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Canadian Legal Services Employment Authorization Information

What is an Employment Authorization?

Persons who seek to enter Canada to work for a temporary period of time require an Employment Authorization. Employment Authorizations are issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada , the Canadian Government Ministry charged with the responsibility of controlling immigration to Canada.

Certain persons are exempt from the Employment Authorization requirement under the provisions of the Canadian Immigration Act . Foreign diplomats, military personnel, clergy and related workers, certain performing artists and athletes, ship or truck crew members and designated foreign buyers and sellers generally do not require an Employment Authorization.

There are numerous other exempted occupations listed in Section 19(1) of the Immigration Regulations and these regulations should be consulted to confirm whether an exemption may apply to your occupation.

How do I obtain an Employment Authorization?

Section 10 of the Immigration Act provides that a person who wishes to engage in employment in Canada must apply for the work authorization prior to arrival at a port of entry. There are certain circumstances, however, which would allow a person to apply for an Employment Authorization from within Canada. Generally, U.S. citizens or permanent residents are not required to apply from outside Canada. Such persons may qualify for admission to Canada under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement which permits application for Employment Authorizations by certain designated professionals at a port of Entry.

As a general rule, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will not issue an Employment Authorization unless and until a "validation" from a Canada Employment Center has been issued. The validation requirement entails an application to a Canada Employment Center (CEC) by a prospective Canadian employer requesting approval of a job offer for a foreign worker. The Canada Employment Center must examine the employer's efforts to recruit qualified Canadian applicants prior to issuing the validation. The CEC may require the employer to run an advertisement for the position offered in a local newspaper prior to issuing the validation.

Once the validation has been approved, notice of the approval will be forwarded to the Port of Entry (in the case of U.S. citizens) Consulate or High Commission office abroad nearest to the foreign worker's residence. The foreign worker will then be invited to apply for the Employment Authorization and an interview may be arranged with the visa officer. Additionally, workers from certain designated countries may be required to pass a medical examination prior to the issuance of the Employment Authorization.

The visa officer who examines the Application for Employment Authorization must be convinced that issuance of the authorization will not adversely affect employment opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada. Thus, the foreign worker and his prospective Canadian employer must present sufficient documentation in support of the application to assure the visa officer that no qualified Canadians could be found to fill the position. It is advisable to highlight any unique credentials possessed by the foreign worker in this regard. It is also important to establish that the foreign worker will work in the same conditions and will be paid the same wage as a Canadian worker would if one had been available to accept the position.

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Do all offers of employment require a validation?

Not all occupations in Canada require a validation of the offer of employment from the local Canada Employment Center (CEC). In some circumstances, the national interest of Canada justifies an exemption from the normal requirement of obtaining validation from a Canada Employment Center. An example of such an exemption would be a person who has been determined to be a Convention refugee and has a right to remain in Canada but has not yet received permanent resident status in this country. It is in Canada's national interest to permit such persons to accept an offer of employment without requiring a validation as that person should be able to support him or herself pending completion of their permanent resident application without having to rely on public assistance programs.

Other important examples of exemptions from the validation requirement include foreign students who hold a Canadian student visa, international researchers, intra-company transferees, and citizens of the United States whose occupations fall under then North American Free Trade Agreement .

Recently, the Canadian Government has enacted a pilot program which permits certain qualified computer professionals to apply for an Employment Authorization without first obtaining a validation from a local CEC.

The Software Professional Pilot Program (SPPP) is a validation-exempt program which permits IT professionals to apply for an Employment Authorization without first obtaining a validation from HRDC in Canada. The Applicant must:

  1. Have a job offer from a Canadian Company;
  2. The job offer must be in an IT occupation recognized under the SPPP (there are seven IT occupations noted)
  3. The salary, job duties and credentials of the applicant must meet the strict parameters of the SPPP.

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How long does an Employment Authorization last?

Employment Authorizations are typically issued in one (1) year increments for up to two (2) years. Extension applications may be filed with Citizenship and Immigration Canada from within Canada provided the application is filed prior to the expiry of the Employment Authorization. When considering an application to extend an Employment Authorization, the immigration officer must be persuaded that the foreign worker's desire to remain in Canada is still temporary in nature. Naturally, as time goes on it will be increasingly difficult to convince an immigration officer that the foreign worker wishes to remain in Canada temporarily. It is therefore important for foreign workers to consider applying for permanent residence in Canada shortly after they arrive in this country under their temporary Employment Authorizations.

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Will I qualify for an exemption from the validation requirement?

We offer an on-line consultation service to assess your chances of qualifying for temporary or permanent immigration to Canada. Please complete our Consultation Form and post the information when prompted so that we may assess your case.

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Can Hulka Porter LLP assist me in the job search?

Yes. Hulka Porter LLP Placement Services Inc. is an Ontario corporation licensed by the provincial government to provide placement services. The company is affiliated with the Hulka Porter LLP Law Firm and specializes in providing IT and Skilled Trades placement services to foreign nationals.

Hulka Porter LLP Placement Services has immediate orders for many Skilled Trades positions throughout Ontario. We welcome resumes from all occupations and we invite you to fax or e-mail your resume to our Placement Division. Our contact information may be referenced through our Home Page.