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Global Client Director
08 March 2019
Read time
4 minutes

How to hire foreign employees in Canada

Canadian companies looking to meet their business needs by hiring skilled employees can look outside the country for foreign workers.

Currently, there is a skilled labour shortage in the knowledge industry but Canada has figured out a way through a new program to make it easier to hire foreign skilled workers in the IT fields.

Testing the labour market in Canada

Most Canadian businesses can only hire foreign employees if they have first tried and failed to hire locally. Businesses must ensure that there are no Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada that can provide the skills necessary to complete the job. After the labour market is properly 'tested' and it is confirmed that there are no qualified Canadian or Permanent Resident candidates available, the employer is eligible to search for a foreign worker to come into Canada to fill the role.

The process of testing the market varies based on the job being offered but it must be done for at least one month.  For example, to hire a chef, you would have to place the advertisement in three different sources, like a website or newspaper. After a month, the employer is required to review the applicants and then present their recruitment results to a department of the government called, Service Canada. Service Canada assesses the employer’s efforts to find a Canadian or Permanent Resident to fill the role. The business would have to demonstrate that they have tested the labour market and then ask for permission to allow a foreign worker to come work in the country.

Global Skills Strategy

One exception to this rule is for jobs in the knowledge-based industries, like IT and AI. We spoke to Stephen Green, Managing Partner at Green and Spiegel, an immigration law firm for an explanation of this program, “There are currently over 200,000 vacancies for these types of jobs. The government of Canada recognized this problem about two years ago and launched an initiative called Global Skills Strategy. Under the Global Skills Strategy, there is the Global Talent Stream, which allows employers hiring for 13 different occupations in the IT industry to be exempt from testing the labour market prior to hiring temporary foreign workers. Employers can get authorization to bring in the foreign worker within 10 days and bring them to the country.” 

Green explained, “Under the Global Talent Stream, the employer and the Canadian government will create a Labour Market Benefits Plan, outlining how the employer will benefit the Canadian labour market. This often includes how the foreign employee will be beneficial to the company. The activities in the plan could include providing training to Canadian employees already employed by the company, creating job opportunities, or maybe having the foreign employee teach in the community. Through this program, IT Companies in Canada are able to meet the needs of their clients because they can search the whole world for a skilled workforce and bring the workers to Canada in a very short amount of time.”

After these temporary workers have worked in Canada for one year in a skilled job and speak English or French well, there is a program that allow them to become a Permanent Resident of Canada after approximately six months. After about two and a half years, the workers can obtain a passport. 

French Mobility program

People who are fluent in French and want to move to Canada can find a company to offer them a job and they can get their work permit in approximately 2-6 weeks and get immigration after about one year and six months. This program’s goal is to build French- speaking communities outside of Quebec and participants can also bring their families to Canada.

Effect of the US immigration policy 

Canada is reaping the benefits of the changing US immigration policy. Skilled foreign workers in the US have to deal with the H1 lottery and the visa process which is not friendly. Canada is taking these workers away from the US and welcoming them with jobs, possible immigration status and permanent residence. Canada is growing its skilled workforce while creating better jobs and more business due to their immigration programs. 

How we can help 

TMF Canada are experts at helping companies with all their HR and payroll needs for any type of employees.  Our local office can set up payroll, remit taxes to the Canadian Revenue agency, handle all electronic transfers, and workers compensation claims on behalf of your company. 

For companies looking to set up an entity or operate in Canada, our experts can handle all aspects of the process and help you stay compliant. We will take care of all obligations allowing you to focus on growing your business and hiring new skilled employees. Talk to us.

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