Working in Canada in 2021 as a foreign national

Canadian citizens and permanent residents have the right to work in Canada. However, when it comes to foreign nationals, such a right does not exist. Consequently, if you want to know about working in Canada in 2021 as a foreign national, keep reading this article.

Working in Canada without a permit

Under section 186 of the Immigration Regulations, some foreign nationals may work in Canada without a permit. Of course, they still need a valid temporary status in Canada. As a result, depending on their nationalities, they may need a TRV or an eTA or neither of those to travel to Canada. Moreover, a Border Services Officer decides for how long they may stay in Canada. However, if they qualify, they may work without a permit. Here are some examples:

  • Business visitors
  • Performing artists under special circumstances
  • Motivational speakers
  • Most post-secondary international students

I have another article that explains working without a permit in detail. Luckily, the government has not changed R186 in the past few months. Therefore, if you qualified to work without a permit in the past, you still do in 2021. However, keep in mind that most options under this section of law are not much appealing. Time limitation is also another aspect of working without a permit. Thus, in most cases, the work duration is only a few days to a few weeks.

Working in Canada in 2021 with an LMIA

LMIA stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment. Service Canada is the entity that issues LMIA letters. Of course, they intend to explore if hiring a foreign national negatively affects the Canadian labour market. Consequently, Service Canada only issues positive LMIA letters if they find no issues with hiring foreign nationals. Therefore, receiving a positive LMIA is a must for many job-offers to foreign nationals. However, upon receiving the LMIA, you must apply for a work permit. In other words, a positive LMIA does not guarantee a work permit. You may read the following articles for more information:

Canada issued 98,310 LMIA-based work permits in 2019. However, a large group of those people worked under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the process of issuing work permits in 2020. Moreover, I believe the number of LMIA-based work permits remains below the 2019 figures in 2021 because of the following reasons:

  • The fiasco of coronavirus is not over yet. Therefore, the borders may stay closed in the first few months of the year.
  • Many Canadians have lost their jobs. Consequently, we can fill most of the open positions locally.

Working in Canada without an LMIA

While exploring working in Canada in 2021, you need to know many foreign workers in Canada are exempt from LMIA. The International Mobility Program (IMP) defines LMIA-exempt cases. Of course, the following reasons could result in LMIA exemption under IMP.

  • International agreements
  • Canadian interests
  • No other means of support
  • Permanent residence applicants in Canada
  • Vulnerable workers
  • Humanitarian reasons

Nonetheless, you may read the following article for more information.

Canada accepted 306,797 foreign workers under various IMP programs in 2019. However, the figures could be a lot less in 2021 for the same reasons I explained in this article’s previous section.

Job offers for working in Canada

The elephant in the room is a job offer. Unless you qualify for an open work permit, you need a job offer to work in Canada. However, receiving a genuine job offer in Canada has always been a dream that does not come true for many. Unfortunately, the situation will be even worse in 2021 as Service Canada, IRCC and CBSA will scrutinize every job offer. Responsible organizations know many foreign nationals are interested in working in Canada in 2021. However, they also know that Canadians could fill most of those positions. Therefore, the scrutiny for finding fake job offers will be more than ever. Regardless, if someone asks for money in exchange for a job offer, stay away from them.

Let us help!

Are you interested in working in Canada in 2021? If you have a genuine job offer in Canada, contact us. Of course, we could help you with the LMIA or work permit process. However, don’t expect us to find you jobs in Canada. While unlikely, job search websites and cold-calling could assist you with your job-seeking efforts. Also, stay away from scammers.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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