Foreign Workers

First published on Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

Last updated on Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Foreign workers are a significant part of Canada’s job market. As Canadian employers continue to look for candidates to fill empty job positions, employers can benefit from hiring foreign workers. Especially when there is no available local talent.

However, employers should be aware that there is a process established by the government of Canada when hiring foreign workers.

In this guide, we’ll explain what foreign workers are, the process of hiring foreign workers, and the benefits of it.

What are Foreign Workers?

Foreign workers are foreign nationals who are hired by Canadian employers to work in Canada. There are various reasons why Canadian employers hire foreign workers. However, the most common reason is because they cannot find local employees to fill open positions.

Sometimes, local workers do not want to work these open positions because they are intense labour jobs. Or the roles are remote and away from family and friends.

Some examples of jobs in Canada for foreign workers include:

  • Commercial vehicle drivers.
  • Welders.
  • General labourer.
  • In-home caregivers.
  • Heavy-duty mechanic.
  • Agriculture or farm work.

How to Hire Foreign Workers in Canada

Hiring foreign workers in Canada is governed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Employers are first required to fill out a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to determine if there is a need for foreign workers. Employers must show that no Canadians or permanent residents are available to do the job.

An employer can file a LMIA online though Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The ESDC will determine whether there is a need for foreign workers to fill the position.

The purpose of an LMIA is to determine that there is no one available to fill the positions and to determine the impact of foreign workers on the Canadian labour market. ESDC assess the employer’s advertising efforts, proposed wages, working conditions, and labour shortages in the industry.

Once the ESDC approves of the LMIA, you can provide a foreign worker with a job offer.

How to Hire Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

If you operate in an industry that only requires workers for part of the year, you can hire temporary foreign workers.

Employers are still required to file a LMIA with ESDC. Moreover, employers must send the temporary foreign worker a valid job offer and have them apply for a work permit with the IRCC.

How Long Does the Hiring Process Take?

Hiring foreign workers takes time. That’s why it’s imperative that you begin as early as possible because processing takes time.

Employers can expect anywhere between 10 to 36 business days for an LMIA to be processed. This is heavily dependent on what kind of worker you are looking for.

For example, employers who are looking in-home caregivers can expect processing times to be at least 25 business days. This also does not consider any pre-arrangements that you or the foreign worker need to complete before they commence work.

Can Temporary Foreign Workers get EI?

Temporary foreign workers are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in Canada if they work in insurable employment and are required to pay EI premiums.

Temporary foreign workers must still meet the requirements to be eligible for EI benefits. But they are also entitled to benefits such as sick leave, parental leave, and compassionate care leave.

If a foreign worker is eligible to receive employment insurance from their originating country, the worker may be ineligible to receive EI benefits in Canada.

How Much do Temporary Foreign Workers get Paid in Canada?

How much temporary foreign workers are paid in Canada is dependent on how much you willing to pay them. When determining compensation, you should consider the industry standard and how much experience and skills the foreign worker will need to do the job.

Nonetheless, employers must pay foreign workers at least the minimum wage in accordance with the applicable employment standards legislation in their relevant jurisdiction.

What are Foreign Workers Rights in Canada?

Foreign workers in Canada have almost all the same rights under employment legislation as Canadian and permanent resident workers. For example, foreign workers in Ontario are protected under the Employment Standards Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Human Rights Code.

Some jurisdictions include unique protections for foreign workers. For example, in Ontario, foreign workers are also protected under the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act. This gives protection to foreign workers for various reasons such as protecting foreign workers from being charged additional service or recruiter fees.

Employers that employ foreign workers should be aware that some industries are exempt from the general rules of employment standard legislations. For example, foreign workers working in British Columbia’s agricultural industry are exempt from various rules such as overtime and hours free from work.

What are the Benefits of Hiring Foreign Workers?

Employers who hire foreign workers can enjoy a range of benefits for their company and the overall workplace culture. Some benefits include:

  • New talent and skill: Primary reason to hire foreign workers is because there is a lack of candidates in Canada to fill the position. However, hiring internationally can give you access to a wider range of candidates that can bring unique talents and skills to your workforce.
  • Diversifying your workforce: Diversifying your workforce can be challenging at times. However, hiring foreign workers can bring different social and cultural background to your team. Team members from different backgrounds can learn from each other and bring different perspectives.
  • Strong work ethic: Foreign workers coming to work in Canada are often hardworking and seek new opportunities that they did not have in their originating country. Foreign workers recognize that work experience is essential to staying in Canada and typically make work their top priority.
  • Access to international markets: Hiring foreign workers who speak foreign languages can be valuable to a company looking to expand into international markets.
  • Enhanced corporate image: It is socially accepted that employers in Canada should be more diverse and inclusive when it comes to their workforce. Hiring foreign workers is one way to establish this and enhance their public image.

Get Advice on Foreign Workers with BrightHR

Employers looking to the foreign labour market to fill in the gaps in their workforce, should take the necessary steps to familiarize themselves with the process and the laws in place.

If you need assistance with hiring foreign workers or questions about their rights, our BrightAdvice service allows you to receive quality advice on any employment issues you may have.

Contact us on 18882204924 or book a demo today.

Share this article

More on contracts

Domestic Workers

Throughout the world, people are often hired to look after someone’s children or to take care of the family home – and this is no different in ...

Retail Workers

Over two million people are working in retail in Canada, with a significant increase in retail workers during the holidays. Before hiring staff for ...

Continuity of Employment

Businesses can change ownership from time to time, but what happens to employees once this happens is extremely important. The last thing you want is ...

Employee Record Retention

As an employer, you’re required to maintain employee records for each member of staff. These confidential records must be kept during and after ...

Fixed-Term Contracts

It’s important for every employer to establish terms of employment with their employees. Most employees are hired indefinitely – which means there is ...

Person working at window

Changing Employees Working Hours

Many companies operate on varying work hours. This can lead employers to believe changing employees working hours whenever they want is ...

Flexible Working

As the world of work evolves and adapts to new challenges, one of the most common and popular innovations is flexible working. This work model allows ...

Terms of Employment

Hiring an employee is an investment, and it’s important that you and your staff understand roles, rights, and responsibilities during their ...

Employees going over the employee handbook

Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is a valuable tool to communicate with your employees about your business operations. It can provide your employees guidance ...