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Canadian employers will now find it easy to hire temporary foreign workers

Posted on May 20, 2020
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Canada Work Visa

When implementing measures to counter the Coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian government has kept the interest of immigrants in mind including temporary foreign workers in the country.

Measures for temporary foreign workers

The Canadian government has decided to continue processing visas in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) stream in a bid to keep the economy going and to help Canadian employers during this pandemic.

While the Canadian government decided to close its borders in the wake of Coronavirus to non-residents, it decided to continue its TFWP program to support Canadian industries such as agriculture, agri-food and food processing.

The TFWP is a program that enables Canadian businesses to face labor shortages to recruit foreign workers after ensuring that the first opportunity to apply for such positions was provided to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

 A temporary work permit and a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) are required for individuals who come to Canada under the TFWP. The LMIA proves that hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact on the local labor market.

Temporary foreign workers who have lost their jobs

Currently, there are many temporary foreign workers on employer-specific work permits who have lost their jobs. They can be a valuable resource to meet the labor shortages faced by other employers in Canada.

However, getting a new work permit for a new employer can take several months making it difficult for employers who need to hire these existing workers.

To take care of this, the Canadian government recently announced a temporary policy which will significantly reduce the time it will take for such temporary foreign workers to find a new job with another new employer.

Under the new rule, temporary foreign workers on an employee-specific work permit can gain preliminary approval to start working on a new job with a different employer even if their work permit application is still being processed. Earlier temporary foreign workers who wanted to work for a new employer had to name their employer in the application before starting their new job. The process used to take several months. The new preliminary approval process is expected to take ten days or less.

Eligibility conditions:

Temporary foreign workers who wish to make use of the new rule must meet the following eligibility conditions:

  • They must be staying in Canada with a valid status
  • They must have an employer-specific work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or International Mobility Program
  • They must have furnished an application for a new work permit with a valid LMIA under any of the above programs

Applicants who meet the above eligibility conditions can submit their application to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to gain permission to start a new job before they get their Canadian work permit. The application will be processed within ten days and the worker will receive his authorization to work for a new employer.

However, the obligations for employers to hire foreign workers have not changed. They will have to get a positive LMIA or furnish an Online LMIA Exempt Offer of Employment that supports the work permit application.

This new ruling will help temporary foreign workers who have lost their jobs as an alternative option to work for another employer. For Canadian employers, it gives access to employees they need especially when it is difficult to get employees from abroad due to the travel restrictions for the Coronavirus pandemic. The expedited processing time is a win-win for both.

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