Every year, over 90,000 foreign workers enter Canada to work temporarily in jobs that help Canadian employers address skill shortages, or as live-in caregivers.
A work permit is needed for most temporary jobs in Canada, though for some positions and business people it is not necessary.
Normally the work permit application process involves two steps. The Canadian employer seeking to hire the foreign worker will have to obtain a job offer confirmation (or validation, as it appears in some publications) from Human Resources and Social Development Canada. If HRSDC officials are satisfied the entry of the foreign worker into the Canadian labour market is likely to have neutral or positive effect, a positive labour market opinion (LMO) will be issued to the employer and the job offer is confirmed.
The second step is the submission of the application for a work permit to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Effective august, 2006, applicants in NOC Skill levels O, A and B may request concurrent processing of the work permit application with the HRSDC application. Choosing this option may shorten the overall waiting time. In any case, a work permit will not be issued prior to presenting the positive LMO to CIC.
There is a rather extensive list of exemption categories to the HRSDC approval requirement. The categories include exemptions based on occupation or position, international agreements to which Canada is a signatory and the status of certain individuals already in Canada. Eligible workers may apply directly for a work permit at a visa office, in-land CIC office and in specific cases at a port-of-entry.