The past few years have presented challenging immigration law
issues for both temporary foreign workers
("TFW") and the Canadian companies that
employ them. While there has been increased media spotlight on the
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
("TFWP"), new layers of regulation have
made it more difficult for Canadian employers to source talent
overseas, while some employers have difficulty identifying
Canadians who possess specific skill sets or are willing to move to
work locations in remote parts of the country.
Recent Changes to the TFW Program
Retail employers have arguably been particularly hard hit by
these measures. For example, as of April 30, 2015, in accordance
with a Ministerial Instruction, the TFWP will not
process applications in the Retail Trade and Accommodation and Food
Sectors for workers in certain occupations if those applications
are for TFWs in an economic region with unemployment rates of six
per cent or higher. Restricted occupations include food
counter attendants, grocery clerks and store shelf stockers,
cashiers, security guards, other attendants in accommodation and
travel and light duty cleaners.
There is also a new cap on the number of "low-wage
TFWs", defined as workers who earn less than the provincial or
territorial median wage, which in most jurisdictions hovers around
$20 per hour. As of July 1, 2015, the cap on low-wage workers is now either the
current percentage of TFWs in low-wage positions, or 20%, whichever
is less. On July 1, 2016, the limit will be further reduced to
Additional changes include a reduction in the standard duration
of work permits from two years to one year, and the creation of a
four-year maximum work period, after which a
TFW must wait another four years before he or she can be granted a
new work permit. The four-year cap was introduced on April 1, 2011
and became effective on April 1, 2015.
Navigating Changes to the TFW Program
Despite these challenges, employers requiring TFWs can
strengthen their applications for the required Labour Market Impact
Assessments (LMIAs) by, among other things:
Carefully preparing job
advertisements, choosing a job title and associated National
Occupation Code (NOC) from the list provided by
Service Canada, and indicating the areas of expertise
Setting reasonable requirements for
Providing creative and detailed plans
for transitioning from TFWs to Canadian employees, to address how
positions will be filled by Canadians in the future;
Ensuring that all information in the
transition plan is kept up to date and adhered to;
Providing explanations as to the need
for TFWs for each particular situation and providing additional
context that may not be apparent in the job description; and
Obtaining support letters from industry groups or
September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
Canada received more than 320,000 immigrants in the last 12 months, approaching levels not seen since the early 20th century. The per capital immigration rate at .88%, is consistent with previous Liberal government policies.
October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
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