Canadian employers seeking to hire foreign nationals under the International Mobility Program for job positions that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process will soon be required to submit information about their business, including details of the offer of employment, and pay a fee to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
The changes will come into effect on February 21, 2015.
As of that date, a foreign national wishing to work in Canada on an LMIA-exempt work permit will not be able to obtain an employer-specific work permit if his or her employer has not submitted the required information and paid a fee before the work permit application is submitted.
One of the effects of these changes will be with respect to the employers hiring for LMIA-exempt positions in Canada, as well as foreign nationals who do not require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). Until now, these foreign nationals have been able to obtain a work permit at the Canadian border upon presentation of their education or training credentials and details of the job to be performed in Canada. From February 21, employers must seek pre-approval in order to hire these foreign nationals.
An employer who has made an offer of employment to an foreign national for an LMIA-exempt position must, before the foreign national makes their application for a work permit in respect of that employment, provide the following information online:
- The name, address and telephone number of the business, as well as fax number and email address, if any;
- The business number assigned to the employer by the Minister of National Revenue, if applicable;
- Information that demonstrates the nature of the work to be performed by the foreign national; and
- The offer of employment made in the form provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Employers will need to submit their offer of employment using the electronic system that CIC provides for submission and pay the appropriate fee electronically prior to the submission of a work permit application based on the offer.
If an inspection finds that an employer is non-compliant with the new regulations, the employer could face a monetary penalty, a ban from hiring foreign nationals and, in serious cases, a criminal investigation and prosecution.
By adopting the new system, the government of Canada will strive to ensure that all employers —whether they are hiring foreign nationals for LMIA-exempt positions or temporary foreign workers through the LMIA process — will face the same level of scrutiny in their hiring and treatment of foreign nationals.
The fee that must be paid will be either $230 or $100, depending on which type of work permit is held by the foreign national.
Employers of foreign nationals for a position that is LMIA-exempt through an international agreement such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will have to pay an employer compliance fee of $230, to be paid online. Revenue accrued from these fees will be used for employer compliance activities, including inspections of thousands of employers.
Foreign nationals on open work permits will have to pay a fee online of $100, to be paid at the same time as the work permit processing fee. The fee is payable every time the applicant applies for an open work permit and renewal. Individuals with open work permits are free to change employers as they please without needing obtain a new work permit, as long as their existing work permit is valid. The fees collected will be used to pay for new initiatives to improve data collection on the role of open work permit holders in the Canadian labour market, as well as increased promotional activities to encourage open work permit holders to apply for permanent residence.
International Mobility Program streams that feature open work permits, as opposed to employer-specific work permits, include spouses and common-law partners of highly skilled foreign nationals and international students, the working holiday portion of International Experience Canada (IEC), the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, and certain individuals who, having received acknowledgement of receipt of their application for permanent residence, are in possession of bridging open work permits.
“These changes present additional hurdles for employers wishing to hire foreign nationals on a temporary basis in Canada,” says Attorney Daniel Levy of Campbell Cohen Law Firm.
“The days will soon be gone, for example, when an intra-company transferee could arrive at the Canadian border for, say, an engineering project in Alberta, present his or her credentials and details of the job, and receive a work permit there and then. Employers will now have to receive pre-approval for these workers from the government of Canada.”
To learn more about these new regulations and enquire about obtaining a work permit for Canada, please send the Campbell Cohen work permit team an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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