Labor Shortage: Answers to Your Questions about Hiring a Foreign Worker 

January, 2020 - Nicolas Joubert

The labor shortage that affects all of Quebec and many other provinces has been a well-known problem for several years. Almost every week brings its share of companies that have to close their doors or limit their activities due to a lack of staff in positions of all kinds.

To work within our borders, foreign employees must first obtain the necessary authorizations.

An employer planning to hire a foreign worker must ensure that an assessment of the candidate's profile is carried out to determine if the candidate is eligible for an immigration program. If so, it will be necessary to establish which program is most effective and appropriate.

To guide you through this process, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

True or False: An employer must absolutely obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before a foreign worker can apply for his Canadian work permit


Although a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is normally required to obtain a work permit, an LMIA exemption may apply in some cases.

As a reminder: a favorable LMIA confirms the need to hire a foreign worker to perform a specific job and that no Canadian worker is available to fill this position. If the LMIA application is approved, the foreign applicant can apply for their work permit.

However, certain exemptions from the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) are available. The following are frequently used:

  • Work permits issued under international treaties, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA);
  • People transferred within a company;
  • Youth exchange programs;
  • Spouses or common-law partners of skilled workers or students;
  • Work permits issued to certain holders of a Quebec Selection Certificate who reside in Quebec.

To view the full list of exemptions, click here .

Before starting the complex procedures aimed at obtaining an LMIA, it is strongly suggested to check that no exemption applies in the case under study.

True or False: Filing an application for permanent residence confers temporary Canadian residence status on the applicant


Once a temporary resident has obtained his permit to stay in Canada, whether to visit, study or work, he must ensure that he maintains a valid temporary resident status. To do this, the candidate must submit a request for an extension or change of stay before the expiration of their immigration documents.

Applying for permanent residence does not have the direct effect of extending temporary resident status in Canada.

In Quebec, temporary residents who wish to apply for permanent resident status must first obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), issued by the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI). As soon as he obtains a CSQ, the temporary resident can apply for permanent residence.

Note: holding a CSQ does not affect the applicant's temporary resident status. He may therefore be required to extend his temporary status in Canada if his permanent residence is not finalized before the expiration of this temporary status.

In all cases, a temporary resident is therefore required to extend his temporary status in Canada until he becomes a permanent resident, if that is his objective.

Your strategies for a future recruitment


Whether or not the staffing process for a vacant position has been difficult in the past, it may be beneficial for human resource managers to consider recruiting foreign candidates.

It is always a good idea to check whether it is possible to take advantage of an LMIA exemption.

When recruiting a foreign candidate, he has his responsibilities, but the human resources manager can maximize his chances of success by knowing the exemptions offered and their conditions of application.

The professionals in our Business Immigration team are available to provide you with all the relevant information and support you in the process of obtaining the necessary documents and permits.



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