It is no secret that skilled workers fuel business and boost
competitiveness. A shortage of skilled workers is a critical
challenge in the manufacturing industry in Canada and the
manufacturing sector is feeling the effects. Manufacturing based
companies often need to consider immigration solutions to address
As a general rule, no person, other than a Canadian citizen or
permanent resident, may work in Canada without valid authorization.
Manufacturing based companies must ensure that they comply with
immigration rules. Foreign nationals seeking to work in Canada will
always require a work permit. The key is to assess the person and
the purpose of the entry to determine the best immigration
Work Permit Categories
There are three key work permit categories that are often used
when sending foreign workers to Canada. These are:
1. NAFTA Professional Category
NAFTA may be used by American and Mexican citizens. NAFTA lists
63 professions that are eligible for work permits. Most require a
relevant university degree. A three year work permit, which is
renewable, may be obtained. NAFTA professions include, but are not
limited to: engineer, scientific technician, industrial designer,
and management consultant.
2. Intra-Company Transferees
Intra-company transferee provisions may be used to transfer
managerial or specialized personnel to a Canadian entity from a
related foreign entity. This is the category most often used when
sending personnel into Canada to set up a new operation. The
Be an executive, manager or have "specialized
knowledge" and must be transferring into such a position;
Have been with the related foreign entity for at least 12
consecutive months in the previous three years.
3. Labour Market Opinion
If no specific work permit category such is available, an
employer must apply to Service Canada to request a labour market
opinion ("LMO") to offer a job in Canada to a foreign
worker. If the LMO is granted, a work permit may then be obtained.
Generally, the goal is to avoid the LMO process if possible by
trying to bring in someone under one of the work permit categories
set out above.
With the recent and proposed changes to Canada's temporary
foreign worker program, manufacturing employers need to be aware of
the options and potential issues in hiring foreign workers within
the manufacturing industry.
The changes reflect a tightening of the process, while ensuring
that employers look for Canadian candidates first before turning to
foreign national candidates. As a result, it is becoming
increasingly difficult to fill gaps in a manufacturing labour force
with foreign workers. Manufacturing employers need to be aware that
planning ahead is crucial to ensure they have the people they want,
where they want them, when they need them.
What Gowlings Immigration Group Can Do
Assess entry situations to determine the best work permit
option or entry strategy
Prepare application packages to obtain work permits
Help manufacturing based companies expanding to Canada to get
personnel in – involve us early when U.S. based companies
want to start doing business in Canada
Provide advice on contract language that will help support the
entry of U.S. based personnel
Develop long term immigration plans and processes to ensure
that manufacturing based companies are in compliance with
Canada's immigration laws while keeping employing foreign
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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