The Ministry of Employment and Social Development (“ESDC”) has announced that there will be several changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”) that will take effect on April 30, 2015.
The changes are:
- Implementation of new High and Low-wage Streams
- Updating the Provincial / Territorial Median Hourly Wages
- Increasing Worker Protections
- Modifying the Method for Calculating the Cap on Low Wage Positions
- Implementing the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) system fully in Quebec
- Updating Regions of Refusal to Process
On February 11, 2015, the Government of Canada publicized amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that affected most applicants in the International Mobility Program (the “IMP“).
The IMP includes all streams of work permit applications that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) process, including workers covered by free trade agreements, people participating in exchange programs like International Experience Canada (“IEC“), provincial nominees, intra-company transferees, post-graduate work permit holders, etc.
In reviewing the changes described below, it is important to understand the distinction between a closed work permit and an open work permit. A closed work permit limits a foreign worker to a particular employer. An open work permit allows the foreign worker to work for any employer.
- The changes consist of:
- Requiring that employers of prospective closed work permit holders in the IMP provide information to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) before their prospective employees apply for work permits;
- Requiring that employers of prospective closed work permit holders pay a $230.00 “employer compliance fee” per employee before their prospective employees apply for work permits; and
- Introducing a new $100.00 “privilege fee” on open work permit applicants.
The Government of Canada has announced that the above changes will all take effect on February 21, 2015.Read more ›
[UPDATE FEBRUARY 5, 2018]
The Government of Canada has very quietly announced that it is closing the Caregiver programs described below on November 29, 2019. Applicants who did not start working as caregivers prior to that date will be unable to apply under these programs.
On November 28, 2014, the Government of Canada issued Ministerial Instructions completely overhauling Canada’s caregiver immigration programs.
The changes consist of:
- Suspending the in-take of applications under the existing Live-in Caregiver Program;
- Establishing the Caring for Children Class; and
- Establishing the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class.
The above changes all take effect on November 30, 2014.Read more ›
On September 26, 2014, Canada and the European Uniona agreed to adopt the The Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA“), with the goal at the time being that the agreement will take effect in 2016. While that ultimately did not happen, on October 30, 2016, Canada and the European Union signed a final version of the agreement.
Chapter 10 of CETA provides for the facilitation of the temporary entry of business persons. The European Union’s commitments are the most ambitious that the region has ever negotiated in a free trade agreement. For Canada, the CETA’s temporary contain similar ideas to those contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA“), although there are very significant differences.
CETA is significant from a Canadian immigration perspective because prospective foreign workers who are eligible for work permits under CETA do not require Labour Market Impact Assessments (“LMIAs“).
Any Canadian businesses seeking to hire United States or Mexican nationals will typically begin by determining whether their prospective employees are eligible for work permits under NAFTA. When CETA takes affect, the same will be true for Canadian employers hiring citizens from the European Union.Read more ›
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) has a program to facilitate the ability of francophone foreign workers to enter Canada. The benefit of the program, called Moibilte Francophone, is that no Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA“) is required. This means that employers of prospective francophone foreign workers do not need to pass a labour market test in order to employ francophone foreign workers.
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.
Here are some other key things to note about the program.
1. Recruitment through a francophone immigration promotional event coordinated between the federal government and francophone minority communities is no longer required.
Previously, participation in Moibilte Francophone was restricted to prospective foreign workers recruited through government promotional events. This requirement, which the government interpreted incredibly broadly in any event, is no longer the case.
Previously, the program worked as follows:
2. Habitual French speaking abilities are required, but not for the job.
To approve the work permit application officers must be satisfied that the foreign national’s habitual language of daily use is French.
Where the officer is not satisfied the foreign national’s habitual language is French, applicants may need to attend an interview or provide language results demonstrating an advanced intermediate level or above in French. An “advanced/intermediate” level is defined as Canadian Language Benchmark 7.
Importantly, the offer of employment in Canada does not have to require French language ability. » Read more about: LMIA Exemption for Francophones »Read more ›
On September 22, 2014, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and South Korean President Park Geun-hye signed the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (“CKFTA“). Chapter 12 of the CKFTA provides for the facilitation of the temporary entry of business persons. The CKFTA Final Agreement Summary notes that South Korea’s commitments are the most ambitious the country has ever negotiated in a free trade agreement. For Canada, the CKFTA’s temporary entry provisions are pretty similar to those contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA“), although there are differences.
The CKFTA is significant from a Canadian immigration perspective because prospective foreign workers who are eligible for work permits under the CKFTA do not require Labour Market Impact Assessments (“LMIA“). Indeed, as the CKFTA Final Agreement Summary states:
When it comes to investing and providing services, there is no substitute for being on-site, where clients are located. Investors want to witness their investments, talk to their partners and get a feel for the local environment. Professionals, including architects, management consultants and engineers, need to contact clients on-site in order to fulfil contracts in the South Korean market.
Temporary-entry provisions in the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement address barriers that business persons face at the border, particularly by eliminating the need to obtain a labour market opinion and/or economic needs test. The Agreement will establish new preferential access to our respective markets and facilitate greater transparency and predictability for the movement of business persons between Canada and South Korea. The Agreement’s temporary-entry provisions complement commitments taken in the area of services, investment, goods and government procurement.
Any Canadian businesses seeking to hire United States or Mexican nationals will typically begin by determining whether their prospective employees are eligible for work permits under NAFTA,Read more ›
Employers wishing to apply for Labour Market Impact Assessments are required to conduct recruitment efforts to hire Canadian citizens and permanent residents. The Ministry of Economic and Social Development (“ESDC” or “Service Canada“) is very stringent in its recruitment requirements, many of which are not publicly available. In this blog post I seek to provide a comprehensive overview of Service Canada’s recruitment requirements, including providing a summary of the publicly available information on the Service Canada website, as well as summarizing and reproducing internal ESDC directives.
I would like to thank Jacobus Kriek, an immigration consultant with Matrixvisa Inc., for providing me copies of the internal Service Canada directives and e-mails that he has obtained.
Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice by ESDC or Service Canada. The reproduction of the material below has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada. As well, given the nature of relying on internal documents, some of the information may be out of date.Read more ›
If a visitor, worker, or student loses their status in Canada they may apply to restore their status. Such applications are referred to as “restoration applications.” Section 182 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that:
182. On application made by a visitor, worker or student within 90 days after losing temporary resident status as a result of failing to comply with a condition imposed under paragraph 185(a), any of subparagraphs 185(b)(i) to (iii) or paragraph 185(c), an officer shall restore that status if, following an examination, it is established that the visitor, worker or student meets the initial requirements for their stay, has not failed to comply with any other conditions imposed and is not the subject of a declaration made under subsection 22.1(1) of the Act.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Guidelines (the “Guidelines“) provide that if an applicant applies to extend their temporary resident status after their temporary resident status expires, but within the 90-day restoration period, then the Case Processing Centre – Edmonton will inform them that they must also apply for restoration of status. The applicant will be given 90 days from the date of notification to submit their restoration application. This is an important point to note, as many people mistakenly assume that the 90-day restoration period only starts when a person’s work permit, visitor record, or study permit expires. Rather, it is when their temporary resident status expires, which includes implied status. Pursuant to the Federal Court of Canada decision in Shekhtman v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), IRCC must show that it must actually sent the decision.
The Guidelines also provides that restoration cannot be granted at Canadian ports of entry.
As can be seen in the tables below,Read more ›
On June 20, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) and the Ministry of Economic and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) announced significant reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”). The changes will affect all employers of Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFWs”) in Canada. Many of the changes take effect immediately, with the remainder being phased in over the next year in a half.
The reforms are comprehensive, and include the following:
- Labour Market Impact Assessment Program
- New Labour Market Information Assessment (“LMIA”) Replaces the Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”)
- LMIA Application Fee of $1,000
- Guaranteed 10-Day Processing For Certain Occupations
- Dividing LMIAs into High-Wage and Low-Wage Positions
- Cap on Low-Wage TFWs for Individual Companies
- Refusing Low-Skilled LMIA Applications in Areas of High Unemployment in Some Occupations
- Reducing the Duration of Low-Wage Work Permits
- Introduction of Transition Plans for High-Wage Positions
- Stronger Enforcement and Tougher Penalties
- Increasing the Number and Scope of Inspections
- Monetary Fines for Employers Who Break the Rules
- International Mobility Programs (“IMP”)
- IMP Replacing LMO-Exempt Work Permit Program
- New Fee and Employer Compliance System
- New Privilege Fee for Open Work Permit Applicants
- Amending Provincial Annexes
- International Experience Canada Program Being Restructured
- Intra-Company Transfer Program – New Rules for Specialized Knowledge Applicants
As noted above, the Labour Market Opinion (“LMO”) program is being renamed the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”). As well, the International Mobility Program (“IMP”) is replacing work permit applications which were previously classified as LMO-exempt.
Please note that what follows below provides only a summary of the changes.
On June 9, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) published Operational Bulletin 575 – Expanded Guidelines for Officers Assessing Work Permit Applications for Intra-Company Transferees with Specialized Knowledge (“OB-575“). OB-575 introduced more stringent requirements to the Intra-Company Transferee (“ICT“) – Specialized Knowledge program. Specifically, what constitutes “specialized knowledge” is more restrictive, and most ICT – Specialized Knowledge applicants must now meet the Prevailing Wage.
Previously, CIC’s Temporary Foreign Worker Manual (“FW1“) specified that ICT – Specialized Knowledge applicants must demonstrate “specialized knowledge” of a company’s product or service and its application in international markets, or an an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.
Effective immediately, OB-575 requires that ICT – Specialized Knowledge applicants demonstrate a high degree of both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise. Specialized knowledge is unique and uncommon, and OB-575 states that “it will by definition be held by only a small number or a small percentage of employees of a given firm,” and that “specialized knowledge workers must therefore demonstrate that they are key personnel, not simply high skilled.” The onus is on applicants to provide evidence that they meet these requirements.
Proprietary knowledge is company-specific expertise related to a company’s product or service. OB-576 specifically notes that it implies that the company has not divulged specifications that would allow other companies to duplicate the product or service. Although OB-575 does not mandate that “advanced proprietary knowledge” is required, it states that:
Advanced proprietary knowledge would require an applicant to demonstrate:
- uncommon knowledge of the host firm’s products or services and its application in international markets; or
- an advanced level of expertise or knowledge of the enterprise’s processes and procedures such as its production,
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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