Accelerated Labour Market Opinion Initiative Announced

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As of April 25th, employers and their representatives can apply for an accelerated Labour Market Opinion, called the A-LMO. This is good news for the many employers and foreign workers who have often been waiting up to 5 months for an LMO to be approved.

HRSDC’s goal is to improve the integrity of the temporary foreign worker program and labour market outcomes; as well as respond to employers’ needs efficiently and in a timely manner. We couldn’t agree more that initiatives like these are needed.

This new Initiative applies to employers hiring temporary foreign workers in higher skilled positions such as: management, professional and technical occupations from the NOC list. For now, the Initiative does not apply to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, the Agricultural Stream and occupations in the film and entertainment sectors.

To be eligible, employers must:

  • have been issued at least 1 positive LMO in the previous 2 years;
  • have a clean record of compliance with the Program within the last 2 years;
  • not have been the subject of an investigation, infraction or a serious complaint; and
  • not have any unresolved violations or contraventions under provincial laws governing employment and recruitment.

If the employer is deemed eligible, the employer can apply through a paper or an online system and receive an LMO within 10 business days.  For more information, visit the HRSDC site or contact us!

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2012 Budget outlines plans for Canada’s Immigration System

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With much anticipation, the Canadian Government released its 2012 Budget in March, called the Economic Action Plan 2012. The Budget’s focus: key drivers of growth and job creation — innovation, investment, education, skills and communities. While the budget may only be of interest to Canadians following the news, politics or to those with jobs directly affected, foreigners wanting to come to Canada should take note.  Regardless if you are an entrepreneur, business professional, skilled trades worker, student or refugee, the 2012 Budget will affect if and how you come to Canada as a permanent resident.

The Canadian Government’s 2012 Budget plans to:

  • Improve the processing efficiency of the immigration system to meet current labour demands.
  • Realign the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to meet labour market needs, with a strong focus on skilled tradespeople.
  • Support improvements to foreign credential recognition and identify future target occupations.
  • Centralize operations, like scaling down visa processing offices overseas.
  • Work with provinces and territories to create a talent pool of foreign workers.
  • Change the skilled worker point system to favour younger immigrants with Canadian work experience and language skills.
  • Return skilled worker applications and fees to applicants who applied before 2008 and have been waiting for processing to be completed.

The last point, the return of skilled workers applications submitted before 2008 and still in process, took the media spotlight. It is the Government’s solution to clear some of the backlog and is not good news for the thousands hopeful applicants who will have to re-apply under a current permanent residency program. Close to 300,000 applicants can expect their applications to be returned, and a total of $130 million in processing fees will be returned.

Furthermore, while many of the government departments will experience heavy financial cuts, the Immigration department has been spared in comparison. Over 3 years, the department will cut about $179 million, of which close to $23 million will be from the Immigration and Refugee Board to save on overhead costs and operations, such as streamlining processing at visa offices.

In the next few months, we can expect further discussion, debate and development of these plans. There is no doubt the criticisms will continue, but it’s clear the immigration system requires major improvements. Canada needs to attract young adults, skilled professionals and entrepreneurs, but most importantly retain them so that these individuals, their families and the rest of the community can prosper.

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