Canadian Government Requires new LMOs and Work Permits to be Obtained for Changes to Salary, Working Conditions
Since April 2011, Service Canada, CIC and CBSA officers have been assessing applications for both new and extended temporary work permits and labour market opinions (LMOs) with increased scrutiny. In adjudicating each application, particular emphasis has been placed on whether the employing company has continued to pay their temporary foreign workers with wages and working conditions that have been ‘substantially the same’ as those offered in the original application.
With Canada’s recently updated regulations, employers are required to notify immigration authorities of any substantial changes to the salary, location, duties or other working conditions of their temporary foreign workers and, where such changes occur, apply for a new LMO and/or work permit accordingly.
For the first time since the new regulations were put into force, Service Canada has provided some insight into the precise parameters of what may constitute ‘substantially the same’. In a recent colloquium with immigration professionals, Service Canada advised that they will consider the following changes to be ‘substantial’:
- Changes in salary of 2% or more (this includes both decreases and increases in salary);
- Changes to scope of duties or work in Canada (particularly if the new position is classified under a new National Occupational Classification (NOC) code);
- Changes to work location; and
- Any other changes to the terms or conditions of the offer of employment
Where any of the above changes have occurred in the employment of a foreign national holding an LMO-based work permit, employers are recommended to apply for a new Labour Market Opinion prior to implementing the change.
Moving forward, Canadian authorities will also begin performing more ‘spot audits’ of companies hiring temporary foreign workers in Canada to ensure compliance. As part of such spot audits, companies will be requested to provide documents related to the employment of the company’s staff and temporary foreign workers. Employers must therefore ensure that they are keeping detailed and accurate records for all matters regarding the employment of temporary foreign workers, including copies of work permits, approved LMOs, payroll records, and tax documents.
For further information on Canada’s foreign worker program and compliance requirements, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.