Canada eases access rules for temporary foreign workers

Canada eases access rules for temporary foreign workers

Canada eases access rules for temporary foreign workers

Canada has introduced measures to make it easier for Canadian employers to hire temporary foreign workers.

The Canadian government introduced the new measures to address labour shortages, with the country facing a low unemployment rate and high job availabilities at the same time.

The new measures will allow Canadian employers to hire skilled migrants under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in situations where no Canadians are available to do the work.

According to a media release, the new measures to relax rules for Canadian employers accessing foreign workers under the TFWP are meant to help Canada build its workforce.

The Canadian government announced five major changes to the TFWP:

  • Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) will now be valid for 18 months instead of nine;
  • The maximum employment duration for High Wage and Global Talent Stream workers will be extended to three years from two;
  • The Seasonal Cap Exemption will become permanent and no longer limit the number of low-wage positions that employers in Canada’s seasonal industries can fill through TFWP;
  • Employers in sectors that have demonstrated labour shortages will be able to hire up to 30 per cent of their workforce through TFWP for low-wage positions with a duration of one year;
  • Abolishment of the policy that automatically refuses LMIA applications for low paying occupations in Canada’s food and accommodation services and retail trade sectors in regions having an unemployment rate of at least 6 per cent.

Of these five changes announced by Canada, the first three will be effective immediately, with the latter two coming into effect from April 30, 2022.

LMIAs are documents that show the Canadian government that employing a foreign worker will not have an adverse effect on the labour market.

Before the pandemic, LMIAs had a validity period of six months, which has now been extended to 18.

Moreover, extending the maximum employment duration for Global Talent Stream and High Wage skilled migrants will allow them to qualify for an increased number of pathways for Canadian residency. This would also enable them to contribute to Canada’s workforce in the long term.

Furthermore, the maximum employment duration for low-wage positions will also be increased to 270 days from 180.

Then from April 30, 2022, Canadian employers in sectors with labour shortages will be allowed to hire temporary skilled migrants for one year. The eligible sectors include food manufacturing, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, accommodation and food services, construction, wood product manufacturing, and furniture and related product manufacturing.

Canada is suffering from an extensive labour shortage. According to Statistics Canada, in November 2021, the vacancies in Canadian sectors were as follows:

  • Accommodation and Food Services – 130,070 vacancies;
  • Health Care and Social Assistance – 119,590 vacancies;
  • Retail Trade – 103,990 vacancies;
  • Manufacturing – 81,775 vacancies.

Last year, Canada approved around 5,000 positions under the Global Talent Stream and 23,000 positions in the High Wage stream under the TFWP – the total representing around 21 per cent of all approved LMIA positions for 2021.