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LMIA Exempt Work Permit Applications – New Procedure

Effective February 21, 2015, there will be changes to the work permit application process for categories that are currently exempt from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and employer specific. The changes follow amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations focused on employer compliance in the employment of foreign workers.

As a result of the regulatory amendments, most work permit applications will now require a 2 step process:

Step 1. Either an LMIA application to Service Canada OR a new procedure involving an application form to be submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for LMIA exempt categories (Form IMM 5802 – Offer of Employment to a Labour Market Impact Assessment Exempt Foreign National) with an additional $230 employer compliance fee.

Step 2. Work permit application.

This new procedure is applicable to all LMIA exempt work permits that are employer specific including work permit extension applications, visa office applications, port of entry applications. The new procedure will apply to most LMIA exempt work permit applications including work permits under NAFTA, intra-company transfers, PNPs, signficant benefit, etc. (Note: step 1 is not required for open work permit applicants, however, open work permits will be subject to an additional $100 privilege fee).

The new IMM 5802 Form and online fee payment (through their current CIC online fee payment site) will be available on Wednesday, February 18, 2015. The new form will require general corporate information about the employer (including contact information), the terms of the offer, information supporting the LMIA exemption and an attestation by the employer on the terms of the offer of employment.

Third party representatives will be able to submit the IMM 5802 Form for employers as long as the employer contact has signed a Use of Rep form (IMM 5476). The process requires that the IMM 5802 be completed by employers and submitted with the $230 payment to CIC.

Once the IMM 5802 Form is submitted to CIC, a confirmation will be generated by CIC. This confirmation along with a copy of the IMM 5802 Form and the $230 fee payment must be provided to the foreign worker to make an application for a work permit (i.e. at the visa office, online or at POE etc.)

There is not an advance “adjudication process” for the IMM 5802 Form before the work permit application is processed. For example, although proof that the IMM 5802 Form was submitted is required for an applicant to apply for a work permit at the POE, it was indicated that this could be done 5 minutes prior to arriving at the port of entry, as long as the applicant had a copy of the submitted IMM 5802 Form and payment confirmation with their work permit application.

There will also be a process for receiving a refund of the $230 employer compliance fee (and $100 privilege fee) if a work permit application is refused

More information will be posted by CIC this week and the link to the CIC site can be found at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/tools/temp/work/admissibility/specific.asp

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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LMIA Exempt Work Permit Applications – New Procedure

Canadian Government Revamps the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

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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Canadian Government Revamps the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

You May Not Be That Specialized – New guidelines for assessing Intra-company Transfer – Specialized Knowledge work permits

On June 9, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced expanded guidelines for immigration and border service officers to follow when assessing work permit applications under the intra-company transfer – specialized knowledge category.  What’s Different?

  • Changes in interpreting what qualifies as “specialized knowledge”
  • Minimum wage requirement as set by Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC)

Specialized knowledge means that applicants must have both a high degree of proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise. This includes abilities that are unusual and uncommon in the industry and within the company, knowledge and skills that are difficult to transfer to another person but are required by the Canadian business, expertise that would be difficult to recruit for in the Canadian labour market and knowledge that only a small percentage of the company’s employees would hold.

To find the minimum mandatory wages please go to ESDC’s www.workingincanada.gc.ca site where low, median and high wages are listed for occupations using the Canadian National Occupation Classification (NOC). The mandatory minimum wages to be paid to intra-company transfers – specialized knowledge workers will be the median wages listed for each NOC occupation on this site. Please note that although the mandatory minimum wages do not apply to those applicants under NAFTA or other Free Trade Agreements with Canada, wages will be a factor that is considered by officers, as wages paid can be an important factor when assessing the expertise of a specialized knowledge worker.

Please note that the changes are effective immediately. CIC’s full Operational Bulletin can be found at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2014/ob575.asp

As more pressure is placed on Canadian employers to look to the Canadian labour market before hiring foreign workers, we anticipate greater scrutiny and further changes to the temporary foreign worker program in the coming months.

 

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You May Not Be That Specialized – New guidelines for assessing Intra-company Transfer – Specialized Knowledge work permits

Canadian Citizenship – proposed changes

The Canadian government has tabled proposed amendments to Citizenship Act which focuses on “strengthen the value of Canadian Citizenship.” The main changes for applicants include:

1. Increase in the amount of time required for permanent residents to live in Canada (physical presence) – 4 out of 6 years to qualify
2. Proof of language proficiency in English or French will be required for all applicants who are 14 to 64 years of age
3. Effective immediately, increase in the application fee to $300 plus a Right of Citizenship Fee of $100 for applicants over the age of 18 and $100 for applicants 18 and under

Processing times are anticipated to be reduced significantly by 2015 as a result of the amendments.

For further details on all of the proposed changes see Strengthening and Modernizing the Citizenship Act.

 

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Canadian Citizenship – proposed changes

Just in time for Valentines Day ….

The “Expression of Interest” immigration program will launch in 2015 where Canadian employers will pick potential immigrants to Canada from a pool of qualified skilled foreign candidates. We can only hope that the success rate of “matches” through this program hosted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be higher than online dating.

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Just in time for Valentines Day ….