Hiring a temporary foreign worker can be a bit testy for anyone intending to follow this route – Canadian employer or the temporary workers. However, it depends on who is complaining and what the individual intends to achieve. Therefore, we will attempt to explore the foreseeable angles to this myth.
Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) or International Mobility Program (IMP)?
Typically, the Canadian government provides options through which foreign workers can be hired, either through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP). The IMP does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), an employer pays a compliance fee of $230, and waits for a work permit processing time of two weeks standard. The IMP has broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada. In its part, the TFWP gives Canadian employers the opportunity to hire foreign workers temporarily in order to fill labour shortages in certain occupation categories. This category, TFWP, is jointly operated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). An employer is required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the ESDC to demonstrate that they could not find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position. There are categories from which to choose under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program:
- High wage workers
- Low wage workers
- Global Talent Stream
- Foreign Agricultural Worker
- In-Home caregivers
- Foreign Academics
The LMIA is not obtained on a platter of gold. An employer has to run advertisements for the vacant positions, as well as pay an LMIA application fee of $1000 and wait for a two-week standard processing time (for only certain occupations), otherwise the process can run to many months. A positive LMIA means the employer can hire while a negative LMIA means the employer can only hire a Canadian or a permanent resident. On the part of the foreign worker, he has to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for the actual work permit after receiving a positive LMIA. Maybe this is where the seeming difficulty stems from.
Anyone pursuing the Temporary Foreign Workers Program or International Mobility Program, would be doing himself a disservice if he is focused on the challenges in his pursuit.
Ever watched a movie before? You would have discovered that it’s only in a movie that endurance and resilience are tested once or twice before a dream is achieved. Not so in real life! In the real world, the narrative differs. Some may have things pan out pretty quickly in their favor while some may have to travel down a long, challenging and tortuous path. In either situation, the dream may be worth the wait. Better put, the Canadian Dream is worth the wait and effort. In fact, both the journey of attainment and the actual result are beneficial.
Several documents attest to it that immigrants and foreign workers are valuable contributors to the Canadian economic growth, even more than natives in many instances. So, if you need to hire foreign workers, by all means do. Make a go for it. Nothing good comes easy, a statement that has been validated over and over again. And if your desire is to come to Canada as a temporary foreign worker, it can be achieved. Others have succeeded at it before. Yours can’t be an exception.
For Quebeckers, it is common knowledge that many companies, public bodies and international organizations use foreign workers that they hire on a temporary basis. Quebec retains significant autonomy over its immigration policies and procedures. As a result, there are variations in the procedure for the hiring of foreign workers in the province. The hiring of these workers often stems from personnel changes, international agreements (e.g., CUSMA), and shortages of labor in some areas as well as the need to hire skilled workers to compete in the world economy. Hiring temporary foreign workers in Quebec allows the employer to apply for a facilitated LMIA which means that there is no burden of proof that they made efforts to recruit a Canadian or permanent resident to fill the position.
The importance of foreign workers to Canada’s Covid-19 response is also reflected in the special measures and processes that have been implemented to provide flexibility for foreign workers and reduce the administrative burden on employers.
For instance, certain application requirements under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, such as the requirement for employers to conduct recruitment efforts to hire Canadians and permanent residents first before recruiting temporary workers, are being waived for key occupations, including the agriculture and agri-food sectors. Similarly, applications to recruit foreign workers in agriculture and agri-food sectors are being prioritized for processing.
The government has also instituted a series of beneficial measures aimed at facilitating ongoing immigration applications by extending limitation periods and visa validity. Some of these measures were introduced prior to the travel restrictions, thus highlighting that protecting and maintaining Canada’s foreign worker and immigration programs are of fundamental importance, notwithstanding Covid-19.
The Canadian government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak has had profound and immediate effects on the administration of its immigration programs, particularly for temporary workers and the employers of temporary workers. Nevertheless, throughout this crisis, foreign workers have emerged as a critical force in the Covid-19 response, by providing vital services and by maintaining food production, health and safety and security. This is reflected in the government’s efforts to facilitate the entry of temporary foreign workers to Canada, while the borders remain closed to other foreign nationals. Notwithstanding Covid-19, the government has indicated and demonstrated every intention of continuing all permanent immigration programs with a specific focus on attracting foreign workers permanently.
In a post-pandemic economy, temporary foreign workers will continue to be an essential source of labour supply in Canada and will play a critical role in rebuilding Canada’s economy. While the process can be a little convoluted, Canada needs foreign workers and many will be welcomed to its shores for a long time to come.
By The Editorial Board.