New processes for obtaining LMIA-Exempt Work Permits

Beginning February 21, 2015, employers hiring foreign nationals who are exempt from the need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA, formerly Labour Market Opinion, LMO) are required to submit an additional application form and pay additional fees to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Temporary foreigner workers who are affected 

The following are some of the types of International Mobility Program temporary foreign workers who are affected:

1. Intra-Company Transferees;
2. those exempt from an LMIA under free trade agreements such as NAFTA;
3. those nominated pursuant to a Provincial Nominee Program; and
4. participants in the International Experience Canada Program (i.e. those on Working Holiday Permits).

The new process

As of February 21, 2015, a foreign national who is exempt from the need to obtain a LMIA will not be able to obtain an employer-specific Work Permit if the employer has not previously submitted a new application form: Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt From a Labour Market Impact Assessment (IMM 5802).

This requires the employer to disclose business information, describe the LMIA exemption sought, and explain why the exemption is applicable to the temporary foreign worker.

The new fees

The employer must also pay a $230.00 compliance fee in addition to the processing fee for a Work Permit, which is currently $155.00.

New fees for open work permits

The above-described process is not applicable to open Work Permits. However, CIC has introduced a new $100.00 privilege fee for most open Work Permit categories, including International Experience Class, Post-Graduate, accompanying spouses of skilled workers and students, and those foreign nationals who are already in Canada awaiting finalization of their Permanent Resident applications. The fee is paid at the same time as the Work Permit processing fee.

Non-compliance

The detailed information gathered in the new form may be used by CIC for future inspection purposes, and it is anticipated the filing fees will in part be used to fund more robust inspections of employers. If an employer is found to be non-compliant on an inspection, the employer could face monetary penalty, a ban from hiring temporary foreign workers, and possibly criminal investigation and prosecution.

If you have any questions regarding Canada’s temporary foreign worker program or any other Canadian immigration program, please contact Immigration Practice Group leader, Ingrid Tsui at 604-484-1746 or itsui@ahbl.ca.