During Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Employment and Social Development (ESDC) Minister Jason Kenney’s June 20 press conference in Ottawa, Alexander announced a number of changes to Canada’s International Mobility Program.
While the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program announced by Kenney seem to be stealing the spotlight, Alexander also introduced a number of reforms to the International Mobility (IM) Programs. The first main announcement made during the press conference was the separation of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program and the International Mobility Program and their division among federal departments. While the TFW program will continue be handled by ESDC, the International Mobility program will fall under the purview of Chris Alexander’s Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
The International Mobility programs refer to those programs where individuals do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). There are a number of streams of the International Mobility program, including the Working Holiday program (International Experience Canada). Alexander announced that the bilateral international mobility agreements Canada has with other countries are set to be reviewed in the near future to ensure that they are providing a benefit for Canadians.
Alexander distinguished between the TFW program and the newly named IM programs, noting that the IM programs provide a clear benefit to Canada and to Canadians. Reciprocal opportunities for travel, generating national income, and giving Canada a competitive advantage were all cited as benefits of the program.
He also followed Kenney’s lead by introducing requirements to make employers using these programs more accountable. Like the changes to the TFW worker program, 25% of employers using the International Mobility programs can expect inspections by Service Canada. Administrative and monetary penalties could be imposed for employers who are not in compliance with the program. Employers will also be made more accountable through the requirement that job offers for LMIA exempt foreign workers be submitted to CIC for verification.
Alexander also announced the introduction of a privilege fee of $100 for open work permit applications, and a fee of $230 for employers using the IM programs. These fees will be used to contribute to better data collection, increasing awareness about the opportunities of international mobility program among Canadians, and providing information about transitions to permanent residence.
The Minister also announced the previously released guideline changes for international company transfers, noting a newly imposed wage floor and the evolved definition of “specialized knowledge,” which intend to ensure that the program is not being used to give foreign workers jobs that Canadians could be trained in. The wage floor regulation means that applicants for intra-company transfers must now demonstrate that the salary they are being offered is above the current prevailing wage level for that profession. The applications will now also be assessed using a more restrictive definition of specialized knowledge, which requires the applicant to have both advanced expertise and a high level of proprietary knowledge. Details about the changes to the intra-company transferee program can be found here.
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