The Updated Government Programs that Can Help You Hire Temporary Foreign Workers

The Government of Canada recently announced initiatives to address Canada’s record number of job vacancies. These initiatives will allow Canadian companies to hire more foreign talent. You can find out thy companies are hiring more foreign workers here. For the how, the simple answer is reformed government programs.

For the more complicated answer, a book is probably needed. A summary of that hypothetical book (this article!) would briefly overview the various government programs that employers can use to hire foreign talent. The most well-known program that does this is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Supercharged

On April 4th, the Federal Government announced that to assist economic recovery, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will undergo five crucial policy changes to support Canada’s COIVD-19 economic recovery. These changes are:

  1. No limit to the low-wage positions employers in seasonal industries can hire through the program, and increasing the duration of these positions to 270 days annually
  2. The validity of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will be doubled to 18 months
  3. The maximum duration of employment for workers in the High-Wage and Global Talent Streams will be increased by one year, to a new limit of three years
  4. For seven sectors with a demonstrated labour shortage, 30% of their workforce (for low-wage positions) can be hired through the Temporary worker program. For other sectors, they will have a 20% limit. The previous limit was 10%
  5. In regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or higher, for the Accommodation Food Services, and Retail sectors, the Government will no longer automatically refuse LMIA applications for low-wage occupations

Moral of the story: the Government is making it easier to hire Temporary Foreign Workers. Suppose you already have familiarity with the program. In that case, you are probably intimately aware of how the above reforms work in practice. If you are not familiar with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s structure, let us explain it.

The Structure of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

If a name is effective because it describes its subject, then the title of “Temporary Foreign Worker Program” is incredibly effective. The TFWP allows broad talent to gain a work visa to enter Canada, and companies to hire international talent. The first step of the TFWP is applying for an LMIA (exempt from the recent reforms above.) 

To get an LMIA, one must reach out to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). The process may vary depending on if you’re attempting to hire through the TFWP or another program, but an LMIA determines two things: (1) Your business does have a need that can be filled by a temporary foreign worker and (2) there are no Canadians or permanent residents available to fill that job. Since March 2022, the average processing time for the Government to make a decision regarding a submitted LMIA can vary from 8 to 53 business days. The average assessment time varies based on the stream the LMIA is a part of.

When a business applies for a Labour Market Impact Assessment through the TFWP, it must do so through 7 streams. The first stream is a “General Application” for the “High and Low wage stream”. For this stream, the relevant data point for your application is the hourly median wage of the province or territory your worker would operate in. If the wage you will be offering the worker is above the median wage (for example, the median wage in Alberta is $27.28) – you would apply in the High Wage Stream. If it is below the median wage, you would apply under the Low-Wage Stream. 

For other streams, one must do their LMIA through a specialized application. The specialized streams are:

  1. Express entry
  2. Global Talent
  3. Academics
  4. Agriculture
  5. Caregivers
  6. Positions in Quebec

Each has different requirements and processes – but like the general stream, applying for a worker through these streams requires an LMIA. Of course, there are methods of hiring foreign workers beyond the Temporary Foreign work program. One of these methods is hiring through the International Mobility Program. 

For those without an LMIA: The International Mobility Program

The International Mobility Program is an alternative to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that will let you hire a temporary worker without a LMIA. Through the IMP, you submit an offer of employment through the Employer Portal (while paying a fee of $230). This is the norm, with the exceptions being temporary workers with an open work permit, or are an Exempt Employer.

After that point, the worker you sent a job offer to must now apply for a work permit; but be mindful that in the case you violate any conditions, you could face a variety of penalties, ranging from a warning letter to a fine of $100 000 for one violation. Stay compliant and enjoy a fruitful relationship with your new worker. Be it the LMIA, the TFWP or another program, foreign talent can help bring your business to the next level.



Related Articles