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It is illegal to charge a prospective foreign worker a fee for a job
Posted on - Mar 23, 2021

By Victor Ing

Victor Ing

Working in Canada has long been one of the most reliable pathways to qualify for Canadian permanent residency. Canada’s economic immigration programs favour candidates who have earned Canadian work experience, particularly those with coveted job offers from Canadian employers, because they have shown that they have skills and experience that are needed in Canada and can therefore successfully establish themselves and their family members.

As a result, there is a strong demand from those interested in Canadian permanent residency to look for jobs in Canada as the first step towards reaching their immigration goals. For those who are job hunting in Canada, you can protect yourself from unscrupulous agents or individuals by learning some basic rules about recruitment and learning to ask the right questions about the process.

The most important thing to know about job hunting in Canada is that it is illegal to charge a prospective foreign worker a fee for a job. Selling job offers is not only unlawful but, in my experience as a Vancouver immigration lawyer, often leads to other forms of exploitation such as where foreign workers have their job conditions changed suddenly and unilaterally.

Many job hunters will seek the assistance of a recruiter. If you are looking for a job in Canada with the help of a recruiter, ensure that you are working with a reputable one. In British Columbia, for example, recruiters are required by law to be licensed with the BC government if they provide recruitment services for more than one employer. They are also required to keep detailed records of who they have provided services to and whether they work with third parties to deliver their services, which ensures there is full transparency about who is involved in the recruitment process and how each party works with one another.

Be on the lookout for recruiters who wear different hats. For instance, some recruiters may offer recruitment services to an employer while also offering immigration consulting services directly to a worker too. Do not be afraid to ask questions about the recruiter’s role in such circumstances where they represent both the employer and the prospective foreign worker’s interests.

Furthermore, job hunters should be cautious about employers and recruiters who promise too much. No person can ever guarantee that you will be issued a work permit just because a job has been found for you. Immigration officers have significant discretion to determine whether a person has the necessary skills and experience to successfully do the job in Canada and to refuse an application on these grounds.

In this regard, prospective workers should ensure that they possess the necessary qualifications before accepting a job offer and should not feel pressured to misrepresent what their qualifications are in order to successfully obtain a Canadian work permit. Misrepresenting your employment history or other qualifications will lead not only to the refusal of your work permit, but also a five-year ban from applying again in the future. For more information on the dangers of misrepresentation, please refer to our previous blog on the subject: https://canadian-visa-lawyer.com/the-perilous-nature-of-misrepresentation/

Finally, job hunters should know that when applying for a Canadian work permit, immigration officers can and often do ask for more information about the job offer itself and how the offer was made to the applicant, including information directly from the Canadian employer to determine if the job offer is genuine. Common reasons why the genuineness of a job offer may be questioned include situations where the employer has hired many foreign workers in the past, where their operations do not appear to be large enough to support the hiring of additional workers, or where there is very little publicly available information that can be found online about the employer.

As a Canadian immigration lawyer, I know that the opportunity of working in Canada can be a life changing experience. However, as the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is, and job hunters should be satisfied that the people they are working with are reputable and that the job offers they are receiving are genuine.


Victor Ing is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada, and provides a full range of immigration services.


To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Victor Ing or call him at 1-604-689-5444.

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