As a result of changes introduced on June 1, 2012, Quebec employers can 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 having to go through the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) application process, provided the worker has been selected by Quebec and has applied to the federal government for permanent residence. Such a foreign worker is also exempt from the requirement to hold a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) for temporary work.

Before June 1, 2012, Quebec employers hiring temporary foreign workers who had submitted an application for permanent residence in Canada were required to apply for an LMO and, if applicable, a CAQ so that those workers could obtain a new work permit, unless an LMO exemption applied. 

Changes implemented on June 1, 2012: a new LMO exemption

Effective June 1, 2012, temporary foreign workers who:

  • already have temporary foreign worker status in Canada, hold a work permit that is expiring (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 Québec Selection Certificate (CSQ) under the Skilled Worker Program (selection grid) or the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (Quebec experience program); and
  • have submitted to the federal government, under the Quebec Skilled Worker category, an application for permanent residence that is in process

do not have to attach a positive LMO and a CAQ for temporary work to their application when they apply to have their work permit extended or renewed. This is consequently a new LMO exemption.

The application must be sent with 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 (CIC).

This type of work permit, which is employer-specific, can be issued for the duration of the offer of temporary employment but cannot exceed two years.

In addition, spouses or common-law partners of temporary foreign workers benefiting from the new LMO exemption are entitled to open work permits, irrespective of the occupation or skill level of the occupation of the principal applicant. This new measure is far less restrictive than the usual LMO exemption, which allows the spouse or common-law partner to obtain an open work permit if the principal applicant holds a management, professional or technical position.  

Lastly, as with all LMO exemptions, immigration officers will have the authority to analyze, among other things, the genuineness of the offer of employment and the employer compliance record under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program before issuing the work permit.

N.B. This new LMO exemption will not apply in the case of CSQ holders who are foreign nationals living outside Canada or in Canada with visitor or temporary foreign worker status who have not applied to CIC for permanent residence. In such cases, if no exemption applies, employers wishing to extend their employment relationship with a temporary foreign worker or hire such a worker (or use the services of a foreign national living outside Canada or in Canada with visitor status) will have to apply for an LMO and, if applicable, a CAQ, without, however, having to conduct recruitment efforts, the only condition being that the employment offered has to be the same as that indicated on the temporary foreign worker’s CSQ.