With the LMIA High Wage and Global Talent Stream (GTS) programs continuing to operate despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of temporary foreign workers to the Canadian economy is undeniable! As part of the qualifying requirements, employers must work in collaboration with the government to either develop a ‘Transition Plan’ under the High Wage stream or a ‘Labour Market Benefits Plan’ under GTS. While both plans are supposed to result in the increase of Canadians or Permanent residents employed in Canada, there are a number of requirements unique to each program which will be explored below.
Employers who want to hire temporary workers in high-wage positions must submit a Transition Plan as part of their LMIA application and must promise to recruit, retain and train Canadians or Permanent residents and lessen their reliance on temporary foreign workers. As such, employers must prove how they will ‘transition’ from a foreign workforce to a Canadian workforce in the span of temporary workers’ employment.
The Transition Plan requirements necessitate that employers must either carry out three separate activities to recruit, retain and/or train Canadians or permanent residents in the stated occupation and one additional activity targeting candidates within underrepresented groups (e.g. new immigrants, Indigenous people, people with disabilities etc.) or a single activity to enable the permanent resident process for their existing temporary foreign workers. Once the activities are selected, employers must explain the details including their reasoning and the projected results for each activity.
It is also important to note that this requirement does not apply to certain occupations under the facilitated LMIA process (Quebec), caregiver or agricultural positions, positions with limited duration or positions requiring unique skills.
Labour Market Benefits Plan
Employers who want to hire highly skilled temporary workers under the Global Talent Stream must submit a Benefits Plan to prove their commitment to activities that will produce a continuing and positive impact on the Canadian labour market. This plan is supposed to assist employers with identifying and tracking their total job creation, skills and training investments which will benefit the Canadian economy through the hiring of these workers. In addition to these, employers must also commit to two complementary benefits including, but not limited to, providing paid co-op or internship opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents, providing direct training to Canadians or permanent residents, ensuring that the highly skilled foreign workers directly supervise and mentor Canadians or permanent residents etc.
In either case, it is undoubtable that the High Wage and GTS programs and the respective plans are the best way for employers to not only access highly skilled talent globally, but also foster the Canadian workforce given the high demand for certain occupations in the midst of this pandemic.
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