The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canada’s largest immigration program, reopened its doors to applications on May 4th 2013. In an effort to manage application intake and prevent backlogs, the government has instituted a cap of 5,000 applications for this year, extending to April 30th 2014. In addition, the government has limited intake only to those with experience in one of 24 eligible occupations.
Skilled workers who wish to bypass the application cap, occupation list, or both have another option for immigration through the FSWP. This option is known as Arranged Employment. Applications submitted with Arranged Employment are not subject to caps, and may have experience in any skilled occupation.
Arranged Employment is one of the six selection factors in the FSWP. When an applicant has Arranged Employment, he or she is awarded 10 points for this Selection Factor, and up to an additional 5 points in the Adaptability selection factor.
When does an applicant have Arranged Employment?
In general, Arranged Employment means that the applicant has a genuine offer of employment from a Canadian employer for a full-time, paid job in a skilled occupation. The job offer must have an indeterminate length of employment and be conditional upon the applicant becoming a permanent resident.
Prior to May 4, 2013, most applicants were required to have the Canadian employer validate the job offer with Service Canada through an “Arranged Employment Opinion”. However, the new regulations for the FSWP now require the Canadian employers to validate the job offer by obtaining a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada. However, an LMO is not required in certain circumstances.
Who does not require an LMO?
The following two categories of applicants do not require an LMO to benefit from Arranged Employment:
- Applicants who are currently working in Canada on a temporary work permit in a skilled occupation, where the work permit was originally issued based on a positive LMO.
- Applicants who are currently working in Canada on a temporary work permit in a skilled occupation, where the work permit was originally issued without an LMO under the provisions of an international agreement (e.g. the North America Free Trade Agreement ) or under the provisions of one of the Canada-Provincial/Territorial Immigration agreements (e.g. the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement).
In both these circumstance, the following conditions must be met for the applicant to benefit from Arranged Employment:
- The Canadian employer specified on the applicant’s work permit must extend a non-seasonal full-time job offer to the applicant for the same position specified on the work permit, and the job offer must be for an indeterminate length of employment conditional upon the applicant becoming a permanent resident;
- The applicant’s work permit must be valid at the time the Federal Skilled Worker application is submitted; and
- The applicant must have the valid work permit for the same employer in the same position until the Permanent Resident Visa is issued.
Who does require an LMO?
As a general rule, any applicant who has a suitable job offer from a Canadian employer, but who does not have a valid temporary work permit and is not authorized to work in Canada must have the Canadian employer obtain an LMO prior to submitting their FSWP application in order to benefit from Arranged Employment.
In some cases, foreign workers who are currently working in Canada are still required to have their employers obtain an LMO to benefit from Arranged Employment. This includes the following types of applicants:
- Foreign workers who have a job offer from a Canadian employer that is different from the employer indicated on their work permits;
- Foreign workers who have work permits that were issued without an LMO due to exemptions other than those noted above, e.g. the Intra-Company Transfer category;
- Foreign workers who have open work permits (not linked to any specific employer); and
- Individuals who are authorized to work in Canada without a work permit, such as business visitors.
One interesting aspect of the new Arranged Employment regulations is that an LMO obtained from Service Canada entitles the applicant to a temporary work permit immediately. Thus, the applicant may be able to come to Canada as a tempoary foreign worker immediately, while their permanent residence FSWP application is still being processed.
“Holding a Canadian job offer opens up opportunities for immigrants before and after they land in Canada,” said Attorney David Cohen. “Not only will it benefit their application for Permanent Residency, it can allow an applicant to come to Canada within a couple of months and begin working right away.”
While some individuals are fortunate enough to already be working in Canada, those who do not yet have a job offer can begin searching and applying for jobs across Canada. One way to do so is by using the Canadavisa Job Search Tool.
To find out if you are eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Program or any of the over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.