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Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

News Source:
http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/foreign_workers/changes.shtml

As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada is taking action to reform the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs.

These changes will strengthen and improve the TFWP to support Canada’s economic recovery and growth, and ensure that more employers hire Canadians before turning to temporary foreign workers (TFW).

  • Fee for Labour Market Opinion processing
  • Language restriction
  • New advertising requirements
  • New LMO application with questions on impacts on the Canadian job market

Fee for Labour Market Opinion processing

Effective July 31, 2013, employers applying to hire TFWs must pay a processing fee of $275 for each position requested to cover the cost of a Labour Market Opinion (LMO).

The LMO processing fee does not apply to positions under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), the Agriculture Stream or on-farm primary agricultural positions listed under National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8256, 8431, 8432 and 8611.

Employers must complete the LMO application and the accompanying Processing Fee Payment Form, and submit these documents along with the required processing fee payment. The total payment must reflect the number of TFW positions requested on the LMO application (e.g. $275 x number of positions=total payment).

Employers who wish to increase the number of TFW positions requested on an LMO application must submit a new LMO application for these positions with the required documents and processing fee payment.

The processing fee payment (in Canadian dollars) can be made by:

  • certified cheque (payable to the Receiver General for Canada)
  • money order (postal or bank)
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express

The TFWP must receive the entire processing fee along with the required documents before assessing the employer’s LMO application.

Note:
LMO applications received prior to July 31, 2013 will not be subject to the new processing fee. However, applications received with a postmark dated July 31, 2013 or later without the processing fee will not be assessed. A program officer will contact the employer or third-party representative and request that the NEW LMO application form be completed and submitted along with the required processing fee.

Once the department receives and confirms the payment, the LMO application will be assessed. To protect employers’ privacy and security, no credit card information will be kept after the payment has been processed. However, a program representative may contact the employer for information as part of the LMO assessment process.

There will be no refund in the event of a negative LMO or if the application is withdrawn or cancelled since the fee covers the process to assess an application and not the outcome. Refunds will only be available if a fee was collected in error (e.g. an incorrect fee amount was processed).

Note:
It is the Government of Canada policy that employers and third-party representatives not attempt to recover the LMO processing fees from temporary foreign workers.

Language restriction

Effective July 31, 2013, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations come into force which introduce subsection 203 (1.01), a new language assessment factor. As a result of this change, English and French are the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement, both in LMO requests and in advertisements by employers applying to hire TFWs, unless employers can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job.

The language restriction does not apply to positions under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), the Agriculture Stream or on-farm primary agricultural positions listed under National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes 8251, 8252, 8253, 8254, 8256, 8431, 8432 and 8611.

Advertising requirements are the primary mechanism used to ensure that Canadians are aware of employment opportunities and the language restriction will help ensure that Canadians are given every opportunity to apply for available jobs.

The onus will be on employers to demonstrate that a language other than French or English is an essential requirement of the job.

Employers advertising a job for a position that legitimately requires a language other than English or French must clearly demonstrate, in writing, that the language requested is consistent with the regular activities of the job (e.g. a translation company hiring a translator to work in a language other than English or French, a tour company catering to foreign tourists only in a non-official language).

Program staff will assess the employer’s rationale for requesting a language other than English or French in relation to the occupation and information included in the LMO application. Service Canada will issue a negative LMO if the rationale does not demonstrate that the requested non-official language is an essential requirement of the job.

New advertising requirements

As of July 31, 2013, employers will need to make greater efforts to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply for temporary foreign workers.

The new advertising requirements do not apply to:

Advertising period
Employers must advertise available positions in Canada for at least four weeks before applying for an LMO. This requirement applies to all advertising methods.

Additional methods of recruitment
In addition to advertising on the national Job Bank website or the equivalent provincial/territorial websites, employers must prove that they have used at least two other recruitment methods that are consistent with the advertising practices for the occupation.

  1. If hiring for a higher-skilled occupation—one of the methods must be national in scope;
  2. If hiring for a lower-skilled occupation—employers must demonstrate that they made efforts to target under-represented groups in the labour force.

Employers must also continue to actively seek qualified Canadians to fill the advertised positions until an LMO has been issued.

More information is available on advertising requirements under the Advertising and Recruitment tab for each stream of the TFWP.

New LMO application with questions on impacts on the Canadian job market

As of July 31, 2013, the LMO application includes additional questions that must be answered by the employer. These questions were added to help ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs.

For all LMOs requested, the TFWP assesses the impact that hiring a TFW will have on Canada’s job market, based on available labour market information for the region and occupation. The labour market questions will ensure that program staff has the information needed to make sound decisions regarding LMO applications.

A negative LMO will be issued if an assessment indicates that hiring a TFW will have a negative impact on the Canadian labour market or if an employer has not complied with the program requirements.