Canada creates fast track approval process for employers hiring temporary workers

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Canada announced this week that if businesses are frustrated by red tape and delays in hiring temporary immigrant workers they may be able to fast track their foreign worker visas.

Canada's Human Resources and Skills Development Minister, Diane Finley, announced that businesses with a two-year positive history of successfully hiring temporary foreign workers will be allowed to apply for fast-tracked hiring. A positive history means that the company has a consistent history of filing genuine and successful visa applications and have not violated any immigration rules. Finley also noted that businesses who violate the rules will have their ability to hire temporary foreign workers suspended for two years.

"Employers with a strong track record in need of high-skilled workers will be able to obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) within 10 business days," Finley said. "Even better news, this is effective immediately."

The fast tracked LMO process will initially apply to Canadian businesses hiring high-skilled immigrant workers.

Canadian employers are currently required in most cases to apply for a LMO before they can hire a foreign worker. This means the company must first prove that it has made an effort to recruit locally and within the country. If it has been unable to find workers, it must apply to Service Canada and receive permission to hire someone for a two-year period from outside the country.

However, recently many Canadian companies have complained about the backlog in Service Canada's processing of LMOs. Some have reported applications taking up to several months to process.

After a Canadian company is approved to hire from abroad, the workers recruited must then apply for a work visa through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. While this new process will help employers complete LMOs faster, this will not fast-track the actual visa applications that workers need to submit after the LMOs are approved.

The new system will also cut down on paperwork for businesses since they'll be able to apply online.

According to Finley, Canadian immigration expects to process about 150,000 temporary foreign worker applications this year.

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