Canadian employers looking to hire temporary foreign workers are now able to manage their LMIA applications online. The new pilot project comes amidst many calls from Canadian business leaders to upgrade the current Labour market impact assessment process for employers.
The online pilot will enable Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) employers to register for online access to manage their account, conduct transaction and liaise with Service Canada, the government’s website says.
The online portal will be accessible using the same login credential employers use to access the Job Bank for Employers. It will include an electronic questionnaire guiding the applicant through the completion of the LMIA application and tracking its progress. Applicants will be able to upload a supporting document, return to their saved LMIA application at any moment and view Service Canada decision letters.
For some years now, the Canadian business community has been calling for the Canadian government to reduce red tape and processing times around hiring a temporary foreign worker. Business development groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, have put forth numerous recommendations for improvement.
One of the first updates the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommended to the federal government in 2017 was to modernize LMIA applications by “encouraging the use of online applications with streamlined forms.”
This past month the CFIB published its own report on the concerns of small to medium-sized businesses with hiring foreign talents via TFWP process.
Corinne Pohlmann with CFIB described the process as “complicated, lengthy and expensive.” She stated that there are still many improvements to be carried out but the online system is some “good news.”
“I think this will be an improvement to what is in place, and hopefully we will get some clarifications in a much better way,” Pohlmann said.
Without the online system, Canadian employers are not able to track the applications and wait times are on average ten months. Many employers find it difficult to get answers to their questions.
In most cases, the LMIA is required where an employer wants to hire foreign workers. It proves the business tried recruiting Canadian workers before looking for talent abroad. It costs more than $1,000 to submit an application, this fee is nonrefundable even if the application is denied.
Employers are often not notified of the reasons for the denial and therefore can’t assess whether or not it is worthwhile to re-apply.
For Pohlmann, reducing waiting times and improving communications are some of the most important areas the government needs to implement.
“We’re calling for a holistic review of the LMIA process to understand: where the bottlenecks lie…reduce the complexity of the application, as well as ensure the government’s service is better in terms of feedbacks,” Pohlmann said.