May 07, 2012

Service Canada has announced an expedited process for obtaining Labor Market Opinions (LMO) that will greatly speed the ability for Canadian companies to sponsor highly-skilled foreign national workers.

What is an LMO?

An LMO evidences that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a proposed job in Canada and that there are no readily-available qualified Canadian workers to fill the job. Canadian employers seeking to hire temporary foreign workers in certain work permit schemes must apply for an LMO prior to hiring a foreign worker or obtain pre-approval to hire a large number of workers. Service Canada, the Canadian government department that issue LMO’s, must issue a “positive” LMO before an employer can file a work permit application with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

What’s Changed?

Service Canada is introducing its online application process to fast-track “trusted employer” processes to issue an Accelerated Labor Market Opinion (“A-LMO”) within 10 business days of submission (compared to the current 12-14 week processing period for standard LMO applications).

The general eligibility criteria for a positive opinion remain the same.

The changes will fast-track certain qualified employers’ LMO applications and implement an online application filing process. This change does not apply to job offers in the Province of Qu├ębec.

Requirements for A-LMO Eligibility?

For Canadian employers to be eligible to participate in the A-LMO Initiative, employers must meet the following requirements:

  • The position is a managerial or medium to high-skilled occupation (including most “trades”) as listed in the National Occupation Classification (“NOC”) categories O, A or B;
  • At least one LMO must have been approved for the employer within the last two year period;
  • The employer can pass a substantiallysimiliar (“STS”) test demonstrating that during the prior two years it has provided foreign worker(s) with wages, working conditions and employment in an occupation that were substantially the same as those set out in the terms of the employer’s original LMO application;
  • The employer is not in contravention of any federal, provincial, or territorial laws, or collective agreements that regulate employment in the specified occupation.

Service Canada will continue to audit employers in the regular LMO and A-LMO categories as per Regulations in effect since April 1, 2011. If compliance issues arise out of an audit it is expected that the employer would not be eligible for the fast-tracked process. If viewed as serious compliance violations the employer could face the existing two-year bar on hiring any foreign workers and publication of the company name on the CIC website.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

On April 25th, Service Canada introduced an online filing process that will eventually replace the current system of snail-mailing and faxing of LMO applications.

The online system will ultimately provide facilitated exchanges of information between Service Canada and employers and their designated legal representatives. Employers and third-party representatives will need to register with Service Canada for this web service to apply for the A-LMO using the online service.

Companies considering assignments to Canada that will involve submitting applications using Service Canada’s new online system are advised to anticipate start-up challenges and possible delays as personnel adjust to new departmental technology innovations and processing of applications using the new online system.

Glenn Faulk, Global Knowledge Manager, has written this alert in coordination with our Canadian KGNM-Rekai LLP.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.