Canada has a stable and predictable immigration system and a well-defined strategy targeting a million immigrants in the next three years. The emphasis on economic programs that specifically target foreign skilled workers give Canadian employers the option of combining domestic and foreign talent to target faster and sustainable business growth.
Yet, hiring foreign talent can be a game-changer only if you understand the complicated process and have the right immigration professional by your side to help you avoid legal and procedural pitfalls.
First Up—Are You an Eligible Employer?
A positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is mandatory, barring certain exemptions, for securing a work permit for a temporary foreign worker or permanent residence through the Express Entry application system.
And one very important requirement for LMIA approval is business legitimacy. To fulfill this requirement, you must prove the following
- Your business has not been involved in any compliance issues or violations related to hiring foreign workers.
- Your business or enterprise is in good financial standing and can meet all the terms and conditions of the job offer.
- Your business has a legal presence in Canada and is involved in providing a good or service in the country.
- Your business has reasonable need for hiring a foreign worker for the specific job position.
Looking beyond Cost Savings
Employers cannot misuse the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or any of the Federal or provincial skilled worker programs for permanent residence to replace Canadian workers with less-expensive foreign employees.
Under the TFWP, employers must the median wage detailed in the Job Bank or wages paid to current employees performing similar duties at the same location, whichever is higher.
This is why the LMIA process involves the submission of detailed information about the job offer including the wages offered for the position.
Temporary Programs are for Temporary Hiring Only
Programs like the TFWP are designed primarily to help Canadian businesses overcome the disadvantage of absence of qualified domestic talent by hiring foreign workers.
Employers are required to submit proof of efforts to find a Canadian candidate for the position as a part of the LMIA application process. Only then can Canadian employers qualify for a positive LMIA and an approved work permit.
Further, work permits are issued for a fixed duration and employers cannot claim unlimited extensions as a matter or right. Immigration programs require employers to take steps to train Canadian replacements, which means hiring workers under temporary programs cannot be a permanent affair.
Prepare for Compliances
Any employer hiring a foreign worker must fulfill all applicable compliances before, during, and after employing the foreign worker.
Immigration authorities have the right to conduct paper-based as well as on-site inspections without issuing any prior notice to verify whether your business is in full compliance with all appliable rules and regulations.
Consequences of violations can include a ban on hiring foreign workers ranging between two and ten years, revocation of previously-issued LMIAs and fines ranging from $500 to $100,000 per violation.
Hiring a foreign worker is a major decision that can boomerang badly if done casually or without full understanding of the various regulations and compliances involved. If done properly with the right immigration professional to assist you, this decision can transform your business forever.