People may not know just how significant the interaction is between employment and immigration law. Few areas reflect this more than Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) and their associated rules and regulations. For employers, it’s best to know what the wage requirements are within the LMIA process as it has a huge impact on the successful navigation of temporary immigration matters.
For example, the wage offered for the position an employer is hiring for will determine if an employer needs to apply for an LMIA under the stream for high-wage positions or the stream for low-wage positions. This is critical since each category has its own requirements.
If, for example, an employer is offering a wage to a temporary foreign worker, that is:
- at or above the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, they must apply under the stream for high-wage positions;
- below the provincial or territorial median hourly wage, they must apply under the stream for low-wage positions.
Differences Between the Different Income Streams
There are major differences between low-wage and high-wage streams that every employer and employee should know about. Here are some of them:
- Longer Processing Times – Depending on what stream application was submitted, the processing times differ greatly. Typically, low-wage applications are subject to longer processing times due to a number of reasons. It would normally take about 128 days of processing time for low-wage applications compared to high-wage streams that are processed within 85 business days.
- Caps – For employers hiring via the low-wage stream, you should know that there is a cap on the proportion of foreign workers that you can hire into those low-wage positions. To restrict access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) while ensuring that Canadians are always considered first for available jobs, the Government of Canada has introduced this limitation. Employers with ten or more employees applying for a new LMIA are subject to a cap of ten percent on the proportion of their workforce that can consist of low-wage temporary foreign workers. High-wage applications, on the other hand, are not subject to this cap.
- Recruitment – Under the low-wage stream, employers are required to specifically target underrepresented groups as part of their advertising. Again, the high-wage stream isn’t required to do this. However, due to the economic impacts of COVID-19 several changes have been made regarding recruitment.
- Job Match – Both the high-wage and low-wage LMIA streams require that employers use the Canada Job Bank’s “Job Match” service to attempt to recruit Canadians/permanent residents to fill the position. When seeking to fill a high-wage position, employers are required to invite all job seekers matched within the first 30 days of their job advertisement to apply for the position if they are rated four stars or more. The same can be said with low-wage positions, but the requirement is a rating of two stars.
- Transportation – When it comes to transportation, an employer must pay for the round-trip transportation costs for the foreign worker to come to Canada begging to work and to return to their country of residence at the end of the work period. This is for low-wage streams only and not for high-wage streams.
This is just an overview of some of the differences in the different income streams regarding immigration and employment. Canada’s immigration laws contain far more complex processes that can be discussed in a separate post.
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