Many Canadian companies face ongoing labour shortages in a variety of positions. The frustration of their recruiters and HR professionals is palpable, for despite offering above average wages, group benefits and other perquisites of employment, finding quality personnel to fill vacancies is harder than ever for some professions. One possible solution is often overlooked.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) has announced two new categories of work permits exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment requirement, pursuant to Section 205 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. These work permits apply to: (1) foreign nationals whose work is essential to a television or film production and would create and maintain significant economic benefits and opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents; and (2) foreign nationals working in dance (i.e. ballet, contemporary), opera, orchestra, and live theatre, whose work contributes to competitive advantages and reciprocal benefits for all Canadians. CIC has also clarified its business visitor guidance to confirm that foreign nationals who are employed as film producers, essential personnel for commercial (i.e. advertising) shoots, and film and recording studio users may now seek admission under the business visitor category.
There have been many changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) over the last year, with an emphasis on employer compliance, including respect of actual salaries paid.
On December 8, 2012, CIC published proposed regulations that will authorize the collection and use of biometric data from certain foreign nationals. Starting in 2013, temporary resident visa, study permit, and work permit applicants from certain visa-required countries and territories who seek to enter Canada will be required to have their biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) collected overseas before arriving in Canada.
Foreign nationals who hold work permits in Canada sometimes wonder what will happen to their immigration status if they quit their jobs or are terminated by their Canadian employers. Surprisingly, the termination of a foreign national’s employment does not automatically invalidate his or her work permit or underlying temporary resident status. However, foreign nationals who travel abroad after the termination of their employment might not be able to return to Canada even if their work permits technically remain valid.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has been providing guidance to foreign nationals seeking extensions of their work permits through CPC Vegreville, while waiting for an LMO or CAQ to be approved. According to CIC, if a foreign national is ready to submit a work permit application to CPC Vegreville, but is waiting for an LMO or CAQ, the application may still be submitted, but only within two weeks of the expiry date of his or her existing work permit. In addition, proof that the LMO/CAQ request was made must also be included with the application.
On July 4, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) issued Operational Bulletin 316 (the “Bulletin”). The Bulletin contains additional instructions regarding the assessment criteria that should be considered when adjudicating specialized knowledge intracompany transferee work permit applications.
On August 4, 2010, the governor-general-in-council published amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, which were expected to adversely affect many temporary foreign workers; these regulatory amendments became effective on April 1, 2011. On April 1, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) issued Operational Bulletin 275-C, which provides operational instructions to both CIC and the Canada Border Services Agency in relation to these recent regulatory amendments.
Last year, the governor-general-in-council published amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, which would affect the Temporary Foreign Worker Program; these amendments became effective on April 1, 2011. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has now announced new procedures that implement these amendments.
HR professionals are frequently asked whether a foreign national, who seeks to enter Canada in order to perform a specific task on behalf of their company, will require a work permit. If the proposed activity falls within the parameters of the business visitor category, no work permit will be necessary.
On occasion, Canadian HR professionals will be asked if one of their employees requires a work permit to enter the United States. The answer to this question depends on whether the proposed activity falls within the scope of the B-1 business visitor category. The problem lies in the lack of clear guidelines for B-1 business visitors and the considerable amount of discretion given to USCBP officers, who inspect foreign travelers seeking admission to the United States.
I previously reported that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) had posted a notice on its website stating that it would no longer process work permit extensions filed concurrently with pending Labour Market Opinion applications. In response to concerns raised by the Canadian Bar Association National Citizenship and Immigration Section, CIC has now provided further clarification of this notice.