Canadian employers are increasingly hiring foreign talent to fill key roles in their companies. Whether it is due to domestic labour shortages or because important employees are based elsewhere, the sustained growth of Canadian businesses often depends on their ability to relocate international personnel to Canada. Given that the most valuable asset of a businessperson, recruiter, or senior manager is their time, their ability to hire and retain people from abroad legally and quickly is of paramount importance.
We have extensive experience providing temporary and permanent immigration services to Canadian employers ranging from small Canadian Controlled Private Corporations to international conglomerates, public post-secondary research institutions, sports associations, technology start-ups, architectural services, television studios, infrastructure, primary resource, etc. In every representative matter the same question is asked. How can we make this process as smooth as possible for the employer?
Labour Market Impact Assessments
Canada’s Labour Market Impact Assessment program allows Canadian employers to recruit foreign nationals once they have demonstrated to the Canadian government that the entry or retained employment of a foreign national will have a positive or neutral impact on the Canadian labour market. The Labour Market Impact Assessment program requires extensive domestic recruitment, the payment of a prevailing wage to a foreign national and an interview between a representative of the employer and the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada.
Labour Market Impact Exemptions
It is often surprising how many employers start the Labour Market Impact Assessment process without first determining whether a suitable alternative program applies. Some of these alternatives include the:
- North American Free Trade Agreement, which facilitates the entry of Mexican and American workers into Canada;
- Canada – Chile Free Trade Agreement, which facilitates the entry of Chilean workers into Canada;
- Canada – Peru Free Trade Agreement or the Canada – Colombia Free Trade Agreements, which are the two broadest free trade agreements that Canada has;
- Canada – Korea Free Trade Agreement, which facilitates the entry of Korean workers into Canada;
- Canada – EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which facilitates the entry of EU nationals into Canada;
- General Agreement on Trades and Services, which can provide short-term work permits in certain occupations to nationals of every country that is a member of the World Trade Organization;
- Intra-Company Transfer program, which allows affiliated companies to transfer executives, senior managers and specialized workers to Canada;
- Provincial Nomination Program, in which an application can be made to a provincial government for a company to sponsor a foreigner’s immigration and their work permit;
- Significant Benefit Work Permit Program, for foreign workers whose entry to Canada will have a clear economic or cultural benefit to Canada;
- Global Talent Stream, which allows companies to recruit key talent in certain industries without conducting recruitment;
- Global Skills Strategy, which provides short-term work permit exemptions to skilled professionals;
- Emergency Repairs or Repair Personnel for Out-of-Warranty Equipment program;
- Francophone Mobility Program, to encourage francophone migration to provinces other than Quebec;
- Young Professionals Program;
- Television and Film Production Workers Program;
- Performing Arts Program;
- Reciprocity Employment Program, for companies that also transfer Canadians abroad; or
- Charitable or Religious Work Permit Program.
Some of our recent experiences acting for employers, and the program chosen, include:
We routinely help technology companies transition foreign talent from being international freelance contractors to permanent employees inside Canada. For example, we recently helped a British Columbia software development company which has several freelance contractors in South America bring them to Canada as full-time employees. Prior to retaining us, the company had unsuccessfully attempted to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment. We recommended that the employer utilize the Global Talent Stream instead, and the company has since doubled its Vancouver headcount.
An architectural design firm approached us to help them bring an extremely talented individual from Colombia to be their new Project Manager. Architect Manager is a prescribed position in the Canada – Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and, after demonstrating why the individual was exempt from licensing requirements with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, were successfully able to apply under a combination of the Canada – Colombia Free Trade Agreement and the Global Skills Strategy for expedited processing.
Religious and Charitable Purpose Organizations
We represented a yoga retreat society in successfully submitting that their hiring of a Community Garden Organizer met the requirements of the Charitable or Religious Work Permit Program. It would have been impossible to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment for this position as the person was paid far less than the prevailing wage. However, the Canada Border Services Agency accepted that the unique duties and expectations of the position meant that the entry of the Community Garden Organizer met the requirements of religious work.
We act for several domestic and international construction and infrastructure companies. Given the number of foreign workers involved, it is not uncommon for one company to simultaneously rely on several work permit programs. Indeed, it is not uncommon to obtain bulk Labour Market Impact Assessments months before a project begins to ensure that foreign talent can enter as soon as needed.
Despite the rapid development of the technology sector, Canada, and British Columbia in particular, continues to have a very strong resource economy. We have experience helping companies in many resource sectors, and recently represented a European forestry company transfer skilled workers who specialize in logging on steep cliffs. No Labour Market Impact Assessments were necessary because of our success in demonstrating the unique specialized nature of the positions.
We successfully represented a husband and wife in extending their ability to work in Canada beyond the Working Holiday Program. The husband, who was the owner of the Osteopathy clinic that they set up, obtained a Labour Market Impact Assessment to employ his wife. The husband, whose work permit was also expiring, was then able to obtain an open work permit on the basis that his wife had a work permit.
Scope of Representation
We are flexible in how we structure the representation of employers in their immigration needs. We offer services on an hourly, flat-fee or portfolio basis, as determined by the employer.