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As an employer or potential employee, knowing the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program could be a huge benefit. These changes will impact how employers hire and compensate potential foreign hires and highlight the details of how quickly someone from outside the country can begin to work.
Tweaks to TWFP came into effect on April 30th, 2015. The changes aren’t significant to employers as long as they’re still correctly applying for Labour Market Impact Assessments. The main detail to always factor in is that wages stay within wage streams of the Assessment (LMIA) and that the compensation lines up with the occupation in that part of Canada.
The LMIA application is a hefty one. It collates a number of statistics including the number of citizen applicants, the number of offers or job postings and even the number of applicants that don’t qualify. This is as much in the best interest of applicants as it is employers.
Once the LMIA is authorized by Employment and Social Development Canada, wages and the average hourly rate offered by employers are compared by territory or region. Filtering by skill level is no longer a part of the TWFP; instead employers can categorize temporary foreign workers by meeting requirements for compensation either below their provincial median hourly wage or above the median wage. This is for low wage and high wage positions respectively.
There is an exception in the province of Quebec where certain jobs and positions are a ‘facilitated process’. This means that employers are not obligated to attempt hiring locally. Another exception is for occupations that compensate well or are in high-demand. Employers for these positions can be provided with a 10 business day hiring service for foreign workers.
Another important detail for employers to know is that as of April 30th, the TWFP uses unemployment rates according to region to determine which employers are eligible to send in LMIAs for low-wage, low-skill jobs such as those in the hospitality, retail and food services sectors. Applications for positions in these job sectors won’t be processed if unemployment in that region is in excess of 6%.
The difference between low-wage streams and high-wage streams is mostly about protecting the local economy. Low-wage foreign workers won’t need transition plans but Canadians must always be considered first. These businesses have a cap on temporary foreign workers hired in addition to the unemployment rate restriction mentioned above.
Employers hiring abroad for high-wage positions must submit transition plans, the LMIA and proof to illustrate a reduced need for temporary foreign workers long-term. The key is to remember that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is used to solve immediate labour shortages and only when there are no qualified Canadians available.
Often, employment and business opportunities are time sensitive and for that reason having a legal representative in Canada with expertise in the area of temporary foreign worker program is the most efficient way to proceed. At Visaplace, we have helped thousands of people immigrate to Canada to work, study, visit, and we can help you, too.
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