Last Updated on January 24, 2019
Changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program have resulted in a substantial drop in the number of Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) issued to foreign workers. Figures show that just 40,000 LMIAs were issued in 2014, compared to more than 200,000 in 2012.
Of the approximately 52,000 LMIA applications filed in 2014, 11,200 applications were refused. Experts believe the primary cause of the decline is the non-refundable $1,000 CAD application fee the government introduced.
Employers seeking to hire foreign workers are required to apply for an LMIA and demonstrate there is a need for the foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available. Employers are also required to include a transition plan to hire Canadians.
Critics feel the numbers portray the government’s success in cracking down on the abuse of the TFW program. It received heavy criticism for approving the hiring of foreigners in the face of increasing unemployment in Canada following the recession of 2009.
Other critics highlight that the reduced numbers are misleading because thousands of foreign workers were arriving in Canada through other streams. One such stream is the International Mobility Program, which is administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and does not require LMIAs for work permits.
Out of the total 40,000 LMIAs approved in 2014, about half were allocated to businesses in B.C. and Alberta, and the rest (about 15,000) to Ontario companies. A large number went to workers in the food service sector, caregivers, farming workers, and temporary personnel in the entertainment industry.
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