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As a small tech firm always on the hunt for specialized programmers, finding qualified candidates in the local market can prove challenging. Luckily, seeking out foreign talent via immigration is an alternative for Canadian employers to help meet project needs and growth opportunities. But, this process can be difficult to navigate. We don’t have an immigration expert in our small team so we’ve resorted to a lot of trial and error to get these processes right, finding the proper forms, gathering correct documentation, etc.

We decided to put together a post of key considerations for employers seeking out foreign talent. We hope it will help you save time and multiple rounds of back and forth with Immigration Canada

Selecting an International Candidate

There are a few ways hire an international candidate that will solve your HR needs. Two main groups of permits that foreign workers can get are the International Experience Canada (IEC) or Work Permit through a Labour Market Impact Analysis (LMIA). In this first post we will address the first group, International Experience Canada.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

In our experience, we’ve found the IEC program to be great for our needs. The challenge has been understanding the different requirements and timelines of each of the program’s categories.

There are three categories* within IEC that can be leveraged:

  1. International Co-Op Internship (stage Co-op)
  2. Working Holiday (PVT)
  3. Young Professionals Permit (Le permis Jeunes Professionnels)

* It’s also possible to combine the Co-Op Internship followed by Working Holiday or Young Professionals Permit.

It’s important to note that the IEC program is only applicable to certain countries that have partnership with Canada. Countries with one or all of the above categories are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Category One: International Co-Op Internship

In this internship, a foreign student can come work for you in Canada for a period of up to 12 months. This permit is relatively easy to obtain and requires a fee of $230. We’ve hired interns this way in the past, and we like its simplicity and the speed of processing.

How to apply

  1. Select the candidate you wish to hire.
  2. Candidate applies online to get an invitation for the applicable IEC pool (International Co-Op Internship).
  3. Employer submits the employment offer through CléGC and pays the fee of $230.
  4. Employer sends the employment offer number generated by the system to the candidate.
  5. Candidate finishes their application with the information provided by the employer.
  6. Visa is generally granted in several business days.

Category Two: Working Holiday Visa

Candidates can obtain a Working Holiday Visa independently without any additional steps from you as an employer. Once the visa is secured, the individual can apply to any job within Canada. This permit lasts for up to 24 months.

In our experience, we’ve received applications from Working Holiday candidates before they come to Canada. Pros: these candidates are generally available on short notice with no wait time, because their paperwork is ready. Cons: there are a limited number of permits available each year, and the candidate is not tied to a specific employer.

Category Three: Young Professionals

This is our favorite option for its simplicity, quantity of permits available, length of stay and conditions. It works similarly to the internship permit, but it lasts for up to 24 months. While there is a limit to the number of permits that are issued annually, this number is rarely exhausted. In contrast to the Working Holiday permit, this category ties the candidate to a closed work permit. You are required to pay a $230 fee.

How to apply

  1. Select the candidate you wish to hire.
  2. Candidate applies online to get an invitation for the applicable IEC pool (Young Professionals Permit).
  3. Employer submits the employment offer through CléGC and pays the fee of $230.
  4. Employer sends the employment offer number generated by the system to the candidate.
  5. Candidate finishes their application with the information provided by the employer.
  6. Visa is generally granted in several weeks.

Coming up

Our next blog post will cover how to apply for a work permit through a Labour Market Impact Analysis (LMIA).

Good luck with your hiring!

*Please note that this blog post is based on our experience and does not represent official government opinions. Be advised that the forms, procedures and policies are subject to change at any time.

Ivana