Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has updated the
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application forms.
This update includes a new formula that relies on wages-paid,
instead of prevailing wage, for delineating between the
"high-wage" and "low-wage" application
streams. This change will likely result in a greater number
of applications qualifying as "high-wage", and will
increase access to 10-day expedited processing for the highest-paid
occupations. This change is retroactive to June 20, 2014 and
will affect already submitted LMIA applications.
Recent reforms to the Temporary
Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) included the creation of two
application streams: "high-wage" and
"low-wage". In order to ensure the program was used
as intended, applicants in the "high-wage" stream are
required to prepare a plan to transition to a Canadian workforce.
This plan may include hiring and training Canadians and Permanent
Residents, actively recruiting underrepresented groups, and
sponsoring foreign workers.
Applicants in the
"low-wage" stream face caps on the number of foreign
workers that may work at any given work site. Applicants from
certain sectors also face a blanket moratorium on applications in
regions with unemployment at-or-above 6%.
The New Formula
As a result of the changes on the
application forms, "high-wage" occupations are those
occupations where the wage paid is above the provincial or
territorial median wage. Wages below the provincial or
territorial median wage are "low-wage" occupations.
Previously, the formula relied on
the prevailing wage for the occupation relative to the provincial
or territorial median wage, rather than the wage paid.
What this means for Employers
Employers with pending LMIA
applications for low-wage occupations should seek assistance in
reviewing their applications. If the wage being offered is
above the provincial or territorial median wage, these applications
now qualify as "high-wage" occupations. While these
employers will no longer face caps and other restrictions
associated with the "low-wage" stream, they will now be
required to prepare transition plans as part of the application
Reliance on wages paid as opposed
to prevailing wage will also open up access to 10-day expedited
processing. Employers offering wages in the top 10% above the
provincial or territorial median will now qualify for expedited
processing of their LMIA applications.
If you have any questions about
this update and how it may affect your pending or future LMIA
applications, please contact
Green and Spiegel LLP.
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