The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp surge in unemployment numbers across the world. The situation seems worse than the 2008 global recession because there’s no clarity on when and how the pandemic will subside.
Immigration becomes an easy target for politicians and policy makers alike during times of high unemployment. The US has actually gone ahead and suspended immigration—both short-term work permits and long-term EB-category visas—until the end of 2020. Will Canada follow suit and start restricting immigrants?
Canada’s Disruption-Proof Immigration System
Countries rely on immigration to tackle labor shortages and to attract skilled workers for in-demand occupations and job positions. No sensible immigration system will allow employers to hire cheap immigrants to the disadvantage of its citizens and permanent residents.
Canada’s immigration system achieves this through its robust and effective Labor Market Impact Assessment process. And this LMIA is an important reason why you need not worry about Canada becoming an immigrant-unfriendly destination.
How the LMIA Process Works?
As the name suggests, the LMIA process focuses on the impact of the Canadian employer’s decision to hire a foreign worker on the country’s labor market.
Barring few restrictive exceptions, every Canadian employer must secure a positive LMIA in order to become eligible to hire a foreign worker. And to get a positive LMIA, the employer must:
- Submit proof of the legitimacy of the employer’s business.
- Advertise the job positions nationally within Canada to find a Canadian resident for the position.
- Advertise in the Government of Canada’s Job Bank and two other acceptable methods of recruitment for at least four weeks in the three months prior to the LMIA application
- Offer wages within the wage rate offered to current employees with similar experience, job duties, and work location. Or, offer the median wage on the Job Bank, whichever is higher.
Further, to get a positive LMIA for a high-wage position, the employer must submit a transition plan detailing how he/she plans to hire, retain, or train a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for the position for which the foreign worker is being hired.
This means foreign workers cannot be hired repeatedly and the employer must invest in transitioning the position to a Canadian citizens or resident.
LMIA rules impose a cap on the number of low-wage workers that a Canadian business can hire, usually it is a proportion of Canadian workers on the payroll.
Robust LMIA Process = Immigrant-Friendly Policies
The robust LMIA process makes it virtually impossible for a Canadian employer to replace a qualified and willing Canadian worker with a foreign skilled worker. This means every foreign worker in Canada is hired to fill the shortage of domestic workers.
Further, the transition plan ensures either the foreign worker becomes a Canadian permanent resident or such worker is replaced by a Canadian citizen or PR. This means this well-tuned process works well even in disruptive times. This is why Canada’s federal and provincial governments are, instead of suspending immigration, actually conducting immigration draws to select the right foreign skilled workers to reduce unemployment in the country.