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New Changes in LMIA Coming Into Effect from 30th April 2015

Tourist hand holding vintage leather travel bag with flag of CanThe Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will see new changes in its policies for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) from 30th April 2015. This change will help in identifying the requirements of the employers in recruiting the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW). This was announced by the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Some of the changes that would be made are

·         Implementing new High and Low-wage Streams

·         Updating the Median Hourly Wages of each Province

·         Increase in Worker Protection regulations

·         Modification of the Method for Calculating the Cap on Low Wage Positions

·         Complete implementation of the new LMIA regulations in Quebec.

High-wage and Low-wage

From 30th April 2015, the TFWP will be divided into High-wage and Low-wage and not High-skill and Low-skill as it is at present. Employers who pay below the hourly wage median of the province will have to fulfil the requirements of the Low-wage category and those that pay above the hourly wage median of the concerned province will have to fulfil the requirements of the High-wage stream.

A list of the new Provincial Median Wages (PMW) has been made available. From April 30th the PMW of Alberta will be $25 per hour – up from the present $24.23. In British Columbia it will be $22 – up from $21.79. In Quebec it would remain at $20 per hour after 30th.

Protection for Low-wage TFWs

The regulations that were in place to protect the interests of Low-skilled TFWs will apply to the new category of low-wage workers. Employers will have to provide the following, for TFWs who are paid below the PMW:

·         to and fro transportation

·         affordable housing

·         health insurance

·         registration with provincial workplace safety board, and

·         an employer-employee contract.

A new and simplified way of calculating the Low-wage skills will also be introduced. The new calculation will be based on the total number of full-time and part-time workers that are employed and not on the number of hours they have worked.

Points to Ponder

There are a few important points that need to be considered to prevent making any errors while applying under the new regulations:

·         The ESDC and other authorities will be using the National Occupational Classification (NOC) of 2006, and not the NOC 2011, to assess the skill and wage status of the applicants. NOC 0, A, and B, are of high skilled occupations, and NOC C and D are of low skilled. Occupations that come under the high-skilled category would in most cases be that of the High-wage category and those from the low-skilled category will be of the Low-wage category.

·         Annual wages are calculated on the basis of 40-hour per week, 52 weeks per year of estimated work hours.

·         Employers applying to hire TFWs will have to use the new LMIA application forms from 30th April 2015. Old application forms will not be acceptable after 30th. The new forms can be used for both Low-wage and High-wage applications unlike the previous ones which were separate for High-skill and Low-skill categories.

·         Since Quebec is also implementing the new regulations, employers will have to follow them from 30th April, except for the 42 recruitment-exempt occupations that will still remain so.

·         An employer can only hire one Low-wage category TFW per year based on a positive LMIA. And those who employ more than 10 workers can now only have 10% of its workforce from the Low-wage category.

·         Employers from the food and accommodation service sectors are now dis-allowed from applying for LMIAs in 10 of the Lower skill occupations.

Employers have to now pay higher fees for Low-wage applications and fill out longer application forms and also maintain detailed recruitment records. They have to strictly adhere to all the new requirements and ensure that all the necessary information is provided while applying for LMIA after the implementation of the new regulations from April 30th 2015, to prevent any delays caused due to errors committed.

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