Your Company Just Sponsored a Canadian Work Permit. Now What?

Companies often transfer employees across their global entities or initially hire foreign nationals without fully understanding their obligations as employers. Once the work permit is approved, you might ask, “What next?” What are your obligations as a Canadian employer? Are your obligations over since the application is completed?

The answer is no. You must still meet requirements to ensure compliance as a company in case an audit request is received from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”).

This blog will provide you with an immigration onboarding checklist to ensure compliance in accordance with current immigration regulations, as well as our suggestions for best practices. This non-exhaustive list contains the most important points to note once a foreign national arrives in Canada and obtains their work permit.

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Once securing a Canadian work permit, employers should follow a checklist of next steps.


Canadian Immigration Onboarding Checklist

  1. Review a copy of their work permit and have your legal representative review it for accuracy. Ensure the details are correctly listed– name, date of birth, citizenship, employer name, occupation, location, and expiry dates – and that everything matches what was submitted in the work permit application. Review any conditions listed at the bottom of the permit and put a note to your personnel files in case anything specific is noted.
  2. Keep a copy of the work permit in your personnel files. It is recommended to put a reminder to check in with your legal representative around the six to eight-month mark prior to work permit expiry to discuss extension requirements.
  3. Issue an employment agreement with the temporary foreign worker and provide them with the signed copy on or before the first day of work for Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) based work permits or before the submission of the Offer of Employment via the Employer Portal for International Mobility Program-based work permits. A copy of the signed employment agreement should also be kept in your personnel files.
  4. Send the temporary foreign worker the most recent information about their rights pamphlet on or before the first day of work, in their chosen official language of Canada (English or French). It is recommended to keep a record of this in your personnel files, including the foreign worker’s acknowledgment of receipt of this pamphlet, as evidence that this was sent.
  5. Post the pamphlet in a common area in the workplace in both official languages of Canada. If you do not have an office, ensure it is posted in an accessible shared drive for all employees.
  6. Make sure that the foreign national understands their obligations in Canada as a work permit holder. This means adhering to the terms of their employment as submitted in their work permit application – position, duties, location, hours of work, salary, and so on. If anything should change, this should be discussed with your legal representative prior to the change taking place so that they can advise if any requirements are needed from an immigration compliance perspective prior to the change being implemented. If the foreign national was approved to work remotely, it is important to note that unless they have an “open” location on their work permit or a notation otherwise in the conditions of their work permit, they are tied to the city listed on their work permit and cannot move around Canada.
  7. Meet your obligations to the temporary foreign worker regarding their wages, working conditions and occupation, as listed in the Employer Portal submission or the approved LMIA documentation. This includes meeting the details of the job that was submitted and approved, including job duties that match the specific National Occupational Classification code, and ensuring that the salary and working conditions are not less favorable than initially approved.
  8. Ensure that your company is in active business for as long as the work permit is valid. If it is not in active business, there may be additional considerations for the foreign national to be aware of.
  9. Make sure that the workplace is free of abuse and any form of workplace retaliation for whistle-blowers. This can include creating and implementing policies for an abuse-free workplace and policies with a clear process for reporting any suspected abuse in the workplace. Partnering with local employment counsel to do this would be beneficial.
  10. Set up medical insurance and workers’ compensation benefits for when the foreign national arrives in Canada, as required by the province/territory and as listed in the offer of employment.
  11. Meet and comply with all provincial, territorial, and federal employment and recruiting laws. Again, conferring with local employment counsel would be beneficial to ensure compliance.
    As IRCC can issue an audit at any time, your company will be required to show up for any inspections to answer questions and provide any requested information, whether it is a physical audit or done online. In the audit, the company must also demonstrate that the information submitted on the offer of employment was accurate and consistent with documentary evidence.

Canadian Immigration Record-Keeping

Records regarding each foreign national employee must be kept for a minimum of six years beginning on the first day of the employment period, which is listed on the work permit, including documents related to the LMIA (if applicable), documents related to the conditions set out in the immigration regulations, and the conditions set out in the LMIA decision letter and related annexes.

Even if the worker doesn’t end up working for you or doesn’t stay for the entire length of the work permit, you are still required to keep these records, as an audit may come up at any time. In addition, employers have an obligation to inform ESDC or IRCC of any errors or changes in working conditions.


As can be gleaned above, maintaining immigration compliance is crucial. Being found non-compliant in an audit can result in serious consequences, including general fines, monetary penalties per violation, and bans from using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or International Mobility Program.

If there are any components that you would like to review to enhance your company’s Canadian immigration program and maintain compliance, please reach out to the Envoy Global Canadian immigration team to discuss further.

Daphne Wong is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and a Team Lead with Envoy’s Canadian practice. She has over a decade of corporate Canadian immigration experience in temporary and permanent immigration matters, and specializes in economic immigration and immigration compliance.

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at Corporate Immigration Partners, P.C., or another qualified professional of your choosing. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult your Envoy representative, or another qualified representative of your choosing.