Recently, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)has revealed its plan to commence a new approach to processing work permits for foreign workers. This potential change, as per an Access to Information Request (ATIP) obtained by CIC News, aims to expedite the application process for individuals who already hold a Canadian work permit and seek to continue working in the same occupation for the same employer. While IRCC has not yet confirmed this proposal, it showcases the department’s commitment to reducing inventories and enhancing client services while addressing labor shortages in Canada.
Improving Efficiency and Reducing Inventories
The proposed measure aligns with IRCC’s Action Plan, designed to streamline procedures, improve efficiency, and tackle labor shortages in the country. This approach comes under the mandate of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to simplify work permit renewal for the TFWP.
Streamlining the Process
Currently, the processing of work permits involves individual assessments by officers to determine approval. This evaluation encompasses reviewing the applicant’s experience, education, language proficiency, and any licensing requirements. Additionally, officers ensure the genuineness of the employment offer by verifying the employer’s active engagement in their business, ability to pay wages, and compliance with employment laws at the federal and provincial levels.
Under the potential new approach, the Global Case Management System (GMCS) would conduct daily pulls of applications into specific folders. Notably, IRCC emphasizes that this process will not be automated, suggesting that individual consideration will still play a role.
Data from the ATIP indicates that between January 2017 and August 31, 2022, IRCC received 71,955 applications from foreign workers who obtained two or more work permits for the same employer and occupation. Hence, IRCC anticipates that the proposed measures will yield positive outcomes. To qualify for this streamlined process, applicants should meet the following criteria:
Previous Issuance: Candidates must have an employer-specific work permit within the last five years, without any discrepancies from the previous application.
Complete Application: They must submit a comprehensive work permit application for a new employer-specific work permit.
Occupation Continuity: Candidates must return to the same occupation, holding the same National Occupation Classification (NOC) code.
Biometrics Submission: Providing biometrics is necessary either before or along with the new application.
Admissibility Requirements: Candidates should meet all other permissibility requests throughout the selection process.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) Overview
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) serves as an important tool for Canadian employers facing challenges in finding qualified applicants for vacant positions. Under the TFWP, foreign workers arrive with closed work permits, allowing them to work exclusively for a single employer in Canada.
Employers opting for the TFWP are typically required to obtain a positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This assessment, submitted to ESDC, outlines the employer’s hiring plan and justifies the need for foreign workers. It must demonstrate that employing foreign workers will have a positive or neutral impact on Canada’s economy.
Moreover, employers are obligated to demonstrate their efforts to recruit qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents before resorting to foreign workers. Furthermore, compliance inspections may be conducted on employers after their employees have commenced work in Canada to ensure adherence to government regulations.
While IRCC considers a new method of processing work permits for TFWP participants, the potential benefits of this streamlined approach for foreign workers and employers are yet to be confirmed. If implemented, this initiative would mark a significant step towards enhancing efficiency and reducing processing times, ultimately addressing labor shortages in Canada.