the CanadaVisa Team - 10 July, 2015
Canadian employers seeking to hire foreign nationals who 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 who is exempt from the LMIA process will not be able to get hold of an employer-specific work permit if his or her employer has not submitted the required information and paid the fee before the work permit application is submitted.
One of the effects of these changes will be with respect to the employers of LMIA-exempt foreign nationals who, until now, 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. The exact nature of what information employers must provide has not yet been disclosed.
When 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 workers 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 LMIA-exempt foreign nationals or temporary foreign workers through the LMIA process that has determined that there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are ready, willing and able to perform the job — will face the same level of scrutiny in their hiring and treatment of foreign workers.
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 workers who are LMIA-exempt but do not hold open work permits (for example, intra-company transferees) 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 workers 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 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 workers 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.