TFWP Employers Beware— Ignore High-Wage LMIA Transition Plan at Your Own Risk

The US has suspended short-term work permits as well as long-term employment visas till December 2020, which means Canada is the obvious alternative for skilled workers across the world.

As a Canadian employer, you certainly can explore the advantages and benefits of hiring a foreign skilled worker to boost your productivity and profits. However, never forget that foreign hiring is a complicated process and even inadvertent violations of rules can lead to serious consequences.

Transition Plan for High-Wage LMIA Applications

Every work permit application under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program must be backed by an approved Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), with different rules for high-wage and low-wage positions. .  

To get a positive LMIA, the Canadian employer must advertise the position within Canada and to make reasonable efforts to find a domestic Canadian worker for the job. LMIA approval is given only after employers submit proof that they tried and failed to find a qualified Canadian resident/citizen for the position.  

But, employers cannot repeatedly hire a foreign worker for such positions. LMIA rules mandate that employers must create a transition plan that focuses on recruiting, retraining, or training a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the position.

Every LMIA application must include a transition plan where the employer

  • Indicates the strategy for training and preparing a Canadian worker for this position, or
  • Commit to assist the temporary worker being hired in becoming a permanent resident of Canada.

Simply put, the TFWP and high-wage LMIA rules simply don’t allow employers to continuously hire foreign workers for the same position. The temporary foreign worker must be temporary, and must either become a permanent resident of Canada or must be replaced by a Canadian worker.

Implementing the Transition Plan

Canadian immigration rules expect employers to start implementing the transition plan at the earliest. The implementing must continue through the period during which the foreign worker continues to work in the country.

This means the transition plan cannot be a one-off affair or through training/retraining activities done at random intervals.

Such an approach will quickly invite strict action from the immigration authorities, and consequences can include heavy penalties as well as restrictions on hiring foreign workers in the future.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

A LMIA application for a high-wage position filed without a transition plan will simply be rejected.

The employer will have to submit the results of the transition plan when applying for LMIA for a position previously filled by hiring a foreign worker. The fresh application will be approved only after authorities are satisfied that the transition plan has been implemented properly.

Further, failing to implement the transition plan can have an adverse impact on all your future LMIA filings, which means you may find it impossible to hire foreign workers for any position in the future.

Use Professional Advice Smartly

Happily, it’s not very difficult for a skilled worker to become a permanent resident of Canada, especially if he/she has a valid job offer from an eligible Canadian employer.

The easiest and smartest option would be to utilize professional immigration assistance and plan the foreign worker hiring in such a manner that the shift from TFWP to Express Entry and then to permanent residence is done at the earliest.

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