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NEW LMIA EXEMPTION RULES DISCOURAGES EMPLOYERS FROM HIRING FOREIGN WORKERS

shutterstock_98950592From 21st of February 2015, employers who seek foreign workers through their International Mobility Program face new and challenging regulations and charges. Under the new work permit application process, employers are required to submit detailed information about their business and pay a processing fee of CAD$ 230.

In addition to the processing fee of CAD$ 230 paid by the employers, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada has announced that a processing fee of CAD$ 100 to be paid by individuals applying for open work permits. Open Work Permits allow an individual to work for any employer in Canada. These permits are commonly used by foreign nationals under the International Experience Canada program and the Post-Graduate Work Permit program.

These changes are made as a result of the reforms in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations done with the intention of improving the International Mobility Program (IMP). These are expected to increase the employer’s accountability.

LMIA Exemption

The Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is part of the International Mobility Program and it exempts intra-company transferees, participants of exchange programs and workers under the Free Trade Agreement, from requiring a Work Permit to work in Canada.

A foreign worker who is LMIA-exempt could obtain a Work Permit from the border after they provide evidence of their education and work experience. But with the new policies in place it is no more possible as now the Canadian employer is required to obtain an approval from the government before a Work Permit can be issued. Work Permit is not issued if the fee and required business details are not submitted prior to applying for the Work Permit.

The following details are to be submitted online to the CIC by the employers:

Name of their business, address, contact numbers and email IDs

Business number assigned to them by the Minister of National Revenue

Details of the job offered to the foreign worker, and

Evidence of the employment offer.

Level Playing Ground

The Employment Offer should be submitted to CIC electronically along with the payment of CAD$230 or CAD$100. The new changes are expected to bring all the employers under the same level of scrutiny regarding hiring and retaining of their employees. Employers who fail to comply with the new rules risk being punished financially. Punishment may also involve a ban from hiring foreign staff and in severe cases, investigation and criminal prosecution by the Canadian authorities.

Widespread Concern

There is widespread concern that the new changes would discourage Canadian employers from hiring new foreign workers especially in the context of the reforms made to the Temporary Foreign Worker program. No employer would want to spend extra money and reveal business details to recruit a foreign employee.

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