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Canadian Government Revamps the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

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With the government’s focus on “Canadians First” for Canadian jobs, the requirements to hire temporary foreign workers were revamped to make the hiring of foreign workers, and in particular low skilled / low wage foreign workers, more difficult for employers.

For employers that utitlize labour market opinions (now known as labour market impact assessmentsLMIA), one of the biggest changes is the increased application fee that is now $1000 per position (up from $275) with the potential of an additional $100 “privilege fee” to be added. For those employers wishing to employ “high skilled / high wage” foreign workers, a Transition Plan will need to be submitted with LMIA applications. For those employers wishing to hire “low skilled/ low wage” foreign workers, the ability to hire foreign workers will be tied to the unemployment rate in the region they wish to hire the foreign workers and there will be caps placed on the number of such applications an employer can request. The duration of LMIAs issued for such workers in Canada will also decrease to one year increments.

For employers that utilize the LMIA exempt work permit categories (now known as International Mobility Program) including work permits under international agreements such as NAFTA or GATS, there will be additional application fees that will take effect in the summer of 2015. These include the Employer Compliance fee of $230 for employer specific work permits and $100 privilege fee for open work permits. There will also be a requirement for employers to submit these job offers directly to Citizienship and Immigration Canada (CIC), however, the logistics of this requirement are still not known for those foreign workers eligible to apply at the port of entry. The provincial agreements with the Canadian government which have allowed for specific positions in certain provinces to be LMIA exempt will also be phased out and/or reassessed early next year.

The government will ensure employer compliance to the foreign worker programs with frequent audits and investigations by Service Canada (ESDC), CIC and Canada Border Services Agency and the government will heavily sanction employers found to be abusing the system.

Although more specific details will be provided in the coming weeks on the practical implications of the programs, a detailed summary of the changes can be found on the Government of Canada’s website at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=859859&_ga=1.156784699.1455899918.1369168661

Stay tuned for more details to come…

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