Dealing with employers on a daily basis, we would like to address some of the common questions and misconceptions we often face.





1) Doesn’t it take a year to bringing in a foreign worker?

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Under the current (May 2015) Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) procedure [Service Canada hyperlink], employers are to advertise the position for a minimum period of four consecutive weeks. We note that while in some industries advertising the position for a period of four weeks may not be sufficient, Service Canada officers typically acknowledge the shortage of qualified workers in the IT sector. While the advertising is in process, TECHMIND will prepare the LMIA application package which will be sent out as soon as the four week period is complete. More than 90% of our clients apply for permanent LMIAs, which means they are offering a permanent job. Currently permanent employment LMIA applications are processed within ten days of the application package being received by a Service Canada officer, provided the application package is complete. This means that an employer can receive a positive LMIA within one and a half months. Once an LMIA is received, visa exempt employees (such as nationals of Israel or Western Europe) can fly directly to Canada and apply for a work permit at a point of entry. If a candidate requires a visa (Ukrainian and Belarusian nationals), they need to apply for a work permit prior to coming to Canada. Our Ukrainian and Belarusians employees are typically able to get their work permit applications processes within six weeks. Upon approval of the application and issuance of a visa, an employee can fly to Canada and have the work permit issued at a point of entry.

2) What about IT professionals who are LMIA exempt?

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Employers who hire foreign workers through the International Mobility Programs such as NAFTA do not require an LMIA. We take care of the entire process in behalf of the employer and prepare an Offer of Employment, made to a foreign national exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessment. This form is accompanied by Employer Compliance fee payment and, once acknowledged via online process by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Offer can be used by a prospective employee to obtain a work permit at any Canadian Port of Entry or respective Visa Office abroad (depending on employee’s nationality). Moreover for British Columbia and Ontario the following positions enable the employer to apply for an LMIA without going through the advertising process: 1) Software Engineers and Designers (NOC 2173), such as application and software architects as well as software engineers and designers; and 2) Graphic Designers and Illustrators (NOC 5241) such as 3D animation, commercial and graphic artists and illustrators. This means that a the processing time for a permanent employment LMIA application for the above noted occupations can take as little as fifteen days.

3) How is employing a foreign worker different from employing a Canadian citizen or permanent resident?

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With some limited exceptions, only citizens and permanent residents of Canada automatic right to work in Canada.  All others, including people coming from countries which do not require entry visas, require work permits to work in Canada. Once the employee comes to Canada, he will receive a temporary Social Insurance Number, will be on the same payroll and have the same employment rights as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. As with local workers, employers needs to follow all applicable provisions of the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) as well as other applicable laws and regulations. Specifically, the employer must comply with standards related to how wages are paid,  overtime is calculated, meal breaks, statutory holidays, annual leave, family leave, benefits and recourse under the terms of the ESA. Employers are still required to remit worker income deductions to the Canada Revenue Agency (in Quebec, also to Revenu Québec) as prescribed by law (including, but not limited to Employment Insurance, Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan). The employee is responsible for filing his own personal income tax just like any local employee.

4) What if I decide to terminate the employment?

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There is no difference between terminating a foreign worker and a domestic worker. Termination is governed by the ESA and the employment contract.  When firing a foreign worker, employers must abide by employment legislation and provide adequate notice or payment in lieu of notice.  You are able to terminate employment at any time irrespective of the validity of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) or the work permit.  Having an employee on a work permit does not mean the employer is obligated to maintain the employment relationship for the duration of the work permit.

5) Can a Foreign Worker change employers?

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A foreign worker on a closed work permit (the type of work permit that is issued pursuant to an LMIA or LMIA exempt offer of employment, made by a specific employer) will not be able to change jobs unless the new employer is willing to undergo the LMIA process.