On April 4, 2022, the Government of Canada announced helpful changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program which will work to address labour shortages across Canada.
What is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program?
The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program enables Canadian employers to hire foreign workers where no Canadians or permanent residents are available for the position.
Most employers first require a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) prior to hiring a temporary foreign worker.
An LMIA involves showing the Government that an employer has already tried to fill a position within Canada to no avail, and that hiring a migrant worker instead of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident will have a neutral or positive labour market effect based on certain factors in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
What are the new changes?
Number of low-wage positions in seasonal industries
Prior to 2015, there was a limit to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries can fill through the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program. In 2015, the Government announced a temporary Seasonal Cap Exemption that removed this limit.
Now, there is permanently no limit to the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries, such as seafood processing, can fill through the TFW program.
Duration of positions in seasonal industries
The maximum duration of temporary foreign worker positions in seasonal industries was 180 days.
The maximum duration of these positions is now 270 days.
Validity period of LMIAs
Prior to COVID-19, Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) were valid for six months from the date of issuance. As a response to COVID-19, the Government increased LMIA validity to 9 months.
LMIAs are now valid for 18 months.
Duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Streams
The maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Stream workers was two years.
Percentage of TFWs allowed in one workforce
Most employers were allowed to hire only up to 10% of their workforce through the TFW program.
Seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages will be allowed to hire up to 30% of their workforce through the TFW program for one year.
These seven sectors are:
Other employers not within these sectors will be allowed to hire up to 20% of their workforce through the TFW program.
Automatic refusal of certain LMIA applications
The Government automatically refused LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the Accommodation and Food Services and Retail Trade sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or more.
This policy is now ended and the Government will no longer automatically refused these LMIA applications.
What does this mean for employers and temporary foreign workers?
The updates to the Temporary Foreign Worker program are significant and welcomed. Employers looking to fill labour shortages are encouraged to consider the TFW program. The current estimated processing time for LMIA applications is between 8 to 53 business days, depending on the stream. With the right strategy, the Temporary Foreign Worker program can help employers quickly fill positions that have been left unfilled by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Furthermore, these updates will help temporary foreign workers access various pathways to permanent residency. For example, a temporary foreign worker working through an LMIA may not previously have been able to accumulate the 12 months of Canadian work experience required to apply for permanent residency under the Canadian Experience Class of the Express Entry program. Now that LMIAs can be issued for up to 18 months, more foreign workers may be eligible for Canadian permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class.
Contact Battista Smith Migration Law Group to find out more about hiring temporary foreign workers or obtaining a work permit in Canada.
You can email us at email@example.com or give us a call at (416) 203-2899 extension 30.