Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

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In response to the growing controversy and criticism of the temporary foreign worker program, the government introduced changes to the Labour Market Opinion Process on April 29th.

–          Effective immediately, require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility of 15%;

–          Effective immediately, temporarily suspend the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process;

–          Increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke work permits and Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) if the program is being misused;

–          Add questions to employer LMO applications to ensure that the TFWP is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;

–          Ensure employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time through the LMO process;

–          Introduce fees for employers for the processing of LMOs and increase the fees for work permits so that the taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the costs; and

–          Identify English and French as the only languages that can be used as a job requirement.

Many employers rely on the Temporary Foreign Work Program and a positive LMO to meet their labour needs. However, in recent months, there has been media coverage of alleged employer abuse of the program. The two most recent controversies involved the Royal Bank of Canada, having replaced staff with an outsourcing company. The other involved a mine in Northern BC, where 200 Chinese miners were hired, where the job posting listed Chinese as a requirement. The LMO is an integral part of our immigration system, but will continue to see reforms to ensure employers are first looking locally to hire Canadians before going abroad.

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Canada’s New Start-Up Visa for Permanent Residency Open

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As of April 1st, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is now accepting applications from entrepreneurs under the new Start-Up Visa Program. This is the first entrepreneur program of its kind in the world, and Canada hopes to attract the brightest and most talented entrepreneurs who can build innovative companies, grow the economy and create job opportunities.

Two umbrella organizations have been working with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), to identify angel investors and venture capital funds that are interested in participating in the Start-Up program. Entrepreneurs must have the support of an angel investor or venture capital fund to apply for permanent residency. They must also secure a minimum $200,000 investment from a venture capital fund or a minimum $75,000 investment from Canadian angel investor group. A list of designated venture capital funds and angel investor groups can be found here.

Requirements:

  • Letter of support from designated angel investor group or venture capital fund
  • Have a minimum level of CLB 5 in either English or French in all abilities – speaking, reading, listening, writing
  • Completion of at least one year of post-secondary education, with proof of being in good standing
  • Have sufficient settlement funds for you and your family

Both the investor group and entrepreneurs must complete application forms for submission. It is expected the process will take approximately three to six months. 2,750 visas a year have been set aside for start-up entrepreneurs and their families.

For more information, please contact us.

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Occupations Published for Federal Skilled Trades Class

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With the new Federal Skilled Trades Class available as of January 2, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has listed the eligible Occupations in the Canada Gazette. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will accept up to 3,000 per processing year, with a cap of 100 applications for each occupation Group A and no cap for occupation Group B.

Group A — Occupations sub-capped at 100 applications per occupation

  • 7202 Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations
  • 7204 Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades
  • 7205 Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers
  • 7271 Carpenters
  • 7301 Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades
  • 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews
  • 8211 Supervisors, logging and forestry
  • 8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying
  • 8222 Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling services
  • 8241 Logging machinery operators
  • 8252 Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • 9211 Supervisors, mineral and metal processing
  • 9212 Supervisors, petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
  • 9214 Supervisors, plastic and rubber products manufacturing
  • 9231 Central control and process operators, mineral and metal processing
  • 9241 Power engineers and power systems operators
  • 9243 Water and waste treatment plant operators

Group B — Occupations for which there are no sub-caps

  • 7231 Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors
  • 7233 Sheet metal workers
  • 7235 Structural metal and plate work fabricators and fitters
  • 7236 Ironworkers
  • 7237 Welders and related machine operators
  • 7241 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 7242 Industrial electricians
  • 7243 Power system electricians
  • 7244 Electrical power line and cable workers
  • 7245 Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • 7246 Telecommunications installation and repair workers
  • 7251 Plumbers
  • 7252 Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • 7253 Gas fitters
  • 7311 Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
  • 7312 Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • 7313 Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • 7314 Railway carmen/women
  • 7315 Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors
  • 7318 Elevator constructors and mechanics
  • 7371 Crane operators
  • 7372 Drillers and blasters — surface, mining, quarrying and construction
  • 7373 Water well drillers
  • 8231 Underground production and development miners
  • 8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers
  • 9232 Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators

To qualify, requirements include: 

– Meet minimum language threshold
– Evidence of 2 years of experience in field in the last 5 years
– Have a valid job offer from Canadian employer or Certificate of Qualification from Canadian trade authority

For more information, contact us.

 

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New Bridging Open Work Permit for Economic Class Permanent Resident Applicants

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Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced a new work permit for foreigners with a permanent resident application in process, available immediately. The Bridging Open Work Permit enables certain economic class applicants to maintain their status and continue working in Canada while they await a final decision on their permanent residence application. Foreign nationals who have submitted an application for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) may be considered for an one-year open work permit. To be eligible for a bridging open work permit, the applicants must currently be in Canada on a valid work permit that is due to expire within 4 months and must have received confirmation from CIC that their permanent resident application is eligible under one of the four Economic Classes.

Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Operational Bulletin here.

 

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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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