Marie-Eve Ethier's 5 tips list on: How to hire an international employee

June 22, 2011

Marie-Eve Ethier studied Human Resources Management at HEC Montreal. She worked as an immigration officer at Citizenship and Immigration Canada for almost five years.  She joined Ubisoft Entertainment in 2004 as a recruiter and then as an HR Adviser-Global Mobility. Since 2006, she has been working for Rio Tinto in various positions related to international mobility. She currently holds a Project Manager-Total Rewards and Mobility position.


We asked her for five tips about the things to know when hiring in Canada  a foreign candidate:

  • Labor Market Opinion (LMO): It is an assessment done by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) in order to protect the Canadian Labour Market.  A LMO is required in most cases when you wish to hire foreign workers. Some occupations or categories of workers may be exempt from LMO. A complete list of these occupations is available on HRSDC web site:  When applying for a LMO, you must provide various information such as wages, working conditions, efforts made to hire or train Canadians for the job, etc.  You must demonstrate that no Canadian would be qualified enough to perform the job, which would justify the need to hire a foreign worker. Once the LMO is approved, a temporary work permit application can be requested to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Please note an exception applies if you intend to hire foreign workers in the province of Quebec. In addition to the LMO, a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) must be obtained from the Government of Quebec before submitting a work permit application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • Work Permit – Eligibility to apply: The temporary work permit application process may differ from one foreign worker to another. There are three possible scenarios: 1) eligibility to apply from outside Canada, 2) eligibility to apply from inside Canada, and 3) eligibility to apply as the foreign worker enters Canada.  Each scenario has it’s own requirements listed at It is important to note that in scenarios 1 and 2, the foreign worker may have to provide a police clearance certificate and to undergo a medical examination.  If the foreign worker isn’t already inside Canada, it will be important to verify if his country of citizenship is listed as requiring a temporary resident visa.  If so, a temporary resident visa will need to be requested with the temporary work permit application in a Canadian Embassy or Consulate. The list of countries requiring such visa is available at
  • Average wait: The waiting time will depend on the province in which you are hiring, and the country of origin of your foreign candidate. An employer will most likely have to wait longer if he wishes to hire in Quebec, if the foreign worker isn’t already in Canada, has a country of citizenship listed as requiring a temporary resident visa and has an occupation non exempt from LMO. The whole process can take many months.
  • Quotas:  Canada doesn’t have any quota in place right now. In a general matter it is a welcoming country for foreigners, as long as you are able to justify why you wish to hire foreign workers instead of Canadians.  Therefore, , it is nothing like the H1B visa in the US.
  • Where to get the information: If you want to know more about the subject and know every step that should be taken, you can go to check the (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) website where you can find all the information. As Canada is a federal state, each province has its own rules, therefore you should check on your province’s website ( for Quebec. And do not hesitate to call, you can always contact the Canadian Embassies, immigration offices or the call center services (inside Canada only 1-888-242-2100), they can answer your questions swiftly.

Do you have any issues or had problems hiring an international employee? Share your experience with us!

We would like to thank Rio Tinto and Marie-Eve Ethier, who was kind enough to spend a long time with us explaining all those processes and requirements! We look forward to having you for our next 5 tip-list.


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