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Canadian Work Permit Update: New Process and Fees Effective February 2015

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has new requirements for the issuance of work permits under the International Mobility Program. The International Mobility Program (IMP) covers categories of work permits that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. The IMP therefore includes intra-company transfers, free trade agreements such as NAFTA, Provincial Nominees, academics and researchers, and participants in the International Experience Canada program.

With some limited exemptions, starting on February 21, 2015, employers will need to submit employment and business information directly to CIC and pay a new $230 compliance fee, before a foreign national can obtain a new employer-specific work permit at a Port of Entry or through a Canadian visa office. These requirements will also apply to all work permit renewals.

There will also be a new $100 privilege fee required for most open work permit categories, including the International Experience Canada program, post-graduation work permits, and spouses of skilled temporary foreign workers. The $230 compliance fee and $100 privilege fee will be charged over and above the processing fee of $155 that is currently applicable to most work permits.

Why are new process and fees being introduced?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has confirmed that the $230 employer compliance fee is intended to provide funding for an expanded employer inspection and compliance regime. Employers will be required to provide information to CIC regarding the work being offered to foreign workers in a prescribed format in advance of the work permit application to facilitate its adjudication. The information provided by employers will also be subject to employer compliance measures after the work permit is issued. For example, employers should be ready for inspections or audits that ask whether an employer is providing “substantially the same” occupation, wages, and working conditions as initially offered to the foreign worker.

The $100 open work permit privilege fee is intended to fund further government research on the labour market of open work permit holders, as well as promotion of opportunities for Canadians to work abroad, and for foreign workers to transition to permanent residence.

How does the employer submit the required information to CIC?

Employers must complete a new form electronically, called the IMM 5802 Offer of Employment to LMIA Exempt Foreign National. Employers will be required to provide business information, details regarding the job offer and the foreign worker, and confirmation of the LMIA-exempt work permit category. Employers will also be required to sign an attestation confirming these details and then submit the form electronically to CIC. The employer must provide a copy of the Offer of Employment form to the foreign national for inclusion with the work permit application. Employers are also required to notify CIC via email if an offer of employment to a foreign national is subsequently withdrawn.

CIC set up an “Employer Portal” in 2015 for employers who hire foreign workers under the IMP, which would allow an employer to create a profile to submit and store information about their temporary foreign workers. This information would also be accessible to CIC to conduct compliance audits or inspections.

How to pay the new fees?

Employers will need to pay the new $230 compliance fee when they submit the above-described form online, and must provide the fee receipt number in the Offer of Employment form. A copy of the form should then be provided to the foreign national applying for the work permit to prove that these requirements are met.

Foreign nationals applying for open work permits must pay the new $100 fee, as applicable, when they submit their own open work permit applications.

By Meera Thakrar, Harris & Company LLP. This article is reprinted here with the permission from Harris & Company LLP. Please note that the above information does not constitute legal advice, and work permit program requirements are subject to change by CIC at any time.

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