Being Hired as a Foreign Worker by a Canadian Employer
As with most countries’ approach to the employment of foreign workers, Canadian regulations establish certain restrictions regarding the employment of foreigners in order to give preference to Canadian workers. In order for a Canadian company to hire a foreign worker, two basic requirements must be fulfilled. Firstly, the work contract to be held between the Canadian company and the foreign worker must be approved by the Canadian Ministry of Labor ( known as Human Resources Development Canada -HRDC-). Secondly, this contract only becomes valid once the foreign worker obtains his or her visa from Immigration Canada (hereinafter referred to as “work permit”). All work contracts held between Canadian companies and foreign workers must be authorized by the Ministry of Labor, unless the foreigner is married to a Canadian citizen, has parents, children or siblings who are Canadian citizens or possesses an Investors Visa. Foreign employees who belong in one or more of the latter three categories shall be referred to as a sort of “Exonerated Workers”. *
Exonerated Workers* are exempt from certain restrictions that apply to non-exonerated foreign employees, for example, that the total number of foreign workers in a Canadian company must not exceed 20% of its payroll and the wages of foreign workers must not amount to more than 30% of the total wages paid out by the company. Exemptions are always permitted, for instance, for highly skilled workers and those to be employed in managerial positions. Degree certificates must be available, as well as evidence of previous work experience, if applicable. These documents must be legalized by the corresponding Canadian Consulate abroad and approved by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If the documents are not in English or French official languages of Canada, they must be translated by a certified translator. Work contracts must comply with several strict regulations. They cannot exceed 2 years, but may be renewed. The employer must undertake to train Canadian employees in the foreign worker’s field and guarantee that the foreign worker and his or her family will return to their home country. Work authorization will take a while. Once the contract is authorized the worker must apply for his or her one year working visa . Please note that this process may take at least six and a 12 months. Finally, note that if the foreign worker entered Canada with a tourist visa, he or she must gain permission to sign contracts before signing the work contract.
Through company sponsorship or Work Permit it is relatively easy to immigrate to Canada, because to work in the country, foreigners can travel on a temporary visa and apply for a work permit (an Employment Authorization [EA] in Canada), or become a permanent resident of Canada. To obtain an EA, a Canadian job offer validated by the Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) is required. This means that the employer has to prove that the position could not be filled by a Canadian citizen or resident. The validation process is complicated unless you are a software or IT professional, a member of the Youth Exchange Program, or the Spouse of Highly Skilled Temporary Worker. To enter the country, you should have the following:
- a valid passport, travel document, or other identity document;
- proof of sufficient funds while in Canada and enough to cover the costs of departure;
- lack of a criminal record, and, in some cases, a recent medical examination.
Non-Canadians interested in emigrating to the country can check out http://hinenimedia.memberlodge.org, which provides information about obtaining work visas for Canada. Online assessment of eligibility to live and work in Canada can be made. In addition there is information on gaining permanent and temporary work status in Canada.
*Business inmigration category ( investor/Entrepreneur)