Federal Skilled Workers Program changes its Regulations


Recently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has changed its regulations on the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP). Instead of seeking an Arranged Employment Opinion (AEO) from Human Resources and Skilled Development Canada (HRSDC), Canadian employers who wish to hire foreign workers on a permanent and full-time basis must now request a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). As the new measure becomes effective starting on March 8th this year, employers should be aware of the differences between the two evaluations.

When Canadian employers hire workers from abroad on a permanent and full-time basis, they must undergo a few steps to bring their desired employees into the country. First, they need to obtain a LMO from HRSDC, proving that the foreign worker can generate a positive impact on the Canadian economy, and that there is a shortage of Canadian domestic labour in the foreign worker’s area of expertise. If the LMO is positive, then the employee can apply for a visa and permanent residence status through CIC.

The newly introduced LMO is more rigorous in labour market assessment than the AEO, because it considers whether the skill sets of a prospective immigrant meet the current labour shortages in Canada. In other words, a Canadian employer must demonstrate that there is a very limited number of domestic workers available for the particular employment in order to obtain a positive result on the LMO for a foreign employee.

Although the application process is more onerous on Canadian employers, it can be beneficial to both Canadian and foreign workers. Since problems of labour shortages need to be solved urgently, CIC may allocate more resources to processing LMOs, thereby speeding up the immigration process. CIC is also concerned about the equality in wages between Canadian and foreign workers to avoid exploitation and to protect Canadian workers by preventing wages to be driven down by foreign employment.

Furthermore, CIC states that employers whose AEOs are received prior to March 8th will be asked to update their applications. Although AEOs are accepted until May 4th this year, those received between March 8th and May 4th will be returned to the employers with instructions on how to apply for a LMO. It is important to note that the change does not affect applications to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) which continues to accept LMOs.
Changes in the Canadian immigration system occur frequently, and some applicants are oblivious to the changes until their applications are affected. Hence, employers are encouraged to seek professional legal advice from a Canadian immigration lawyer to ensure that their applications are in a good condition to be processed without delays. FWCanada is a Montreal based Canadian immigration law firm. For more updates and tips on Canadian immigration, like FWCanada on Facebook, and follow the firm on Twitter.

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