Great news for enterprises that frequently hire foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program! Canada has recently introduced the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP), which is meant to tackle labour shortages and streamline the process for eligible employers looking to hire in-demand positions. Among other advantages, employers who demonstrate a history of complying with program requirements will benefit from a simplified Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application. Beginning on September 2023, the REP program is set to last for an initial 3-year trial period, slated to end in the fall of 2026.
Classically, an LMIA has served to confirm that no Canadian citizens or permanent residents are available to take up the position the employer is seeking to fill, validating the need to hire a temporary foreign worker. To employ a temporary foreign talent, majority of employers are required to obtain LMIA before proceeding with the work permit process for the worker. As the LMIA process is currently complex, involves a number of documents and can be lengthy, the federal government’s willingness to make the process more streamlined for trusted employers via REP is a step in the right direction.
Most important details about REP
To enroll in REP, employers must have obtained at least three Positive LMIAs for the same occupation within the last five years. These LMIAs should stem from a list of occupations marked as experiencing shortages, which is determined using data from the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS).
During the 3-year pilot program, employers who become recognized under REP will gain access to the following:
- Simplified process for future LMIA applications for positions on the COPS list;
- Fewer interactions between employers and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) during the assessment of the LMIA due to uncomplicated forms;
- Extended LMIA validity of up to 36 months; and
- Job bank designation signifying their recognized status under REP.
ESDC announced their goal is to assist eligible employers with planning for their staffing needs and help reduce the number of LMIA applications needed over the lifespan of REP (initially 3 years).
Primary agriculture employers will be able to start submitting applications under REP as soon as September 2023. Subsequently, all other employers will become eligible to apply from January 2024.
Applications for both streams will be accepted until September 2024. However, enrolled employers will be permitted to use a simplified LMIA process during the pilot period to hire additional temporary foreign workers for roles approved in previous LMIA assessments.
The employers who are using the Global Talent Stream (GTS) LMIA program are excluded from the REP. This mostly affects occupations within the engineering and tech sector. ESDC’s explanation to exclude GTS applications is that the stream already benefits from the expedited processing of LMIAs (within 10 business days). However, given that REP offers additional benefits to recognized employers, it would have been ideal to see that the GTS stream is also considered under the pilot REP program as well. This may be an extension the government would consider in the future if the pilot project be a successful one.
If you are looking for assistance on your immigration application or would like to explore your options in Canada, please reach out to us and we will be happy to assist. To stay tuned on the latest Canadian immigration updates, we recommend following our LinkedIn page.