Relocating to Canada for employment

Presented here is Visa and Immigration information for those candidates who wish to relocate to Canada. Relocating from the U.S. to Canada for work is a relatively uncomplicated process and is discussed below under NAFTA. If you are not relocating from the U.S. and wish to become a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, the process is more complicated.

The following information can also be found on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site. For further information on Immigration and/or Employment in Canada, please consult the following sites:

This VISA is available only to American or Mexican Citizens with Bachelor’s degrees or higher. Not available to non-citizens who reside in the US or Mexico. Under NAFTA, Computer Systems Analysts may be granted TN-I if they hold a Baccalaureate degree or Post-Secondary Diploma or Post-Secondary Certificate and three years’ experience. Issued by Immigration Canada directly to candidate employee (who applies directly to Immigration Canada at one of several specific Immigration Canada offices).

The applicant must pay a small fee, and present a Birth Certificate/Passport, as well as a letter from the prospective employer containing the following:

  • The professional activity to be engaged in (as listed in NAFTA).
  • A brief job description.
  • The anticipated length of stay.
  • The education qualification or appropriate credentials which demonstrate that the candidate employee has professional level status (Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most occupations, unless otherwise specified – see above.) Degrees, diplomas, or certificates received by the applicant from an educational institution not located within Canada, Mexico or the United States must be accompanied by an evaluation by a reliable credentials evaluation service that specializes in evaluating foreign educational credentials (University of Toronto, Department of Comparative Studies).
  • That the candidate employee complies with all applicable Canadian laws and/or license requirements for the occupation to be engaged in (this issue must be addressed in the employer’s letter).
  • The arrangement for remuneration for services to be rendered.

NAFTA (B-Professionals)

Professionals include persons who are seeking entry to work in one of the NAFTA Professions (see below), who hold the necessary qualifications in that profession. In addition, professionals must have pre-arranged employment with a Canadian enterprise in the occupation for which they are qualified.

If you are a professional, and have been offered a job in Canada, you should apply for an Employment Authorization in the usual way. Validation of the offer of employment is not required.

NAFTA Professions and Qualifications:

  • Engineer Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or State/Provincial License
  • Computer Systems Analyst Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree or a post-secondary certificate/diploma plus 3 years experience
  • Mathematician or Statistician Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree
  • Research Assistant Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree (post-secondary institution only)
  • Scientific Technician/Technologist theoretical knowledge of agricultural science, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology or physics, and the ability to apply principles to basic or applied research
  • Technical Publications Writer Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree, or post-secondary certificate/diploma with 3 years experience
  • Physicist Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree.

Temporary Foreign Worker Policy

This information is Copyright © 1999, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

To Whom Does This Apply?

A foreign worker is someone who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada. Temporary foreign workers are assessed on such criteria as:

  • the applicant’s approved job offer
  • the applicant’s ability to speak, read and write English and/or French
  • the applicant’s medical history
  • the applicant’s security background
  • the applicant’s qualifications and experience relative to the offer of employment


An Employment Authorization (EA) is usually required from Citizenship and Immigration Canada before:

  • A foreign worker can begin or continue working in Canada.
  • An employer considering hiring a foreign worker should first contact the Human Resource Centre of Canada (formerly Canada Employment Centres) servicing their area.

How does the employer obtain a validated offer of employment?

The employer will be asked to demonstrate:

  • That he/she has made reasonable efforts to hire or train Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
  • That qualified Canadian citizens and permanent residents were considered first before hiring a foreign worker.
  • That the working conditions, salary, and other factors are sufficient to attract and retain Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
  • That the admission of a foreign worker will help create or maintain employment in Canada and provide training opportunities or transfer specialized knowledge to workers in Canada.

The employer should also be prepared to provide:

  • A full description of the requirements and duties of the job offer, the wages and working conditions, the location of employment and the duration of employment, including any professional certifications, registrations and trade licenses required for the position.
  • An outline of the recruitment efforts and training undertaken to identify a suitably qualified and available Canadian citizen and/or permanent resident.
  • A brief description of the employer’s organization and human resource plan.
  • A list of appropriate unions or professional associations specific to the occupation whom the employer contacted in order to identify suitably qualified domestic candidates.
  • The employer’s Revenue Taxation Number.
  • The name, birth date, place of birth and address of the foreign worker concerned.
  • Any other relevant information required by the Human Resource Centre of Canada (HRCC).

A HRCC Counsellor will not approve an offer of employment to a foreign worker if:

  • the job offer is not bona fide or is designed to make the job inaccessible to Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents.
  • the firm is experiencing an industrial dispute.
  • the components of the job are not bona fide occupational requirements for the particular occupation.

How does it work?

Once a job offer to a foreign worker has been approved by the HRCC Counsellor:

The HRCC will electronically transmit the details of the job to the Immigration office where the foreign worker will be applying.

The employer should send the prospective foreign worker a copy of the confirmation of the offer of employment letter.

The foreign worker then applies for an Employment Authorization (EA) and attaches the confirmation letter to the application.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada can help determine if the person is allowed to enter work in Canada. The foreign worker and employer may be liable to prosecution if there is no employment authorization, or the employment authorization has expired. A new EA is required for each new employer or for an extension to a current employment authorization.

If an EA is issued, it will be valid only for the specified job and time period. A medical examination may be required. The foreign worker may not accept another job in Canada without written permission from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

If an employer is planning to recruit workers from abroad, the entry of people into Canada is regulated by the federal government under the Immigration Act and Regulations. However, the admission of foreign workers may be affected by the immigration and labour policies within each province. In Quebec, the decision to admit a temporary foreign worker is made jointly with the Ministere des Affaires Internationales, de l’Immigration et des communauts culturelles (MAIICC), and the federal government.


ADV Advanced Technical Services Inc.


Information contained in this section is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute advice for any specific fact situation. For particular questions, the users are invited to contact their lawyer or Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

Provinces Eligible: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon Territory.

Ontario Contact: Human Resources Development Canada – HRDC, Toronto, Ontario Employment Telemessage Service: 416-954-5107

Contact ADV:
Phone: 416-502-2545