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Labour Market Impact Assessments

Following a tremendous amount of turmoil in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Labour Market Opinion process has been replaced with the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). While the fundamental process – the determination of the impact of a foreign worker’s admission to Canada on the labour market – remains the same, the change of name accompanies a number of procedural changes that occur during and after the application.

One of the changes that is most noticeable at first glance is the increase of the government processing fee from CAD$275 to CAD$1000 per position. The rationale of this is to ensure that employers using the program are responsible for the costs of the assessment as well as those costs associated with compliance monitoring and enforcement.

Classification of classes of application will no longer be governed by skill classification. Instead, the government will rely on statistical wage assessments to determine the perceived skill level of the foreign worker. Employers with more than ten employees will face caps on the numbers allowed, starting at 30% now and decreasing to 20% then 10% over the next few years. Skill classification may remain important in areas with annual unemployment rates of 6% or higher, where applications for positions requiring little or no training in Accommodation, Food Services and Retail Trade businesses may not be eligible for processing at all. Low skill occupations will be limited to one year terms and there is also a plan overall to limit the duration for which LMIAs and ensuing work permits will be granted to a given foreign worker for a given position.

Another significant change is the implementation of the requirement of the submission of transition plans or requests for exemption from such with the application. A transition plan is an explicit statement by the employer describing its plans to make Canadians responsible for the role of the foreign worker over time. The specifics of the transition plan may vary depending on the wage of the foreign worker, and may include efforts to recruit or train Canadians, as well as efforts to encourage conversion the status of the foreign worker to Canadian permanent resident status. Transition plans are subject to review by the government if the employer applies for an additional LMIA in the same position or if the employer is subject to a random audit.  Under certain circumstances (e.g., unique skills or limited duration projects), the employer may request exemption from the requirement of the transition plan; such exemption is determined by the discretion of the reviewing officer.

There is some good news for employers in this reform plan. For example, employers applying for short duration, high-demand, or high-paid occupations may benefit from reduced processing service standards.

Date Posted: June 26, 2014 Posted In: Labour Market Impact Assessment,Labour Market Opinion,Permanent Resident,Temporary Work Permits

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