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Hiring International Workers

By Loretta Pickett, Newfound Immigration Solutions

Many employers in Canada want to hire local workers but have trouble filling vacancies. If your business is experiencing this, it may be time to broaden your search and consider recruiting and hiring international workers.

Why hire international workers?

When you cannot find workers with the training, skills, and experience needed for your business, consider the advantages of hiring internationally trained workers:

  • Fill vacancies with qualified people. As demographics change the labour market, and as baby boomers continue to retire, it may become more difficult to find people with the skills, knowledge, and experience that your business needs. Recruiting internationally trained workers can help solve that problem.

  • Increase the diversity of your workplace. Internationally trained workers bring cultural richness, giving you a distinct business advantage. They can provide new contacts and introduce you to fresh ways of working and problem solving.

  • Increase the reach of your business. Many internationally trained workers speak languages other than English and have experience with other cultures. This can help your business develop and compete in new markets or attract new customers.

  • Discover the loyalty of international workers, who are often driven by a strong work ethic and a desire to succeed in Canada.

Employers can hire temporary foreign workers through two different programs:

  1. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

  2. International Mobility Program (IMP)

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The TFWP allows employers to hire temporary workers to fill labour and skill shortages. Under the TFWP, the employer will require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). An LMIA confirms there is a need for a temporary worker and no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do the job.

When processing the LMIA, ESDC will consider whether

  • the job offer is genuine

  • the wages and working conditions are comparable to those offered to Canadians working in the occupation

  • the employer conducted reasonable efforts to hire or train Canadians for the job (the employer will likely need to provide proof of recruitment efforts)

  • the foreign worker is filling a labour shortage

  • the employment will directly create new job opportunities or help retain jobs for Canadians

  • the foreign worker will transfer their knowledge and skills to Canadians

  • hiring the foreign worker will affect a labour dispute or the employment of any Canadian involved in such a dispute.

International Mobility Program

The International Mobility Program lets the employer hire a temporary foreign worker without a Labour Market Impact Assessment. In most cases the employer will need to submit an offer of employment through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC’s) online employer portal.

Exemptions from the LMIA process are based on both of the following:

  • the broader economic, cultural, or other competitive advantages for Canada

  • the reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents

LMIA exemption categories include:

  • International Free Trade Agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and others

  • Canada-international non-trade agreements

  • Canadian interests, significant benefits, entrepreneurs, intra-company transfers, francophone mobility, etc.

  • reciprocal international exchange programs such as International Experience Canada (i.e., working holiday visas)

  • charitable or religious workers

There are a number of exceptions and special rules and requirements under each of the above categories. Employers who hire temporary foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program are subject to employer compliance audits by Service Canada, Employment Social Development Canada, and Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada.

For employers seeking to fill labour or skill shortages, international workers can be a valuable resource. The law governing the hiring of international workers is complex, and the immigration process daunting. If you wish to discuss your company’s needs in detail, please contact Newfound Immigration Solutions at


Loretta Pickett,

Loretta Pickett is a regulated Canadian immigration consultant and the creator of Newfound Immigration Solutions (NIS). NIS specializes in finding immigration solutions for individuals and businesses. We focus on helping individuals and families find their pathway to Canada. We also help employers bring much-needed skilled and specialized human resources to the country. Immigration processes can be complex and are ever changing. NIS provides reliable immigration guidance. We offer a wide range of immigration services in temporary residence, permanent residence, and citizenship.



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