Foreign Worker Program – Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
Individuals seeking to work in Canada must have their employment offers confirmed by ESDC before applying for a work permit at a Canadian consulate or port of entry. Before confirming a job offer by a Canadian company to a foreign individual, ESDC considers a list of factors that together form a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The factors include whether:
If the above analysis results in a positive LMIA, ESDC will approve the employment offer. In addition to an LMIA, certain regulated occupations (such as doctors, engineers and trade persons) require additional licensing and certification requirements before ESDC will grant an employment authorization.
Once a positive LMIA is issued, the second step is to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the actual work permit.
If the worker has received and is employed on a positive LMIA, ESDC has the ability to confirm that the conditions of the application are being followed. This done through an Employer Compliance Review. ESDC will verify that the employer is continually fulfilling their obligations under the LMIA, which include:
If ESDC finds that the employer has not complied with their conditions, ESDC may issue punishments including suspensions or revocations of the previously issued LMIAs or pending LMIAs and fines up to $100 000. Employers can also be added to a blacklist, banning them from using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
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