Nova Scotia Foreign Worker Program Exemptions

 

There are exemptions from the foreign worker rules under the Labour Standards Code. See the sections below for details.

 

 

Federally regulated companies do not fall under the provincial Labour Standards Code. Employers and recruiters who are recruting workers for a federally regulated business are under federal jurisdiction.

 

Foreign Worker Definition Exemptions

There are three categories of exemptions to the definition of foreign worker under the Code.

1. International Students

International students who are permitted by the Government of Canada to:

  • work in co-op placements, internships and practicums (i.e., work integrated and experiential learning programs)
  • work on campus (applies to students of designated universities)
  • work off campus (applies to students of designated universities)

and

  • have a valid study permit to pursue full-time post-secondary studies in Canada and are in good academic standing

are not foreign workers under the Labour Standards Code because their primary purpose for being in the country is to study, not for employment.

Note: International students who are permitted to remain in Canada after they graduate to gain Canadian work experience are considered foreign workers under the Code as their primary purpose for being in Canada is no longer to study.


2. Specialized Service Providers

Individuals employed by a foreign business who are brought to the province for short periods of time to provide a specialized service to a Nova Scotia business are not foreign workers. Their primary purpose for being in the country is to perform work on behalf of their foreign employer; they are not recruited for employment in Nova Scotia. 

For example, employees who work in Nova Scotia once a year for a two-week period to service equipment leased by their German employer to a Nova Scotia business do not fall under the definition of foreign worker.

Note: Please contact Labour Standards if Service Canada requires an exemption letter for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process.


3. Independent Contractors

Individuals who are recruited from other countries to perform work in Nova Scotia as independent contractors are not foreign workers because they are not recruited for employment in Nova Scotia. 

For example, an equestrian trainer in Spain who is hired to provide horse riding clinics in Nova Scotia over a two-month period would not fall under the definition of foreign worker.

Note: Please contact Labour Standards if Service Canada requires an exemption letter for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process.

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Recruiter Licence Exemptions

In general, recruiters involved in the recruitment of foreign workers for employment in Nova Scotia must be licensed with the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Division.  Some recruiters are exempt from this requirement.  Recruiters who do not need to be licensed include:

 

Examples of government reporting entities include provincial government departments, Capital District Health Authority (hospitals), Nova Scotia Community College and school boards.

 

Examples of jobs that fall under NOC Code 0 include:  senior management jobs, legislators, managers in health care, corporate sales managers and managers in financial and business services.

Examples of jobs that fall under NOC Code A include: accountants, physicians, dentists, chiropractors, pharmacists, university professors, lawyers, judges, professional occupations in art and culture, creative performing artists (e.g., actors).

 

Important note:  

If you are recruiting foreign workers for one of the organizations or types of jobs listed above and are also recruiting foreign workers for organizations or jobs that do not fall within the exemptions, you must be licensed

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Employer Registration Exemptions

Most employers who wish to recruit and hire foreign workers for employment in Nova Scotia must obtain a Foreign Worker Employer Registration Certificate from the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Division.  Some employers are exempt from this requirement.  Employers who do not need a Foreign Worker Employer Registration Certificate include:

  • provincial government reporting entities, municipalities and universities

     

    Examples of government reporting entities include provincial government departments, Capital District Health Authority (hospitals), Nova Scotia Community College and school boards.

     

Examples of jobs that fall under NOC Code "0" include:  senior management jobs, legislators, managers in health care, corporate sales managers and managers in financial and business services.

Examples of jobs that fall under NOC Code "A" include: accountants, physicians, dentists, chiropractors, pharmacists, university professors, lawyers, judges, professional occupations in art and culture, creative performing artists (e.g., actors).

 

  • employers who hire international students who are exempt from the definition of foreign worker (see above).

 

Important note:

If you are an employer using a third party recruiter to find foreign workers and you fall under these registration exemptions, you are also exempt from the requirement to use a licensed recruiter.

Important to remember - Unless you are a government reporting entity, municipality or university, if you are an employer who is also seeking foreign workers for jobs that fall under National Occupational Classification (NOC) Codes other than “0” or “A”:

  • you must be registered, and
  • if you are using a third party recruiter to find these foreign workers, you must use a licensed recruiter

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For more information, contact Labour Standards

 

See also:

Foreign Workers - General Fact Sheet
Foreign Workers - Employer Registration Fact Sheet
Foreign Workers - Recruiter Licence Fact Sheet