What is the change? A few new provisions related to the new high-wage and low-wage streams for workers in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will take effect April 30.

What does the change mean? The changes are not expected to have a significant impact on companies employing high-wage foreign workers. The main changes affecting high-wage employers are that median wages will be slightly higher and a new form will be required for submitting Labour Market Impact Assessment applications. In addition, employers in Quebec must observe high-wage/low-wage streams for LMIAs.

  • Implementation time frame: April 30.
  • Visas/permits affected: LMIA-based work permits.
  • Who is affected: Companies sponsoring foreign employees in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program whose work permits require a positive LMIA.
  • Business impact: The new criteria may have a small impact on costs and only apply to new applications or subsequent applications seeking an LMIA to support a work permit extension.
  • Next steps: Employers should observe the new provincial/territorial median wage rates, but they do not need to adjust salaries of high-wage positions for approved LMIAs to meet the new median, except when applying for extensions.

Background: Canada introduced the high-wage and low-wage streams to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program last June. Under the new rules, high-wage positions are those paid at or above the provincial/territorial median hourly wage; low-wage positions are those paying below that wage.

Starting April 30, the program will begin using the most recent median wage rates from the 2014 Labour Force Survey. The median wages in most provinces have risen slightly compared with the 2013 survey.

Also on April 30, a new LMIA form must be used to hire a temporary foreign worker. Applications using the old form received after April 29 will not be processed and must be resubmitted using the new form. Employers in Quebec will begin to use the high- and low-wage scheme beginning April 30.

For employers with low-wage workers, the method for calculating the caps on low-wage workers will be based on the number of positions at a specific worksite, rather than on the total number of hours worked. Employers offering low-wage positions to foreign workers will be required to follow the requirements for the former low-skilled category.

BAL Analysis: The changes mostly affect employers of low-wage foreign workers and employers in Quebec. Companies sponsoring high-wage positions must observe slightly higher median wages for new and renewal LMIA applications as of April 30.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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