Three top highlights from Major Overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program

June 27, 2014:

A number of alerts and information pieces have been released with regards to the government’s major overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. This article focuses on just three important points that are most pertinent to those Canadian companies that support global assignees with comprehensive relocation benefits.

For more complete articles we recommend heading to either Egan LLP’s website or CERC’s website.

This relo-lert will not reflect on any of the changes for low-wage workers. In addition, All Points has already, in previous relo-lerts, described increased documentation requirements.

While there is a new introduction of a fast-track LMIA (10 business days) (formerly known as Labour Market Opinion), it is only for the highest-paid (top 10%) and shortest-duration (120 days or less, so we believe that the positive impact of this will be muted to most of our clients.

Instead, the three issues we would like to highlight are:

  • Increased costs
  • Changes and future review of International Mobility Program (formerly known as Labour Market Exempt)
  • Establish proper documentation procedures
  • Increased costs.
    • The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) will now conduct and provide LMIAs (Labour Market Impact Assessment, formerly Labour Market Opinions or LMO’s) for those employees who will not qualify under so-called exempt categories.
    • The new LMIA will have a fee of $1,000 for every temporary foreign worker position requested by an employer (up from the current $275).
    • The higher fee is meant to reflect the costs of increased scrutiny and enforcement, as well as provide a greater cost incentive to hire locally. For most of All Points’ this increased cost is more of a hindrance than a barrier, but budgets should be adjusted accordingly, as the difference will quickly add up over a number of cases.
  • Changes and future review of International Mobility Program (formerly known as Labour Market Exempt)
    • Renamed the International Mobility Program (IMP) this program will cost more ($230 charged to the employer in addition to the $155 work permit application fee paid by the Temporary Foreign Worker), but the changes we would like to highlight here are:
    • Job offers to temporary foreign workers will be required to be submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) before the proposed TFW can apply for a work permit. This will be a procedural change for companies who process these applications, so internal communications should highlight this change to eliminate unnecessary delays in processing.
    • All Points has a concern that the announced future review of the current number of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exempt categories could result in fewer categories in future. This should be watched closely.
      • Establish proper documentation procedures
        • Finally, as mentioned in previous relo-lerts, good record keeping is paramount for LMIA’s (formerly LMO’s). Corporations that had/have informal record keeping as part of its immigration processes should create standard operating procedures to do so on a go forward basis. They should also go back and ensure that previous cases have good records as well. Spot audits will increase and corporations should have documentation-management top of mind.

      All Points does not represent itself as immigration counsel. We encourage all employers to review the changes thoroughly. This Relo-lert is not intended as an exhaustive consideration of the changes. It is provided for information purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or counsel. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of their particular situation.

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