A recent Access to Information Request (ATIP) to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) obtained by CIC News shows that the department is considering a new method of processing work permits for some foreign workers.
The measure, which was proposed in December 2022, would apply to foreign workers who already have a Canadian work permit and are applying for another permit to continue working in the same occupation for the same employer.
IRCC has not confirmed this information so it remains to be seen whether it will go ahead with this proposal.
IRCC’s plan to reduce inventories
The proposal is part of an IRCC Action Plan to reduce inventories, improve client service and expedite the reduction of labour shortages in Canada. It also falls into the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) mandate to simplify work permit renewals for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
The new process would involve daily application pulls by the Global Case Management System (GMCS) into specific folders. IRCC says the process will not be automated.
Normally, processing involves an officer individually evaluating each work permit applicant to determine if they are approved. This includes a review of the applicant’s experience, education, language ability and any licensing requirements.
The officer will also assess if the offer of employment is genuine. They do this by checking if the employer is actively engaged in their business, if they can pay employee wages and that they are compliant with federal and provincial employment laws.
The new approach will apply to any applicant who is returning to the same employer and occupation whether they are applying from in Canada or abroad.
Who is eligible?
Data from the ATIP shows that between January 2017 and August 31, 2022, IRCC received 71,955 applications from foreign workers who were issued two or more work permits with the same employer and occupation, so the department expects that the proposed measures will be beneficial.
Candidates must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- They need to be issued an employer-specific work permit once in the past five years with no discrepancies from the previous application
- They must submit a complete work permit application for a new employer-specific work permit
- They must return to the same occupation, with the same National Occupation Classification (NOC) code
- They need to provide biometrics, either prior to or with their new application
- They must meet all other admissibility requirements throughout the screening process
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Canada’s temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) helps Canadian employers hire employees when they are not able to find qualified, or enough qualified employees for vacant positions.
Employees who arrive under the TFWP have closed work permits. This means they are only able to work for one employer in Canada.
Most employers who choose to hire through the TFWP need to get a positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This document is submitted to ESDC and outlines the employer’s plan to hire, and why they need to hire, foreign workers. It must demonstrate that hiring foreign workers will have a positive, or neutral, impact on Canada’s economy.
Employers need to provide evidence that they tried to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill the vacant job positions before seeking foreign workers.
Additionally, employers may be inspected for compliance with government regulations after their employee has begun working in Canada.