As of December 14, 2018 the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) has implemented a document checklist for work permit applications in the Pacific Highway District. It applies to Douglas, Pacific Highway, Boundary Bay, Aldergrove and Abbotsford-Huntingdon.
The checklists, which do not yet appear on the CBSA website, are below.Read more ›
I was recently provided with Access to Information Act results that an immigration consultant obtained which lists for 2016, 2017 and Jan – Aug 2018 the number of applications finalized, the approval rate, and the processing time, for the following applications from every IRCC office:
- Temporary Resident Visa
- Study Permit
- Work Permit
- Electronic Travel Authorisation
The results can be found in the embedded PDF below.Read more ›
Since July 4, 2012, Minister Instructions have been in place that prohibit temporary foreign workers in Canada from working in a business that is in a sector where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation of some workers. The Ministerial Instructions define the business sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation as being strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours.
When receiving applications for work permits made by foreign nationals seeking to work in a business that is in a sector where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation, officers will not process the applications.
As well, all work permits advise temporary foreign workers of the restriction, as they typically state “not valid for employment in businesses related to the sex trade such as strip clubs, massage parlours or escort services.
Employment and Social Development Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program WIKI provides the following additional guidance.
Sex Industry: An employer that engages in striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massage on a regular basis (eg. daily, weekly or monthly).
- Striptease and erotic dance: activities involving nudity. A business that engages in activities without nudity that may be interpreted as sexually suggestive (e.g. modelling) is not considered to be an employer offering striptease or erotic dance.
- Escort Services: The provision of services that are sexual in nature or for romantic companionship.
- Erotic Massage: The provision of massage services that are sexual in nature. This does not include massage activities undertaken for therapeutic reasons (e.g. performed by Registered Massage Therapists).
- An LMIA application received from an employer that hosts weekly strip dance shows should not be processed.
On June 12, 2017 Canada’s Department of Employment and Social Development introduced the Global Talent Stream.
Employers are eligible for the Global Talent Stream if they are hiring unique and specialized talent and if that talent has bent referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of ESDC’s designated partners. The list of designated referral partners for the Global Talent Stream includes the following organizations (as of March 21, 2018):
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
- BC Tech Association
- Business Development Bank of Canada
- Canadian Economic Development for Quebec Regions
- City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Office
- Communitech Corporation
- Council of Canadian Innovators
- Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
- Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service
- Government of Alberta, Alberta Labour
- Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
- Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Education and Training
- Government of Prince Edward Island, Island Investment Development Inc.
- Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of the Economy
- Halifax Regional Business and Community Economic Development Association
- ICT Association of Manitoba (ICTAM)
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – Accelerated Growth Service
- Invest Ottawa
- London Economic Development Corporation
- MaRS Discovery District
- National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
- Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
- Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth
- Privy Council Office, Special Projects Team
- Vancouver Economic Commission
- Venn Innovation
Employers are also be eligible if they are seeking to hire foreign workers in highly skilled occupations in the technology professions, including computer engineers, information systems analysts,Read more ›
Section 9.4 of Annex B of the Canada – British Columbia Immigration Agreement 2015 provides that “if Canada or B.C. determines that there is a real and substantial risk to a foreign worker as a result of an employer not complying with federal or provincial laws, Canada and B.C. will jointly undertake actions to mitigate such risk, including, where appropriate, issuing a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) through the priority Labour Market Impact Assessment process, or issuing a new work permit without the need for an LMIA provided that the Foreign Worker meets all other requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “IRPR”).
On May 4, 2018 the Government of Canada announced how it will apply the LMIA exemption to foreign workers who are at risk as a result of potential employer non-compliance in British Columbia. The policy will be in force until April 7, 2020. The measures are available to all foreign nationals in B.C. who hold an employer-specific work permit for an employer located in B.C. or who are authorized to work without a work permit.
Under the policy, visa officers may consider issuing a work permit if they have reason to suspect potential employer non-compliance with provincial laws or reason to suspect potential employer non-compliance with federal laws.
According to the IRCC website, examples of employer non-compliance with a provincial law may include but are not limited to the following:
- employer non-compliance with the Employment Standards Act by charging job placement and recruitment fees or by repeatedly not paying wages owed to the foreign worker; and
- employer violation of the Occupation Health and Safety Regulations whereby the employer is failing to provide a safe work environment, which creates undue hazards to the health and safety of the foreign worker or fails to correct unsafe working conditions.
I recently received a call from a French citizen who was frustrated because they were continuously unsuccessful in the Young Professionals lottery. There was no need for them to be in the lottery, as they would have qualified for Mobilité francophone.
As previously explained on my blog here, IRCC has a work permit program specifically designed for Francophones who want to work in a skilled position outside of Quebec. As the Young Professionals Program requires a skilled offer of employment, as long as the French person had a job offer outside of Quebec they would qualify for Mobilité francophone.
Here are three basic things to note about Mobilite Francophone.
To qualify for the LMIA exemption, applicants must:
- apply at a visa office outside Canada;
- be going to work in an occupation which falls under National Occupation Classification 0, A or B;
- have French as his/her habitual language; and
- be destined to a province other than Quebec.
On July 31, 2018 Canada is imposing new biometric requirements on individuals wishing to visit Canada.
Biometrics refers to the taking of fingerprints and a photograph.
Biometrics collection is being expanded to include all persons (with certain exemptions) applying for temporary or permanent residence, including all those applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa or status, work permit, study permit, or temporary resident permit.
The Government of Canada is also introducing systematic fingerprint verification for all biometrically enrolled travellers at Canada’s major airports and expand fingerprint verification capacity at additional ports of entry.
Finally, Canada will enhance biometric information sharing between Canada and the United States and introduce biometric information sharing with other the Migration 5 partners, which are Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The change is part of a worldwide trend. More than 70 countries worldwide have implemented or are planning to implement biometrics in their immigration and border programs, including allies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union.
Who is Required to Provide Biometrics
Since 2013, citizens of 29 visa-required countries and one territory have been required to provide biometrics. Biometrics have also been collected from overseas refugee resettlement applicants since late 2014.
As of July 31, 2018, subject to certain exceptions, all persons applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa or status, work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit, or refugee protection, whether claimed inside or outside Canada, must provide biometrics.
There are numerous exceptions.
First, Americans are exempted.
Second, a person who is eligible to apply for an electronic travel authorization (an “eTA”), rather than a temporary resident visa, is not required to provide their biometrics if they are travelling to Canada as a tourist.Read more ›
A Canadian business is employing a foreign worker. They want to promote them or give them a raise. What could be wrong with that?
Quite a few things, as it turns out. There are certain immigration requirements that all employers and foreign worker employees should know before a promotion or raise.
Employer compliance in temporary worker program
For the employer, the risk of a promotion or raise is that it could run them afoul of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and/or the International Mobility Program. Unless the foreign worker is on an open work permit that contains no restrictions of employment, all employers need to abide by the information that they provided to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as part of the work permit process.
In cases where an employer has promoted the foreign worker or otherwise changed their duties, the foreign worker must receive a new work permit before the change is implemented. While the IRCC website specifically cites the examples of a manager being promoted to a director and a technician being promoted to an engineer, all promotions require a new work permit if the promotion results in the employee’s National Occupational Classification code changing.
Whether a raise will require a new work permit will depend on the work permit program used to hire the foreign worker. If the work permit was the result of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment, then a raise will typically require a new LMIA, although there are ways around this. If the foreign worker was hired through an LMIA exemption, then an increase in wages will not result in the employer being non-compliant unless the new wage indicates a change in duties.
Promoting temporary workers and the impact on immigration
Promotions,Read more ›
All employers of temporary foreign workers in Canada need to understand how the employer compliance regime works. Both Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) as well as the Department of Employment and Social Development (“ESDC”) regularly audit and inspect the employers of foreign workers to make sure that they are complying with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and/or the International Mobility Program (which are the two main programs through which foreign nationals can work in Canada). Both ESDC and IRCC have indicated that about 25% of employers can expect an inspection in any given year.
Most of these inspections and audits start with the employer receiving a letter from the Government of Canada informing them that they will be examined on a multitude of factors, including whether they have employed the foreign national in the job that they were supposed to, whether they paid the wages that they were supposed to, whether the employer complied with laws regulating employment, whether they maintained records and whether they took reasonable efforts to provide a workplace that was free of abuse.
I have embedded below the standard employer compliance letter that is sent out at the start of an audit.
There are several consequences to Canadian employers of non-compliance with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and/or the International Mobility Program, including possible fines and prohibitions on hiring foreign workers. The fines can range from a few hundred dollars to up to a maximum of $1,000,000.00 in a calendar year. The bans can range from a few months to a permanent ban.
The Government of Canada maintains what is commonly called an Employer Blacklist on its website. The Employer Blacklist provides a good example of the types of fines and prohibitions that employers who have been found to be non-compliant can expect.Read more ›
As an increasing number of Canadian employers employ foreign workers, and the Government of Canada is taking an increasingly strict approach in enforcing the rules regulating the employment of foreign workers, the issue of how companies can protect themselves when they buy companies that employ foreign workers is becoming increasingly significant.
As well, as explained in detail on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) website, corporate restructurings, mergers and acquisitions may themselves trigger work permit-related issues for employer compliance.
It is accordingly important for all companies that are considering merging with or acquiring another company to consider whether (a) the transaction will result in the need for new work permits for existing employees and (b) whether the company that will be employing these foreign workers will become liable for any non-compliance of the previous entity.
Understanding the “Successor in Interest” Concept
While the IRCC website is clear that employers become responsible for compliance post restructuring, merger or acquisition, the issue of whether the new employers become liable for previous non-compliance is more nuanced, and depends on whether the new employer has become the “successor in interest” for the portion of the organization where the temporary foreign workers were employed.
A “successor in interest” occurs where the new company or the purchaser substantially assumes the interests and obligations, assets and liabilities of the original owner and continue to operate the same types of business as the original owner. There is no fixed definition of what “substantially assumes” entails, but companies should consider whether the new entity post restructuring, merger or acquisition has assumed the current assets, long term investments, property, human resources, patents, accounts payable, current liabilities, long-term liabilities, and continued employment of employees.
If the take-over organization is a successor in interest in that it has substantially assumed the interests,Read more ›
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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