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How to get a genuine job offer and stay - in Canada

Before you send payment to a job offer you received by email from a "Canadian employer" know the steps to determine if this is a scam, or genuine employment.

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on October 10, 2018; updated October 10, 2018

How to get a genuine job offer and stay - in Canada

How to get a genuine job offer and stay - in Canada

For two years in a row, Canada has admitted more foreign workers than its Southern neighbor, the United States of America has admitted H-2B temporary workers.

The U.S. has a cap of 66,000 yearly for temporary jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. Of course, the U.S. has another set of temporary work visa for degree holders per year– 65,000 – but selection is by lottery.

To work in the U.S. a sponsoring employer is needed. Canada has the same requirement, plus one attractive alternative: study in Canada.

Unlike the U.S., international students are allowed to work 20 hours a week -on or off campus - while pursuing a full-time academic program. In contrast, foreign students in the U.S. are restricted from off-campus employment.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rule on international students is clear: “F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions and only after the first academic year.

The ability to work or get a job offer in Canada becomes even more attractive to students who are married or with partners (common-law) since the spouse/partner can work full time for the duration of the academic program.  The U.S. does not allow spouse of international students (in F-2 status) to work

Plus, after completing the course, the international student in a publicly funded educational institution may work full time during the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) stage for up to three years.

This access to employers both by the principal student and the spouse/partner adds to the magnet to Canada of those seeking overseas employment as well as scammers who wish to take advantage of the opportunity that Canada provides.

From 2015 to 2017, the number of international students to Canada had been increasing, including those from the Philippines, according to Statistics Canada

Study Permit Holders in Canada 2015-2017
Year Total Philippines
2015 219,025 1,880
2016 264,840 2,895
2017 316,530 2,760

Incidentally, I have received letters and emails from readers who have received job offers from “Canadian employers. 

If you receive a job offer from a "Canadian employer" through the web or by email and before paying anything in return for an overseas employment offer, this short guide from official sources should keep you away from scammers.

Canadian government requirements for Employers intending to hire foreign workers.

First the employer must request an official opinion from Services Canada if a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required as part of the overseas recruitment.

Does Canadian employer need an LMIA?

There are two ways you can find out if the employer needs an LMIA.

  1. The employer or its authorized representative can review the list of LMIA exemption  codes, or
  2. Employer can contact the International Mobility Workers Unit for help.

Review the LMIA exemption codes

Go to the Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption codes table and review the list of regulations. This is the official link that the Canadian employer and the job applicant must consult to verify if the employer needs to obtain an LMIA before offering a job to the overseas applicant (foreign workers) - https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/temporary-residents/foreign-workers/exemption-codes.html

Regulation sections describing the exempt codes

The following section of Canada’s immigration regulations describe the categories of work exempt from the LMIA requirement.

  • R204: International agreements
  • R205: Canadian interests
  • R206: No other means of support
  • R207: Permanent residence applicants in Canada
  • R208: Humanitarian reasons

If the type of job being offered by the employer is NOT listed in the EXEMPTED categories, then the Canadian employer needs to obtain an LMIA.

If the Canadian employer needs help determining the need for an LMIA, the employer or its authorized representative should contact the International Mobility Workers Unit.

International Mobility Workers Unit

The International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU) helps employers determine if the temporary worker they want to hire is exempt from the LMIA process or exempt from a work permit.

If the employer believes an LMIA or work permit exemption applies to a specific  situation e.g., job offer to foreign worker, the employer can request an opinion from the IMWU if the temporary worker is from a visa-exempt country; and currently outside of Canada.

Please note that the Philippine is NOT a visa-exempt country, therefore, the employer must submit the work permit application with or without the LMIA to a Canadian visa processing center.

To request an opinion, the employer may contact the IMWU by email with a completed copy of the opinion request form. Opinions are issued within the two-week (14 calendar days) service standard. Requested information and supporting documents must be submitted to the IMWU at least 30 days before the date that the worker plans to enter Canada.

A positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker is available to do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a confirmation letter.

LMIA needed for worker to apply for work permit outside Canada

Once an employer gets the LMIA, the worker can apply for a work permit.

To apply for a work permit, a worker needs a job offer letter, a contract, a copy of the LMIA, and the LMIA number.

The applicant from the Philippines would need the following documents included in the application package:

  • Document Checklist [IMM 5488]
  • Visa office instructions – Work permit [IMM 5917]
  • Application for Work Permit made outside Canada
  • Family Information Form [IMM 5707]
  • Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union [IMM 5409]
  • Visa application photograph specifications
  • Use of a Representative [IMM 5476]

Philippine Government Requirements

In addition to the need for the Canadian employer to have the job offer and documents confirming the ability of the employer to recruit and employer foreign workers, the Foreign Worker / Filipino applicant must undergo seminars and processing with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

This is the official link of the POEA for Filipinos intending to work overseas as Professionals and Skilled Workers or Domestic Workers - http://www.peos.poea.gov.ph/

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) including those with Work Permits from Canada also must have the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). The OEC is a document that Philippine Immigration officers require from OFWs before they are allowed to leave.

It is a requirement of the Philippine government that overseas employers offering jobs to Filipinos MUST submit the details of the employment contract to the Philippine Labor Attaché in Canada to VERIFY the authenticity and eligibility of the EMPLOYER and the FINANCIAL capability to pay the wages stated in the contract.

Ask the Canadian employer if they have accredited or verified the job offer with the current Philippine Labor Attaché in Canada. If not, then do not proceed with the job offer. 

The directory of Labor Attaches could be reached through this official link from the POEA and DOLE - The directory of Labor Attaches – current as of March 2017 - can be reached through this link - http://www.poea.gov.ph/files/POLO%20Directory%20(09March2017).pdf

Why Canadian employers prefer those already in the country

Canada’s Express Entry allows candidates from overseas to submit and complete a candidate profile into the candidate pool. The Canadian government then draws candidates from the pool on a regular basis (2-3 weeks) issuing invitations to apply for residency to candidates with the highest-ranking scores.

An intending immigrant usually needs only 67 points to get into the pool, but anywhere from 441 to 445 to get an invitation. Candidates have 60 days to submit the residency application and the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) webpage shows processing takes an average of 6-10 months.

Employers needing immediate help or temporary staff need not wait.

They post job vacancies in schools instead. Since students are authorized to work (including the spouses / partners) applicants can be interviewed immediately to avoid disruption of service or operations. The same employers also are the potential sponsors for permanent residency.

What’s the point? It’s better to study your options and pursue the most viable way to work and stay North of the USA.



Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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