February 26, 2015

First announced in late 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) continues to roll out its program of “Putting Canadian First” within the Canadian workforce. Most recently, the authorities have announced another phase of increased employer compliance measures that affects some of Canada’s most sought after work authorization categories: employer-specific work permits that are exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments (including Intra-Company Transfers and Free Trade Agreement Permits).

What’s Changed?

Effective as of February 21, 2015, the following new pre-application steps must be followed for all employer-specific work permit applications that are exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA):

1. Employers will first be required to pay a new “Employer Compliance Fee” before any LMIA-exempt work permit applications can be filed. This fee, in the amount of CAD $230.00, must be paid electronically through the CIC Pay Your Fees Please note that this new fee is in addition to, and captured separately from, the standard work permit processing fee that all applicants must still pay.

Proceeds from this new fee will help fund the increased efforts of the Canadian government to ensure that employers remain compliant with immigration rules and regulations.

2. Upon payment of the new Compliance Fee, employers will receive a receipt number and will then be required to submit a new application form to the Canadian authorities (also before the work permit application can be filed). This new form (titled the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment [LMIA], IMM5802), requires details of both the sponsoring company and the employee’s assignment.

Please note, the Employer Compliance Fee receipt number will be needed to complete the Offer of Employment application form. Completed forms will be submitted electronically to the CIC and a copy should be included in the employee’s application package.

3. The foreign employee will then be able to proceed with his/her Work Permit application either through the Canadian Consulate abroad for visa nationals, or at the Canadian Port-of-Entry/airport for visa-wavier nationals. A copy of the completed Offer of Employment form should be included in the employee’s application package in addition to the standard document requirements.

It is important to note that the above process applies to all employer-specific, LMIA-exempt work permit applications including, but not limited to, Intra-Company Transfer and Free Trade Agreement (e.g. NAFTA) permits issued both at Canadian Consulates abroad and at a Canadian Port-of-Entry or airport. Foreign nationals applying for “open” work permits (i.e. permits that allow the applicant to work for any Canadian employer) are not subject to these changes; however, an additional processing fee of CAD $100.00 has been introduced for these categories.

Finally, should an employer-specific, LMIA-exempt work permit application be denied or should the employer wish to withdraw the work permit application after submitting the Offer of Employment form but before the application has been filed, CIC will refund the Employer Compliance Fee per the standard refund guidelines.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Employers who utilize work permits through the ICT and/or Free Trade Agreement streams should take careful note of these changes to procedures, fees, and document requirements. Employers should also be mindful that these changes must be completed during the pre-application stages of the overall immigration process.

Applicants may see slightly slower processing times for work permit applications as the Canadian authorities streamline their own processes and become more comfortable with the new application form. Employers utilizing LMIA-exempt work permits to bring in foreign talent should take note of the new fees and additional pre-application steps and requirements. Pro-Link GLOBAL can assist with all stages of these new procedures.

Finally, employers should continue to make all efforts to remain compliant with immigration rules and regulations in Canada. As mentioned above, the additional Employer Compliance Fee will go towards funding CIC’s increased focus on ensuring that “all employers, whether they are hiring LMIA-exempt foreign nationals or temporary foreign workers through the LMIA process…, will face the same level of scrutiny in their hiring and treatment of foreign workers.[1]” This not only means increased document requirements and procedural changes as outlined in this Global Brief, but additional compliance measures such as on-site inspections and audits performed by the immigration authorities. 

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Knowledge Management team.

Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials.

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[1] Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/notices/2015-02-09.asp