6 Hiring Myths
By Warren L. Creates - Head of Immigration Law Group, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l.
Hiring Immigrants, International Students and Foreign Workers
As the economy recovers from COVID-19, immigrants, international students, and individuals on temporary visas will be a vital source of talent. Employers may feel confused, intimidated, or concerned about who they can hire and for how long.
Here are 6 hiring MYTHS and 6 myth-busting FACTS about hiring immigrants, international students and foreign workers:
MYTH 1: Immigrants take jobs away from Canadian citizens, making it hard for Canadians to find jobs.
FACT: Immigration expands both the domestic and international economy by bringing high-skilled individuals into our workforce. Due to precautionary border closures during COVID-19, immigration to Canada has slowed down drastically. According to Andrew Agopsowicz, a senior economist at Royal Bank of Canada, immigration will be key to our economic recovery.
MYTH 2: Immigrants need a special work permit or visa.
FACT: Immigrants do not need any work permit or other visa of any kind to work in Canada. Their status as permanent residents is sufficient. All they need is a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
MYTH 3: Refugee claimants are not allowed to work.
FACT: All refugee claimants almost automatically receive a work permit that enables them to work in any job in Canada until their refugee case is decided.
MYTH 4: International students can only work while they are studying.
FACT: Foreign students in Canada on study permits are entitled to work part-time during the school term up to 20 hours per week off-campus. During vacation time—that is, between terms or school sessions—they are entitled to work full-time. Also, once they graduate, foreign students are entitled to apply for and to receive an open work permit valid for the same number of years as was their program of study, to a maximum of three (3) years.
MYTH 5: Temporary Foreign Workers compete directly with Canadians for jobs.
FACT: Temporary Foreign Workers can help fill the gaps in many industries, including but not limited to seasonal agricultural, food service, domestic cleaning, etc. However, in 2014, Canada’s agriculture sector was unable to fill 26,400 job positions, which cost the sector $1.5 billion. Our agriculture sector relies heavily on Temporary Foreign Workers to fill positions for this critical aspect of our country’s infrastructure, and without these workers, Canada’s agricultural sector would suffer.
MYTH 6: I need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire someone who is in Canada on a visa. (Note: A LMIA is a protective mechanism intended to protect the Canadian labour market by proving that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job, and no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is able to do the job.)
FACT: Many work permit scenarios are LMIA exempt. For example, many professionals under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement are LMIA-exempt. Also, intra-company transfers of managers and specialized knowledge workers are LMIA-exempt.
FACT Summary—It’s Easier to Hire Foreign Workers Than You Think!
- Immigration expands both the domestic and international economy by bringing high-skilled individuals into our workforce.
- Immigrants do not need a work permit or other visa of any kind to work in Canada.
- All refugee claimants almost automatically receive a work permit.
- Foreign students in Canada on study permits are entitled to work part-time while studying and full-time between terms and school sessions.
- Our agriculture sector, and many other sectors, rely on Temporary Foreign Workers to fill gaps.
- Many foreign workers are exempt from the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
For information on how to source immigrant talent in Ottawa, and resources to foster an immigrant-inclusive workplace, please visit Hire Immigrants Ottawa's website.
Additional Resources for Employers Hiring Immigrants, International Students and Foreign Workers
- Government of Canada support for Canadian employers, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Temporary Wage Subsidy, and Deferral of GST/HST Remittances
- Government of Canada guidance regarding who can travel to Canada: citizens, persons registered under Canada’s Indian Act, permanent residents, foreign nationals and refugees
- Government of Canada guidance regarding travel restrictions, exemptions and advice
What Services and Functions in Canada Are Considered Essential?
- Necessary medical deliveries
- Work in the trade and transportation sector, which is critical to the movement of goods or people
- Those who cross the border regularly for work (healthcare workers, critical infrastructure workers)
- Those who need to cross the border to provide or receive essential services, including emergency responders and workers providing COVID-related services to Canadians
Disclaimer: Please note that the content on this webpage cannot be construed as legal advice. We have made our best efforts to provide preliminary and helpful information in an environment that is rapidly changing.
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