the Express Entry portal. In the portal, applicants are asked to select the province they would like to immigrate to, or indicate that they do not have a preference. The various PNP programmes will use the Express Entry system to select individuals who meet the provincial criteria and ask them to formally apply. Process and processing time can differ between provinces. Once a provincial nomination certificate is received, an applicant’s point score under the Express Entry system is increased to a score that virtually guarantees that he or she will receive an ITA for PR in the next draw from the Express Entry candidate pool.

Federal start-up visa programme

To be eligible, a foreign national must:

  • prove the business venture or idea is supported by a designated organisation;
  • demonstrate that the business meets the ownership requirements;
  • meet specific language requirements; and
  • have sufficient settlement funds.
Quebec investor programme

To be eligible, a foreign national must:

  • have sufficient net assets;
  • have experience managing a legal farming, commercial or industrial business, or in a legal professional business; and
  • intend to settle in Quebec and sign an agreement to invest a specific amount.

Other factors, such as the applicant’s age, the nature and duration of his or her professional training and language skills, are taken into account.

Quebec entrepreneur programme

To be eligible, a foreign national must have:

  • sufficient net assets; and
  • at least two years’ experience running a business in the previous five years.

Applicants must also successfully present a business plan that outlines the feasibility and relevancy of the project to Quebec.

Other factors, such as the applicant’s age, language skills, the nature and duration of his or her training, personal qualities and knowledge of Quebec, and the steps taken to acquire a business in Quebec or the ability of the applicant to carry out a business project in Quebec, are taken into account.

In addition, upon the foreign national’s arrival in Quebec, he or she must comply with certain conditions for at least one year during the three years after obtaining permanent resident status.

Is there a special route (including fast track) for high net worth individuals for a residence permission route into your jurisdiction?

See question 16 regarding the special routes available for high net worth individuals seeking PR. These route options are not fast-tracked in processing.

Highly skilled individuals

Is there a special route for highly skilled individuals?

The Express Entry system came into effect on 1 January 2015 and allows IRCC to actively recruit, assess and select skilled immigrants under several federal economic immigration programmes:

  • the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP);
  • the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP);
  • the Canadian Experience Class (CEC); and
  • certain PNPs.

Under this system, foreign nationals who meet the criteria for at least one of the economic immigration programmes will be placed into a pool of candidates and ranked according to a comprehensive ranking system (CRS).

Applicants are awarded points, known as a CRS score, to a maximum of 1,200, on factors including their age, education, work experience and language ability. The highest-scoring applicants will receive an ITA for PR via a federal programme or PNP. An applicant who receives an ITA will have 60 days to submit an online application before the ITA expires. An applicant’s ITA will specify which immigration processing stream he or she has qualified under.

Once the applicant has completed the online profile, it is recommended, but no longer required, that he or she registers on the government’s ‘job bank’, which seeks to match employers with candidates who possess the credentials they are seeking. Having a valid, full-time job offer of at least one year supported by an LMIA or one year of work experience in the offered role will assist candidates in receiving an ITA for PR as the candidate’s points score will be increased by either 200 or 50 points, depending on the role in Canada. Those candidates possessing a valid provincial or territorial nomination will receive an extra 600 points.

Express Entry was created to ensure greater flexibility and better responsiveness to deal with regional labour shortages, and to help fill positions for which there are no available Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Express Entry enables the government to select candidates who are most likely to easily integrate into the Canadian labour market, rather than processing applications on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Candidates in the Express Entry pool who do not receive an ITA for PR after 12 months are required to resubmit their profile, provided they still meet the requisite criteria.

The number of ITAs issued in each selection round is determined by the government’s capacity to process applications in a timely manner of six months or less. To date, approximately 80 per cent of Express Entry applications have been processed in six months or less. The categories under which one can apply for PR are as follows. In all cases, the foreign national must show that he or she is not inadmissible, based on security, criminal, health, financial or other grounds.


The foreign national must meet the following criteria:

  • at least one year of continuous full-time (or part-time equivalent) work experience in a single occupation within the previous 10 years at NOC skill level 0, A or B;
  • minimum language proficiency;
  • minimum education credentials;
  • plans to live outside Quebec; and
  • sufficient funds, if not otherwise exempt.

If the foreign national meets the above-mentioned criteria, the worker will be assessed against six selection factors (age, education, language ability, work experience, adaptability and arranged employment) that form part of a 100-point grid. The current pass mark to qualify is 67 points.


The foreign national must meet the following criteria:

  • at least two years of full-time experience (or part-time equivalent) in a skilled trade within the five years prior to applying;
  • minimum language proficiency;
  • have a full-time offer of at least one year’s employment, or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a provincial or territorial body;
  • plans to live outside Quebec;
  • apply within a specific skilled trade identified by IRCC; and
    • sufficient funds, if not otherwise exempt.

The foreign national must meet the following criteria:

  • have one year of full-time, skilled (NOC skill levels 0, A or B) work experience in Canada within the previous three years;
  • gained the work experience in Canada with proper authorisation to work;
  • plans to live outside Quebec; and
  • minimum language proficiency.
Quebec Skilled Worker Program

Quebec has a special agreement with the Canadian government regarding immigration and has a distinct set of rules for choosing foreign nationals who will sufficiently integrate into Quebec society. Quebec has a points-based system, where a single applicant must score a minimum of 50 points and an applicant with a spouse or common-law partner must score a minimum of 59 points. The foreign national must apply to the Department of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion for a Certificate of Selection and then apply to IRCC to become a permanent resident.

Quebec experience class

This is an accelerated and simplified immigration programme that will allow temporary foreign workers and foreign students currently in Quebec to apply to immigrate permanently to Quebec.

A foreign national must:

  • have gained work experience or studied in Quebec;
  • plan to live in Quebec; and
  • demonstrate an advanced intermediate level of oral French.

See question 16.

Ancestry and descent

Is there a special route for foreign nationals based on ancestry or descent?

Certain minor children of Canadian citizens are considered Canadian citizens by descent and can apply for proof of citizenship. There are no ancestral or descendent categories for PR or temporary work permits.

Minimum salary

Is there a minimum salary requirement for the main categories for company transfers?

In most cases, employers are expected to meet or exceed the listed prevailing wage for similar positions in the intended location of employment. Non-cash per diems cannot be included in the calculation of the overall wage; however, guaranteed monetary allowances paid directly to the foreign worker can be included.

A special exception to prevailing wage requirement has been provided for specialised knowledge intra-company transferees entering Canada pursuant to an international free trade agreement; however, salaries must still be commensurate with their position.

Resident labour market test

Is there a quota system or resident labour market test?

There are generally no set quotas on the number of Canadian temporary work permits that may be issued. IEC programmes have quotas based on the terms of their respective reciprocal agreements and are typically set on an annual basis.

LMIA applications, including those supporting temporary work permits and those supporting a PR application, require that the labour market be tested prior to making an LMIA application. Further, employers applying for a low-wage LMIA must generally ensure the number of temporary foreign workers does not exceed 10 per cent of their overall workforce if they hired low-wage foreign workers prior to June 2014.

Recruitment and advertising requirements

Before applying for an LMIA, employers must advertise the job vacancy in the Canadian job market for at least four consecutive weeks on the Canadian job bank website, along with two or more additional but distinct recruitment methods consistent with the normal practice for the occupation, one of which must be national in scope. The choice of advertising must be reasonable in light of the position being sought, and at least one job advertisement must remain posted until a final determination has been made regarding the LMIA application. Employers are encouraged and, in the case of low-wage LMIAs, are required to conduct recruitment efforts targeting Canadians who are traditionally underrepresented in the labour market, such as indigenous peoples, new immigrants or persons with disabilities. Employers must be able to demonstrate that they met the advertising requirements by providing proof of their recruitment and advertising efforts to find qualified Canadians and permanent residents. Records of such efforts must be kept for a minimum of six years from the date of the foreign worker’s employment, as the documentation may be requested at any time by Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Failure to provide proof of recruitment and advertising may result in a finding of non-compliance, upon inspection.

Depending on the position and work location, limited variations to the minimum advertising requirements may apply.

Accepted variations currently include:

  • university professors;
    • air pilots, flight engineers and flying instructors;
    • camp counsellors (Ontario only);
    • recipients of Certificate of Selection (Quebec only);
    • unionised positions where internal recruitment is stipulated;
    • employees of foreign governments;
    • entertainment-specific occupations;
    • in-home caregivers;
    • owner-operators;
    • religious instructors;
    • certain positions for 30 days or less;
    • certain agricultural workers;
    • specialised service technicians or providers;
    • original equipment manufacturers performing warranty work; and
    • certain commercial marine workers within Canadian waters.

The onus is on the employer to demonstrate eligibility for a variation to advertising.

Transition plans for high-wage positions

In the event that employers are applying for LMIAs for high-wage positions, they must (with limited exceptions) submit a transition plan with their LMIA application. The transition plan, which is a requirement over and above the applicable recruitment activities, must indicate how the company plans to reduce its reliance on temporary foreign workers in one of two ways:

  • by engaging in at least three distinct activities to recruit, retain and train Canadians or PRs in the occupation specified in the application and one additional distinct activity to serve underrepresented groups; or
  • by engaging in one activity that facilitates the permanent residency of the temporary foreign worker.

If the employer is chosen for a compliance review or if it plans to renew its LMIA, it will be required to report on the progress of the transition plan. Failure to abide by the company’s commitments in a transition plan may result in a finding of non-compliance and applicable sanctions.

Global Talent Stream

As of 12 June 2017, employers hiring foreign workers for certain technology-driven occupations, or those referred to the programme by one of IRCC’s designated partner organisations, are authorised to submit an LMIA application under the Global Talent Stream (GTS). The GTS facilitates the entry of highly skilled foreign workers by removing the recruitment requirement, reducing the documentation required and significantly improving the processing times for a qualifying LMIA application. The criteria required to qualify for an LMIA under the GTS stream reflect a recognised labour market shortage in the industries and occupations identified and as such, an employer need not demonstrate this.

Employers applying under the GTS must include a Labour Market Benefits Plan in their application, outlining how the foreign national’s employment will positively impact the Canadian labour market. In doing so, employers must commit to pursuing either job creation or upskilling for Canadian citizens or permanent residents and an additional two benefits of their choice.

Dual intent LMIAs

In addition to the temporary LMIA, employers may apply for a dual intent LMIA, with the intention of utilising the LMIA to support both an application for a temporary work permit as well as for PR. In this case, the standard government processing fee is C$1,000 for each temporary worker position and the application will be subject to the standard processing time as outlined in question 13.

Shortage occupations

Is there a special route for shortage occupations?

The GTS includes a list of recognised shortage occupations that are eligible for facilitated and expedited processing under the stream. Several of the PNPs have also created occupation-driven categories to fill regional labour market shortages, through which eligible applicants can generally obtain both a work permit and PR.

Other eligibility requirements

Are there any other main eligibility requirements to qualify for work permission in your jurisdiction?

Eligibility requirements for a work permit in Canada depend on the type of work permit and the foreign national’s particular circumstances, including but not limited to the applicant’s nationality, work experience and educational background, as well as the nature of the work and scope of activities to be performed in Canada. Other eligibility requirements apply for intra-company transfers (see question 10) and those entering pursuant to an international treaty.

International treaties

To qualify for a work permit under an international treaty such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, eligibility criteria such as the employee’s citizenship and educational requirements for the specific professional occupation must be adhered to. Canada is currently party to several free trade agreements with countries including Chile, Colombia, Korea, Panama and Peru. On 21 September 2017, the CETA came into provisional effect. This free trade agreement facilitates temporary entry for business persons including business visitors, professionals and intra-company transferees from the European Union. Additionally, the CPTPP came into provisional effect in early 2019, enabling citizens of certain member states to benefit from its temporary entry provisions.

Third-party contractors

What is the process for third-party contractors to obtain work permission?

The key process for third-party contractors is determining the appropriate employer of record for immigration purposes. When making this assessment, the following three-prong test should be applied:

  • who will pay the third-party contractor his or her salary while in Canada?;
  • who will give the third-party contractor instructions regarding day-to-day activities while in Canada?; and
  • who will receive the benefit of the work of the third-party contractor in Canada?

Salary should be given the heaviest consideration, owing to ESDC compliance requirements. After assessment, the entity that holds the balance of these factors will be deemed to be the appropriate employer. For certain LMIA-exempt work permits, the third-party contractor’s employer of record may need to file the employer compliance and remit the employer compliance filing fee. Where circumstances make it possible that more than one employer of record can be identified, preference should be given to any entity located in Canada.

In light of the determination above, the applicant should be assessed under the appropriate work permit category and the application process completed as normal, with disclosure as to the relationship between the various entities.

Recognition of foreign qualifications

Is an equivalency assessment or recognition of skills and qualifications required to obtain immigration permission?

Generally, no formalised or regulated skill assessment is required by immigration officers in regard to temporary residence. Licensed professionals may be required to provide proof of licensing (either in Canada or abroad, depending on the type of application), but an assessment of the credentials is not required. The CETA and select other free trade agreements include provisions designed to facilitate the mutual recognition of professional credentials.

Some permanent residency categories do require that credentials be assessed to evaluate Canadian equivalency and assign points for length and level of education.