How to Hire a Foreign Worker in Canada - A Comprehensive Guide

Dec 25, 2023

Are you looking to expand your business in Canada? Hiring a foreign worker can bring new skills, diversity, and unique perspectives to your team, helping you take your business to new heights. At SAI Canada, a trusted provider of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathic/Holistic, Health & Medical services, we understand that hiring foreign workers can be a complex process. That's why we have put together this comprehensive guide to help you navigate through the necessary steps and requirements involved in hiring a foreign worker in Canada.

The Importance of Hiring Foreign Workers

Hiring foreign workers not only diversifies your workforce but also enhances your company's global perspective. It brings in fresh ideas and expertise, fosters cross-cultural exchange, and contributes to a more inclusive work environment. Additionally, hiring foreign workers can be a solution to labor shortages in specific sectors where there is a demand for specialized skills.

Understanding the Work Permit Process

Before you can hire a foreign worker, you need to ensure they have the necessary work authorization. In Canada, most foreign workers require a work permit to work legally. The work permit allows them to stay and work in Canada temporarily. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the different work permit categories and choose the most suitable one for your needs.

1. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

The TFWP is designed for employers who want to hire foreign workers for a specific duration. To hire a foreign worker under this program, you will need to demonstrate that there are no qualified Canadians or permanent residents available for the position. You may also need to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which assesses the impact the foreign worker may have on the Canadian labor market.

2. International Mobility Program (IMP)

The IMP covers work permits that are exempt from the LMIA requirement. Some categories under the IMP include intra-company transferees, individuals covered under international agreements (such as NAFTA), and workers under reciprocal employment programs. To hire a foreign worker under the IMP, you must satisfy specific criteria related to the category you are applying for.

Requirements for Hiring Foreign Workers

Once you have determined the appropriate work permit category, you will need to fulfill certain requirements to hire a foreign worker in Canada. These requirements can vary depending on the type of work permit and the occupation of the foreign worker. However, here are some common requirements you may encounter:

  • Job Offer: You must provide a valid job offer to the foreign worker, outlining the terms and conditions of employment.
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA): If required, you must obtain a positive LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to demonstrate that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact the Canadian labor market.
  • Work Permit Application: You must complete and submit the appropriate work permit application, along with supporting documents and fees.
  • Language Requirements: Depending on the occupation, the foreign worker may need to prove their proficiency in English or French.
  • Education and Credentials: You may need to verify the foreign worker's education, qualifications, and professional certifications.

The Steps to Hiring a Foreign Worker

Now that you understand the different work permit options and requirements, let's walk through the general steps involved in hiring a foreign worker in Canada:

Step 1: Determine the Job Requirements

Clearly define the job requirements, including job duties, qualifications, language requirements, and any specific skills needed. Ensure that your job offer complies with all relevant employment and labor laws.

Step 2: Advertise the Job

Before hiring a foreign worker, you must make efforts to recruit Canadians or permanent residents. Advertise the job through appropriate channels, such as job boards, trade publications, and community organizations. Keep records of your recruitment efforts.

Step 3: Apply for an LMIA (if applicable)

If your chosen work permit category requires an LMIA, submit an application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The LMIA process involves demonstrating that hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labor market. Be prepared to provide detailed information about your company, the job offer, and your recruitment efforts.

Step 4: Submit the Work Permit Application

Once you have received a positive LMIA (if required) and have a job offer, you can proceed to submit the work permit application. The foreign worker may need to complete additional forms, undergo a medical examination, and provide biometric information.

Step 5: Await the Decision

After submitting the work permit application, you will need to patiently wait for a decision from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The processing time can vary depending on the workload and the specific circumstances of the application.

Step 6: Onboarding and Compliance

Once the work permit is approved, you can proceed with onboarding the foreign worker onto your team. Ensure that you comply with all employment laws and regulations, including providing a fair wage, proper working conditions, and fulfilling any additional obligations specified in the work permit.


Hiring a foreign worker in Canada can be a rewarding experience that brings numerous benefits to your organization. By following the necessary steps, understanding the requirements, and choosing the right work permit category, you can successfully navigate through the process. Remember to consult with professionals in immigration and employment matters, like those at SAI Canada, who can provide expert guidance and support throughout the entire process. Embrace the opportunity to embrace diversity and expand your business with the assistance of skilled foreign workers.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For specific guidance related to hiring foreign workers, consult with professionals who specialize in immigration and employment laws.

how to hire a foreign worker in canada