Changes to LMO Process Means Canadian Corporations should Centralize Immigration Compliance

February 4, 2014:

On December 31, 2013, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)’s previously announced amendments were implemented. Compliance obligations have been increased substantially. While many of these obligations were in place before, these have been made stricter, and of longer duration. In addition, immigration officials have been provided with considerable power to investigate and penalize employers if found non-compliant.

It should be made clear that the changes only affect Labour Market Opinion (LMO) Work Permits. A number of immigration law firms and certified consultants have already written extensively on these changes, and All Points encourages all corporations to read these alerts and white papers carefully.

The purpose of this relo-lert is not to provide extensive review of the changes but instead bring attention to some specific changes and make recommendations for those corporations whose immigration procedures are not currently centralized.

Some changes of note are:

  • While employers previously had to ensure that, under the LMO program, a temporary foreign worker’s occupation, wage and working conditions were “substantially the same” as the original offer, now the wording “but not less favourable” has been added;
  • A change in a temporary foreign worker’s occupation which is inconsistent with the original offer will be considered a contravention;
  • The retention policy has been increased from 2 to 6 years;
  • There has been an increase in the inspection authority of the government inspectors including on-site visits, which can even include client sites.

All Points feels that these changes are, in large regard, in keeping with previous rules and procedures, and should therefore be viewed as enhancements of previous practices. However, with the combination of some wording changes, the increase of the retention policy, the increase in the inspection authority, AND (possibly most importantly) the government’s increased appetite for audit, we believe that this is the right time for Human resources to carefully review their LMO practices if they have global assignments or global relocations into Canada.

All Points Relocation not only recommends a review of practices; we recommend that companies centralize these processes as much as possible. Six years is a long time for record retention, and contravention on one LMO can affect previously issued LMO applications, can mean negative LMOs for pending applications, can result in revocation of existing LMO based Work Permits, and ineligibility to bring temporary foreign workers on LMO based Work Permits within the frame of the TFWP for two (2) years.

Centralization for those with a low volume of immigration and LMO processes:

As a mid-sized relocation company, All Points Relocation speaks with many Canadian corporations with a relatively low volume of LMO applications and intra-company transfers in general. We are less concerned about those employers with a high volume of inbound immigration requirements, as these are likely the first to establish strict immigration procedures. However, for those with lower total volume, and decentralized structures, we know that it is sometimes hard to review and change procedures when amortized over a small number of cases. This makes it all the more important to review and established centralized procedures: with low critical mass, comes greater chance of non-compliance. Even for those companies that only require infrequent immigration needs, and specifically LMO based Work Permits, the ability to attract the right talent to the right job in Canada is important, and putting processes in place to ensure compliance need not be difficult.

Again, we encourage all employers to review the changes thoroughly, and note that this relo-lert is not intended as an exhaustive description of the changes, or a provision of substantial recommendations. – This article has been prepared with the assistance of a certified immigration counsel. It is provided for information purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

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