International mobility and labour market impact assessments

By Author: Admin | November 18, 2014

I recently attended a seminar on the “International Mobility” seminar, dealing with the entry of Foreign Nationals into Canada as temporary foreign workers.  The assessment of such workers has evolved.    Applications for Labour Market Impact Assessments, formerly known as Labour Market Opinions is down 74%.  Canada’s Immigration  Lawyers are too frustrated dealing with the progressively named Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the department that assesses whether there is a need for a temporary foreign worker.  To avoid that department, they instruct workers to apply for a work permit at the port of entry. 

Given the difficulties with ESDC, ports of entry are being approached with more work permit applications.  The problem is that there are not many categories one can avail themselves of the port of entry.  These categories generally include “intracompany transferee”, and “significant benefit”, as well as work permits allowed under reciprocal trade agreements such as NAFTA.  Port of entry officers seem to be preoccupied with issues such as the “prevailing wage” for a job in Canada, something which they should not be preoccupied with under NAFTA.

The intracompany transferee program is getting blurred by port of entry officers with the criteria for labour market impact assessments.  There are two types of intracompany transferee categories: specialized knowledge workers, and executive / senior management; some officers at ports of entry are questioning whether those persons with specialized knowledge are really necessary, and whether that specialized knowledge is available in the Canadian labour market  – this should not be posed by port of entry officers, especially in cases where there is proprietary knowledge that the foreign national is instructed to keep within the Canadian branch of the company.   Similarly, on the matter of Senior management port of entry officers are querying whether an executive is an executive (i.e. is the position one that can be held by someone else in the company, or if it not so widely held).

No doubt, there are negative economic consequences to Canadian employers if the movement of specialized knowledge workers cannot be facilitated.  For this reason, some foreign nationals seek entry under the “significant benefit to Canada” category.  This often consists of a foreign supervisor tasked with facilitating work for a significant amount of other Canadians which will maintain employment for Canadians.  This could also consist of a famous musician or actor providing spin-off benefits to the local economy – not a huge category.

There does exist in “temporary foreign worker unit” which is supposed to take the complex work off the hands of the port of entry officers and into the hands of presumably more knowledgeable workers at ESDC, but the processing time is such that Canadian employers are turned off by the slowness of the result and opt for the riskier port of entry route.

If you want to minimize the risks, and weigh the pros and cons, contact me.



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I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am an accomplished author and lecturer and am consulted by the media and other immigration lawyers and consultants on immigration matters and challenging immigration cases, appeals, and federal court matters.

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