Presentation on theme: "January 14, 2014 Temporary Foreign Workers Program Changes and New Requirements."— Presentation transcript:
January 14, 2014 Temporary Foreign Workers Program Changes and New Requirements
Overview Purpose of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (“TFWP”) Motivation for the TFWP Changes Goal of the TFWP Changes Key Changes Reactions to the TFWP Changes The Newest Changes – as of December 31, 2013
Purpose of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program Deal with acute skill shortages on a temporary basis Intended to be a last resort for employers
Motivation for Changes Recent news stories: Mining company planning to import as many as 200 Chinese miners to work in Northeastern BC RBC plan to outsource information technology jobs to Indian workers In 2011, number of foreign workers in Canada doubled compared to ten years ago.
Goal of the Changes “Qualified Canadians, including new Canadians, should have first crack at available jobs.” Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration – August 7, 2013 Support Canada’s economic recovery and growth Balance needs of employers with needs of Canadian workers
Key Changes Removal of wage flexibility Suspension of the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process Processing fee for LMOs Official languages restriction Advertising requirements Assessment of impact on job market
Removal of Wage Flexibility What’s changed? Previously, employers could pay temporary foreign workers (“TFWs”) up to 15% less than the prevailing wage Less than 5% of employers used this wage flexibility
Removal of Wage Flexibility New requirement: Employers have to pay TFWs the prevailing wage in the industry
Suspension of the Accelerated LMO What’s changed? Previously, certain employers could obtain an LMO more quickly and easier than the general process Some employers of higher-skilled workers could use accelerated LMO to bring in much-needed workers efficiently
Suspension of the Accelerated LMO New requirement: All employers are required to use the standard LMO process, which may take months for approval Suspension is temporary, but unclear when the accelerated LMO process will be reinstated
Processing Fee for LMOs What’s changed? Previously, there was no fee associated with applying for an LMO Administration costs of processing LMOs were covered by tax dollars
Processing Fee for LMOs New requirement: Employers must pay a $275 LMO processing fee per position Fees have to be submitted at the time of the application with a Processing Fee Payment Form Employers cannot recover the processing fee from TFWs No refunds are issued for a negative LMO
Processing Fee for LMOs Purpose of fee: In 2012, 60% of positive LMOs did not lead to a work permit being issued to a TFW Decrease wasted tax dollars Expecting a 30% decrease in LMO applications
Official Languages Restriction What’s changed? Previously, employers could include other languages as a job requirement when advertising or recruiting for a position
Official Languages Restriction New requirement: Only official languages, French and English, can be listed as a job requirement. Gives Canadians every opportunity to apply for available jobs
Official Languages Restriction Exceptions: Rare circumstances will allow non-official languages Onus on employer to prove that a non-official language is a job requirement Assessment of the LMO will consider the rationale for needing a non-official language
Official Languages Restriction Examples Translator of non-official languages Tour guide to foreign tourists in non-official languages Negative LMO if employer fails to show non-official language is an essential element of the job
Advertising Requirements What’s changed? Employers used to be able to advertise a position to Canadians for only two weeks Positions had to be advertised in the Job Bank (national or provincial equivalent) and by only one additional recruitment method.
Advertising Requirements New requirements: Duration of advertising: at least four weeks before applying for an LMO Location/method of advertising: Job Bank (national or provincial equivalent), plus two other recruitment methods Employer has to continue actively seek Canadian workers for the position until the LMO has been issued
Advertising Requirements High-skilled Occupations: One recruitment/advertising method has to be national in scope Lower-skilled Occupations: Show effort to target under-represented groups, such as youth or people with disabilities
Advertising Requirements Elements to include in advertisement: Salary Skills required Nature of the position Advertising of the position must be done within the three months immediately prior to the LMO application
Assessment of Impact on Labour Market What’s changed? New questions added to the LMO application regarding the employer’s use of TFWs and the impact on the Canadian labour market
Assessment of Impact on Labour Market Types of questions: o Will it lead to job losses for Canadian workers? o Outsourcing or offshore practices? o What efforts were made in the past two years to hire and/or train Canadian workers for the position? Negative LMO if there is a negative impact on the Canadian labour market
Reactions to the Changes Mixed reviews Makes process less discretionary and more predictable Not flexible enough for different labour markets across Canada Up to 60% of TFWs do not require a LMO Not enough monitoring of workplaces once TFWs are in Canada Lacks enforcement mechanisms
The Newest Changes – as of December 31, 2013 New conditions imposed on employers Retain documents for 6 years Authority to verify the employer’s compliance by: Conducting warrantless on-site inspections Interviewing foreign workers or Canadian employees, by consent Requiring employers to provide documents that relate to compliance
The Newest Changes – as of December 31, 2013 Penalties of non-compliance: Employers could be subject to a ban of 2 years from the TFW program Employer’s name, address and period of ineligibility will be put on the CIC website Any LMO application in progress will be negative Revocation of any previously-issued LMOs.
The Newest Changes – as of December 31, 2013 Power to suspend/revoke LMOs or refuse to process altogether Employer will be notified and given opportunity to respond Suspension – If LMO suspended, cannot use to get a work permit. Revocation – permanent cancellation. Can occur before or after a work permit has been issued.
The Newest Changes – as of December 31, 2013 New LMO application includes: modified questions Additional employer attestations regarding responsibilities
Summary – A Brave New World? Canadian workers should be first choice, with foreign workers being a last resort No wage flexibility LMO processing fee and not accelerated Official language requirement restrictions More and longer advertising requirements Monitoring impact of foreign workers on the labour market