FAQs for hiring employees from outside Canada

Last updated: November 30, 2018

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Resources for hiring employees from outside of Canada

When you’re hiring a candidate who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they’ll need to apply for a work permit to work in Canada. As an employer, you may need to fill out additional forms and provide supporting documentation, and your candidate may also need to complete some additional steps.

We’ve included a few of the most common questions about these requirements below. Official websites for each program are your best source of up-to-date information on requirements.

What is a NOC code?

You’ll need to include the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code on many work permit applications. The NOC system categorizes all jobs in Canada into generic categories. The NOC code database contains typical job duties, job titles and job requirements for each occupation. This database is typically updated every five years and is used for classifying occupations for immigration purposes.

What are prevailing wages?

Many work permits specify that you cannot pay the foreign worker above the prevailing wage. Using salary data collected from a variety of industry sources and its own databases, Employment and Social Development Canada maintains a database of wages for each generic occupation (based on the NOC code system). These wages are organized by province and region within the province.

The Prevailing Wage database is searchable by NOC code. You will need this information if you are applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment, as the salary offered must be at the median prevailing wage or higher for the role and job location.

How long will it take for the candidate to be issued a work permit?

Work permit applications submitted at a Canadian consulate in the employee’s home country have varying processing times. Estimated processing times can be found here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/.

Is a medical exam required before a work permit is issued?

Employees who work directly with children (or the disabled and elderly) must pass a medical exam before a work permit will be issued.

The medical exam is administered by a Panel Physician, a doctor approved by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. These physicians are located in most countries of the world. You can find an approved physician from this searchable list: http://www.cic.gc.ca/pp-md/pp-list.aspx.


  1. The employee makes an appointment with a Panel Physician and lets them know they are applying for a work permit for Canada.
  2. The physician conducts the medical exam and sends results to the Immigration Medical Officer for review.
  3. The Medical Officer will post their decision in the internal immigration database. If the employee has passed the exam, the work permit is issued without the restriction of being unable to work with vulnerable groups.