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Temporary Foreign Workers

What Employers should Know About When Hiring A Temporary Foreign Worker

Are you a Canadian employer thinking of hiring temporary foreign workers? Have you tried finding qualified Canadian workers without success? If you answered yes to both questions, under Canadian immigration law, you may need to apply for a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

Work permit applications are divided between two categories: (1) those that are exempted from the requirement to obtain a labour market impact assessment by operation of law or an existing Free Trade Agreement; and (2) those that require for an employer to obtain a positive or neutral labour market assessment.

Our discussion will be centered around work permit applications that require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). For more information on LMIAs and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

1) What is an Labour Market Impact Assessment?

An Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document showing that an employer made reasonable efforts to find a qualified Canadian or Canadian permanent resident to do the job. If a positive or neutral LMIA is issued to an employer, it allows for the qualified foreign worker to make an application for a work permit to authorize them to work for (a) the specified employer; (b) in the specified occupation; and (c) in the specified location.  Some applicants, in addition to a work permit, require to submit to a temporary resident visa and biometrics in order for them to travel to Canada to work for an employer.

2) What is the Purpose of an LMIA?

A positive or neutral LMIA is often required prior to hiring temporary foreign workers. Additionally, it can be important for foreign workers hoping to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Under the current Express Entry System, each person is ranked according to the points they score. (Points are awarded based on factors such as age, level of education, and language abilities). Only individuals who collect the most points are invited to apply for permanent residence. Foreign workers who obtain a LMIA based job offer are awarded a sum of points that improves their chances of getting an invitation to submit an application for permanent residence in Canada through the Express Entry Program.

3) How Do I Get a Positive Decisions On An LMIA Application?

The process of getting a positive LMIA is very complex, which can be intimidating for many employers. On April 29, 2016, the Canadian government made big changes to the TFWP program and brought in new requirements for employers wishing to hire foreign workers. Now, employers must do more to recruit Canadian workers targeting those who are under-represented in the workforce such as newcomers, the disabled, women and youth. Here is a breakdown of the things you should know about getting a positive LMIA.

4) What Are The New Job Restriction Categories?

In 2017, the government announced 29 high-skilled job categories that Alberta employers at not allowed to hire temporary foreign workers for. Instead, employers will be directed to the Employer Liaison Service, a two-year pilot program, that connects them with unemployed qualified Albertans. These jobs include engineers, machinists, welders and plumbers. For the full list of high-skilled jobs.

5) What Rules Do I have To Follow to Get My LMIA Approved?

To find out which TFWP rules you need to follow, employers must look at the wage amount and the location of the position. As of April 29, 2016, Alberta’s median hourly wage is $25.38. If the job’s wage is below the provincial/territorial median hourly wage, you must follow the low-wage position requirements. If the wage is at or above the provincial/territorial median hourly wage, you must follow the high-wage position requirements.

High Wage Positions

If you are paying a foreign worker a high wage for a job, you must file a “Transition Plan” which outlines steps that you are planning to take to reduce your company’s reliance on hiring temporary foreign workers to fill job positions in the future.

Low Wage Positions

If you are hiring temporary foreign workers for certain low wage positions, you may be subject to a hiring cap. This cap limits the number of low wage foreign workers you may hire for your company.

6) What Other Factors Will Impact My LMIA Application?

New changes to TFWP have made it more difficult for your LMIA to be approved. The new requirements that the government will look at include:
• If the number of foreign workers who work for your business is under the cap established by the government
• If the job position advertised and the company is genuine
• If the wages and working conditions are similar to those offered to Canadians
• If the employer have made reasonable attempts to hire or train Canadians and Canadian permanent residents for the job
• If the foreign worker hired will fill a labour shortage
• If the foreign worker’s job will help create job opportunities for Canadians or transfer new skills and knowledge to Canadians

7) How Do I Advertise the Job?

An employer must advertise the job to Canadian workers, before making a LMIA application. The job must be advertised in a specific way for at least 28 days. There are also other very specific requirements that you must include in your job advertisement such as:
• Language skills needed for the job
• Raises or bonuses offered
Failing to advertise the job according to the TFWP regulations is a very common issue that many employers face, and usually leads to the LMIA application being refused.

8) After I Get My LMIA Approved, What Kinds of Working Conditions Do I Need To Maintain?

After you getting an approved LMIA, make sure that you are following the working conditions and terms of employment that are set out in the LMIA approval. The government may order inspections, interviews and compliance reviews to make sure employers are following the rules.

9) Other Common Issues With Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers

Common issues employers face after getting an approved LMIA include failing to pay foreign nationals for overtime hours, not enough wages or hours given to employees, or hiring a temporary foreign worker in an unauthorized location or occupation.

10) What Happens If I Fail to Follow The Rules In My LMIA?

Make sure to keep detailed records to prove that you are following the rules in the approved LMIA… or else you may face serious monetary fines or even a ban from applying for LMIAs in the future!

11) Need Help With Your LMIA?

Preparing, filing, and processing your LMIA application is a complex process that requires high attention to detail at every stage of the application. Our experienced immigration team can advise you on the latest legal updates to the LMIA process, help you obtain an LMIA and advise you as to how to avoid any penalties in the future. We can help you with:
• Preparing applications and necessary supporting documents
• Advising on job advertising requirements
• Writing effective Transition Plans and records of effectiveness
• Making sure you comply with new laws regulating temporary foreign workers

Immigration Lawyer Help With Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers

Our immigration law team can help with the application process for hiring temporary foreign workers immediately. Call our no charge Canadian immigration lawyer line or email us. The quickest way to connect with us is by sending an email. Want to talk to a live person for help, call us at 1-877-225-8817 today! You can reach us in Calgary, Alberta Canada at 403-225-8810.