We’ve received a number of calls over the past while asking whether it is possible to hire somebody from outside Canada to work at a tourism business. The short answer is yes, but there are a number of steps you need to take to do it.
All foreign workers require a work permit, and the process for getting a work permit starts with what is known as a Labour Market Opinion or LMO. This is done by Service Canada and is designed to determine whether there is a shortage of available Canadian workers in this field of work and geographic area. It is up to you, as the employer, to obtain the LMO from Service Canada, and you can find further information on the process here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/tfwguide.asp
The LMO tells the employer that it is okay to hire a foreign national, and Service Canada deals only with the employer. Once the LMO is granted, you as the employer send a copy of the LMO approval to the foreign worker you wish to hire, and they use it to apply for a work permit. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, workers from the US or Mexico present the letter at the border crossing where they first arrive in Canada, where the border officials use it to determine that they can issue a work permit to this person for the job and time period indicated. Workers from other countries would present the letter to the Canadian Embassy or visa office in their country.
Of course, the foreign worker would also have to meet other normal admission requirements including having a valid passport and not presenting any criminal record or security concerns. Some occupations, such as medical workers, child care workers or food handlers may require an Immigration Medical, as well.
This is a brief overview, but it should cover most of the straightforward cases in the tourism industry. There is very detailed information available on the Citizenship and Immigration website at www.cic.gc.ca Scroll down the left side to Publications and click on the bullet Working Temporarily in Canada.
There is also much more detailed information available if you click on Operational manuals and bulletins and then click on Temporary foreign worker guidelines (FW). This will take you to two rather long chapters on the process.
The main things to remember are:
- American citizens NEED passports to get back into the US (and therefore to get into Canada)
- Most American citizens can apply for and get the Temporary Resident’s Permit (worker) at the border if they have the proper ID and Labour Market Opinion document (obtained by the employer in advance).
This article was taken from page 9 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, Spring 2010 Issue