Job Offer

A job offer…spells out your expectations of employees and the obligations you have to each other. A written contract can take many forms a letter, a proposal, or a formal agreement, for example.1

The Job Offer process for foreign workers includes:

  • identifying the level of detail required in the job offer;
  • identifying any specific expectations based on occupation;
  • submitting the formal application for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO);
  • providing the worker with the necessary documentation; and
  • workers entering Canada.

Ultimately, it is the employer who makes the job offer to the employee. Recruiters, labour organizations and construction associations can play a role in helping to define the job offer, and some government bodies are responsible for reviewing the job offer.

Offering Canadians jobs can sometimes be as simple as a hand shake and providing the time and location of the work site. When hiring TFWs, the job offer is not only the agreement between an employer and worker; it becomes a document used to determine eligibility for the completion of the LMO, the work permit, and entry into Canada.

If the employer obtained an unnamed LMO, it is at this stage that the details concerning the foreign worker must be added in order to complete the LMO process. Required information includes the worker’s name, date of birth, gender, citizenship, the country where the worker is currently living and immigration status if already in Canada. If no pre-approval was sought, the employer must now apply for the LMO as described in the Job Analysissection. Online LMO applications are available on the HRSDC website:

·         Occupations Requiring Lower Levels of Formal Training (NOC C and D)

·         High Skilled Occupations (NOC 0, A and B)

·         TFW Online Web Service

Go back to the Job Analysissection for tips on completing the LMO application. LMO applications may only be prepared by an employer or an ‘authorized representative’ as disclosed to CIC using the appropriate form. See information on Immigration Consultants under Job Analysis– Variations in the process.

The level of detail in a job offer will depend on the type of occupation being filled. Highly skilled occupations covered under trade agreements require the least amount of detail. The more generic the occupation, the more detail required in the job description. The best rule of thumb is to prepare a job offer that includes all of the information required in the LMO application: the name and description of the job, the duties that will be expected, the wage being offered, the location of the work site (include all work sites if there are multiple locations), as well as the company name and contact information. Some employers have found it useful to include such information as medical coverage, benefits and other employment-related information. It is important to remember that TFWs should be treated the same as any other employee. All information related to benefits and obligations should be included in the job offer. For more information about job offers see the FAQ section.

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Players in the process



  • develop the job offer required for the completion of the LMO process
  • complete the final stages of the LMO process
  • provide the necessary documentation to the proposed TFW

Recruiters, labour organizations, construction associations

  • assist the employer to develop the job offer


  • apply for the work permit and visa where applicable

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Service Canada

Canada Border Services Agency

  • reviews all documentation and issues the work permit

Authorized representatives

·         assist the employer with completing the LMO application

·         assist the employee with completing applications for work permits and/or visas

Workers in lower skilled occupations(NOC C and D codes) need to have a formal job offer submitted with the LMO application. Employers are required to make three specific commitments to these workers: pay the worker’s return travel costs, pay their health insurance until they are covered by provincial/territorial health insurance, and assist them to find appropriate accommodation. For the latest information, check out the HRSDC websiteunder the Housing section. To assist employers looking to hire workers into NOC C and D codes, HRSDC has developed an employment contract template. This template can be used to ensure that all requirements of the program are being met. You can find the template on the HRSDC website.

Once the LMO is approved, the employer provides the LMO and the job offer to the worker. It is the worker who is responsible for applying for the work permit and visa in order to enter Canada. It is important to get the job offer to the potential employee as soon as possible. Beginning in May 2009, an LMO is valid for a six-month period only. If the worker has not made the application for a visa to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) within six months, employers must apply for a new LMO for that worker. This expiry date is simply the period in which the worker must apply for a visa. The duration of the LMO is separate from this expiry date. See the HRSDC websitefor full details.

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Entering Canada


In order for TFWs to enter Canada, they require both a written job offer and a valid LMO approval, unless the occupation is exempt from the LMO process (see the section on Job Analysisfor a description of exempt occupations).

Workers may also require a visa in order to enter the country, as determined by CIC. It is important to note that the temporary worker is responsible for a visa, not the employer. (See the FAQ sectionfor more information on visas and responsibilities.) Workers apply for their visa through CIC visa offices abroad. Countries that require visas are listed on the CIC website. As of 2013, certain foreign nationals seeking visas to enter Canada will be required to provide fingerprints and have their photo taken as part of their application. For more information, visit the CIC website page on biometrics

Typically, the immigration officer who reviews the visa application will also provide an “opinion on the worker’s admissibility,” related to their health, criminal and security background. It is important to remember that the Canadian Border Services agents are security specialists and not immigration experts. When a recommendation from an immigration officer accompanies the worker at the border, the agents are better able to determine admissibility.

Once the foreign worker has all of the necessary documentation in hand – visa (if required), job offer, approved LMO, opinion on admissibility from the immigration officer – they can go to any port of entry to get their work permit. At the port of entry, a border control officer will determine eligibility into the country. This primarily centres on security issues. However, the worker will need to demonstrate that they meet all of the job requirements and training set out in the LMO, or they will not be issued a work permit.

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Variations in the process

Job Offer Chart

LMOs – Processing times for LMOs can vary from province to province. Longer wait times can be expected where TFWs are more frequently used as a part of the labour force (BC, Alberta, and Ontario).

Employers and authorized representatives will be able to apply for, and track progress on, LMOs online through a new TFW Web Service. For information about the TFW Web Service visit the HRSDC website.

Note: Concurrent applications for LMOs and new work visas are no longer accepted. Workers outside of Canada must have a copy of the positive LMO before they can apply for a visa.

In Quebec, in addition to the LMO application that must be submitted by the employer, the worker must submit an application for a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (QAC) from the Ministère de l’immigration et communautés culturelles (MICC). There is a cost associated with the QAC, which can be paid by either the worker or the employer. A joint HRSDC/MICC letter is sent to the employer, who then sends it to the proposed worker for submission to CIC. To find out more about this process, see the Ministère de l'immigration et communautés culturelles (MICC) website. (Note: This information is available in French only.)

The Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada have developed a process to simplify the offers of employment to workers from 44 professions. To learn more about this process, see the Ministère de l’immigration et communautés culturelles (MICC) website.  (Note: This information is available in French only.)

Visas– As mentioned above, workers from some countries are exempt from the visa process. For those workers who require visas, there can be a vast difference in wait times depending on the location of the visa office – anywhere from less than one week to more than a month. Current wait times at different visa offices can be verified on the CIC website. Visa wait times should be a part of any HR planning.

Concurrent applications– As noted above, new work visa applications must have the approved LMO prior to the application being processed. 

However, in order to reduce the lag time between the approval processes for renewals of LMOs and visas, CIC allows for temporary foreign workers already in Canada to apply for their visa extensions at the same time that Service Canada is reviewing the LMO renewal. 

Note to employers: The temporary foreign worker does not require a visa renewal to stay in Canada. However, if the worker has to leave the country at some point (e.g., a death in the family) and their visa has expired, they will need to apply for a new visa outside of Canada and wait for the processing before returning. While this is the responsibility of the employee, you may wish to support your TFWs to ensure that all documentation is kept up to date, including their work visas. Applications for work visas from within Canada are routed through the Inland Processing Office of CIC (Vegreville and Ottawa)and require proof of a valid job offer and the employer’s application for an LMO.


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Job offer checklist

Task to be completed

  • Identify the type of job offer required – formal or informal.


  • Develop the job offer and provide it to Service Canada.


  • Complete the LMO application or provide the worker-specific information where there is an unnamed LMO.


  • You receive a positive LMO.


  • The worker is provided with the LMO and the job offer.


  • The need for a visa has been identified.


  • The worker applies for a visa, if necessary.


  • The CIC visa office issues a visa and opinion on admissibility.


  • The worker comes to Canada and brings all their documentation.


  • The border patrol agent issues a work permit.


Move to next section: Orientation and Integration

1  HRToolkit: Getting the Right People – Do the Paperwork. Retrieved from  July 10, 2013


This page last updated July 2013.