As a result of changes introduced on June 1, 2012, Quebec employers have been given a simplified procedure to hire or extend the employment relationship of a temporary foreign worker through the implementation of a new Labour Market Opinion (LMO) exemption.

We remind you that the LMO procedure requires evidence from the employer that efforts to recruit within the Canadian labour market have been made, and may be a long and burdensome process.

Provided that the temporary foreign worker has been selected by Quebec for permanent immigration and has applied to the Canadian government for permanent residence, these changes allow employers to extend their relationship with an employee who holds temporary foreign worker status in Canada, or hire a person who already holds temporary foreign worker status, without the LMO application process.

The changes actually in force are therefore significant for employers and appear to be unknown and underused!

Consequently, temporary foreign workers who:

  • already have temporary foreign worker status in Canada, hold a work permit that is expiring – but not expired – (regular work permit or post-graduation work permit or a work permit issued under one of the programs of International Experience Canada (e.g. Working Holiday and Young Professionals));
  • reside in Quebec;
  • have a job offer from a Quebec employer (from their current employer or from another employer);
  • hold a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) under the Skilled Worker Program (selection grid) or the Quebec Experience Class Program); and,
  • have submitted to the Canadian government an application for permanent residence that is being processed

do not have to attach a positive LMO and a CAQ for temporary work to their application when they apply for a new work permit.

The application for a work permit must include a copy of the CSQ, the offer of employment, and proof of payment of the application fees for permanent residence or acknowledgement of receipt from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

This type of work permit can be issued for the duration of the offer of temporary employment but cannot exceed two years.

In addition, the new measure regarding spouses or common-law is far less restrictive than the usual LMO exemption, which only allows them to obtain an open work permit if the principal applicant holds a management, professional or technical position. The new exemption entitles these applicants to open work permits, irrespectively of the occupation or skill level of the occupation of the principal applicant.

Lastly, it should be noted that the exemption will not apply in the case of foreign nationals living outside Canada or in Canada with visitor or temporary foreign worker status who are CSQ holders but who have not applied for permanent residence. In such cases, employers will have to apply for an LMO.

Quebec employers hiring temporary foreign workers should be aware of that new program that sets aside the LMO application process and verify if a work permit can be applied for under this new LMO exemption