Recent Access to Information Requests (ATIPs) received for Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) CIC Updates Shows 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 a second 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 follow through on this proposal.
IRCC plans to reduce inventory
The proposal is part of an IRCC action plan aimed at reducing inventories, improving customer service and accelerating the reduction of labor shortages in Canada. It also falls under the mandate of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to facilitate work permit renewal for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
The new process will include daily application pulls by the Global Case Management System (GMCS) into specific folders. IRCC says the process will not be automated.
Typically, an officer in processing individually evaluates each work permit applicant to determine whether they are approved. This includes a review of the applicant’s experience, education, language ability and any licensing requirements.
The officer will also assess whether the offer of employment is genuine or not. They do this by checking whether the employer is actively engaged in their business, whether they can pay employee wages and that they comply 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 Canada or abroad.
Who is eligible?
Data from 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 would be beneficial.
Candidates must fulfill the following criteria to be eligible:
- They need to have issued an employer-specific work permit once in the last five years, with no discrepancies from the previous application
- They must submit a completed work permit application for a new employer-specific work permit
- They should go back to the same business with the same National Occupation Classification (NOC) code
- They need to provide biometrics before or along with their new application
- They must meet all other admissibility requirements during the screening process
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) helps Canadian employers place workers when they are not able to find qualified, or not enough qualified workers for vacant positions.
Work permits have been discontinued for employees covered under the TFWP. This means that they are only able to work for one employer in Canada.
Most employers who choose to hire through the TFWP are required to obtain a positive or neutral Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This document is submitted to the ESDC and outlines the employer’s plans to recruit, and why they need to hire overseas workers. It must demonstrate that hiring foreign workers will have a positive or neutral effect on the Canadian economy.
Employers need to provide proof that they tried to find qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill open job positions before seeking foreign workers.
In addition, employers may be inspected for compliance with government regulations after employees begin working in Canada.