Hire internationally trained workers

Last updated: November 16, 2023

Many employers want to hire local workers, but despite efforts to recruit locally, have trouble filling vacancies. If this is your experience, it may be time to broaden your search.

Learn more about how to recruit and hire internationally trained workers (ITWs). ITWs include immigrants, refugees, international students, and Canadians who trained or worked outside of the country.

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Consider the advantages of hiring internationally trained workers:
  • Fill vacancies with qualified people. Many ITWs have the skills and talents to help your business.
  • Increase effectiveness. ITWs can give you a new perspective. They can bring fresh ways of thinking and problem solving.
  • Increase the reach of your business. Many ITWs have international experience in their field, bring cultural richness and speak languages other than English. This experience can help your business connect with new markets, customers, and prospective employees.
Who can work in Canada:
  • All permanent residents
  • Work permit holders
  • Some international students

Hiring workers who are in B.C.

First, look for workers here in British Columbia. Canadian citizens, immigrants, refugees, international students, and temporary foreign workers may be here and looking for work.

Hiring workers who are overseas

Hiring workers from overseas and helping them immigrate to Canada through one of several federal or provincial/territorial immigration programs can be complex and time-consuming. Review the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website to get information about the different immigration programs, processes, and timelines. The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IECBC) offers employer tools and resources to help you hire workers overseas, as well as immigrants already in B.C.

Checking resumes and credentials

Ask job candidates to provide contact information so that you can get in touch with educational institutions, former employers, and references. Certificates, diplomas and degrees from other countries may be the equivalent of Canadian educational credentials. 

Use these resources to evaluate resumes and credentials from another country:


Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot

The Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) provides an economic immigration pathway for skilled refugees. Partners include IRCC, the Province of B.C. (BC PNP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and designated non-government organization partners (NGOs).

IRCC’s role

IRCC will continue intake of EMPP applications under economic immigration pathways. IRCC is also responsible for operational oversight and policy direction of the EMPP.

The BC PNP’s role

B.C. processes registrations and applications from EMPP candidates who have the skills and experience to qualify.
As of Nov. 16, 2022, eligibility for EMPP has expanded to include permanent full-time job offers in a skilled occupation outside the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD). The Province will initially target up to 50 EMPP skilled refugees who meet the program criteria and who are referred to the BC PNP by a designated NGO partner.

The role of designated NGO partners

Designated NGO partners will assist in identifying candidates abroad with in-demand skills and qualifications, and will facilitate a match with local opportunities. They also provide the preparation and submission of immigration applications for EMPP candidates.

Designated NGO partners can help employers find skilled refugee candidates abroad who meet the EMPP eligibility requirements. They match those candidates with the skills and qualifications for specific job vacancies. They also help with the preparation and submission of immigration applications for EMPP candidates.

If you are a B.C. employer interested in learning more about the EMPP, please contact the BC PNP at PNPConcierge@gov.bc.ca. Program staff will refer you to a designated NGO partner who will work directly with you to help you find a skilled refugee:


To be eligible for EMPP, workers must: Workers who meet the criteria above can submit a registration to the Skilled Worker stream.

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Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages. Before you can hire a temporary worker for a Canadian job, in most cases you must apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA will determine whether any Canadian workers are available to do the job. Find out if you need a Labour Market Impact Assessment and how to get one.

Employers who hire temporary foreign workers in B.C. are required by law to register with the provincial government. Find out more about employer registration requirements.

Find out more about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

International Mobility Program

The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
In most cases, to hire a temporary worker through the IMP, you must pay a fee and submit an offer of employment form through the employer portal. Certain employers are exempt, as are temporary workers in Canada who have an open work permit.
Various conditions may apply. Get more information about hiring a temporary worker through the International Mobility Program

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