New changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), as part of the reform package announced last June, officially came into force April 30, 2015. The changes will affect temporary immigration in Canada by placing an emphasis on the updated median wage table, which was based on the 2014 Labour Force Survey results. The updated median wage table will largely affect the wage-stream of future Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications. The LMIA, which was also introduced last June, is a part of the approval process required for Canadian employers looking to hire foreign nationals through the TFWP. It replaces the old Labour Market Opinion (LMO), which according to the government, is intended to make immigration in Canada a more comprehensive and rigorous process.
Immigration lawyers in Canada can help employers navigate these TFWP changes, which include a new categorization for employment opportunities. As part of their approval process, the LMIA has implemented a new categorization for applicants, “high-wage” and “low-wage”. These categories will replace the LMO’s previous streams, which classified workers by occupation and skill level.
Canadian employers looking to hire a foreign national must apply for an LMIA with the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). With the new categorizations come new standards that employers must meet. Employers offering wages below the provincial median will need to meet the requirements of the low-wage stream positions. Employers offering wages at or above the provincial median must meet the requirements of the high-wage stream positions. Seeking the aid of immigration lawyers in Canada can help employers ensure they meet the standards of their wage stream. Here are a few key requirements:
• There is a 10 percent cap on the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers employers with 10 or more employees can employ.
• Work permits will be limited to a maximum of one year.
• Employers must pay for round-trip transportation.
• Employers must ensure affordable housing is available.
• Employers must pay for private health insurance until workers are eligible for provincial health care.
• Employers must register the temporary foreign worker with the provincial/territorial workplace safety board.
• Employers must provide an employer-employee contract.
• Employers must be offering a wage higher than the provincial median.
• Employers must submit Transition Plans.
So how will this affect temporary immigration in Canada? Generally speaking, the TFWP is meant to be used as a last resort, only when qualified Canadians are not available. In addition, the new LMIA standards are the ESDC’s way of ensuring a high level of commitment from employers seeking to hire foreign workers. Although the new rules may be intimidating for employers, those who sincerely require a foreign worker can still navigate through this new system. Immigration lawyers in Canada can assist employers leverage these changes to their advantage or introduce employers who have never brought in a foreign worker to the process.
Do you want to learn more about immigration in Canada or enquire about obtaining a work permit for temporary foreign workers? Find out how immigration lawyers in Canada can help.