Guide for Employers
If you are seeking to employ foreign workers, this Hiring Guide is a great place to start!
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Employing a Temporary Foreign Worker - Canadian employers have a definitive need for foreign workers who are willing and able to perform the tasks required in various positions. In addition, there is a considerable need for immigration to Canada as our population is quickly headed in a direction of negative growth. As an employer of a Temporary Foreign Worker, you play an important role in both filling labour shortages and helping new Canadians to become part of the fabric of Canada.
We know that many employers are hiring foreign workers for the first time and their most frequently asked questions centre around being prepared for the foreign worker’s arrival in Canada. However, the biggest question of all, and the most amazing thing about Canadian employers is that they consistently want to know if the foreign worker will be happy, and how they can facilitate this.
This guide seeks to provide information surrounding your obligations to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) as an employer of Temporary Foreign Workers, as well as what you can do to prepare for the foreign worker’s arrival and to facilitate their transition to Canada so that they can easily become an integral part of your team.
We have also included a few tips from our personal experience and although we can’t tell you if the foreign worker will be happy in Canada, we feel that facilitating a smooth transition is a great step in the right direction.
Employer Legal Responsibilities (Summary) The following is a summary of the employer’s legal responsibilities as an employer of a Temporary Foreign Worker.
You must pay the TFW the provincial and territorial Median Wage for the National Occupation Code (NOC) for which you have applied for an LMIA. The median wage is posted on the national employment site, Job Bank.
For some LMIA (low skill, primary agriculture, seasonal) you are required to bear the expense of travel to and from Canada
For some LMIA (low skill, primary agriculture, seasonal) you are required to provide housing.
For some LMIA (low skill, primary agriculture, seasonal) you are required to provide health insurance until provincial benefits begin. This varies by province since some provinces start healthcare from the moment the foreign worker starts their position in Canada and others have a three-month waiting period.
You may not recuperate the cost of the LMIA assessment or other advertising expenses from the Temporary Foreign Worker.
The Temporary Foreign Worker should complete the duties in their job description and should not be doing any other positions. For example, your swine technician should not be your housekeeper during off-hours. This is very important during an inspection. The officers do not see grey areas despite this being the norm in many Canadian businesses. The candidate should be performing the duties of their position as described in the LMIA submission and the national occupation code.
Your Temporary Foreign Worker is guaranteed at minimum the hours listed in the contract.
You may be inspected by ESDC. Your foreign worker’s paystubs should reflect the contract that you have entered into with the TFW, the duties and the hours should be reflective of the contract into which you have entered with the TFW.
Tip #1 - You need to teach your TFW how to walk on ice and how to deal with frozen double-ended snaps. We are not kidding! Many will have never seen winter and these things that we take for granted are very abnormal for someone who has never experienced the cold.
Termination - If for some reason the TFW is not a good fit and you have come to the decision that you must end the working relationship, you may terminate them. You should abide by the laws of your province concerning notice and pay. If this is an agricultural LMIA then you must also arrange for and pay for the flight back to the TFW’s nation of residence or citizenship. We find that typically the issues that arise at the beginning have a way of working themselves out. This can be a difficult transition so please give it some patience and time.
Immigration Station Canada will assist employers to prepare for the arrival of the TFW by providing the following information surrounding the TFW’s arrival. Please call if you need more information or wish to discuss anything. We are here to support you in any way we can, even if it is just to be an ear.
Arrival and Quarantine
Transportation Driver’s License and Automobile
Multiple Entry Visas
More About COVID
1. Arrival and Quarantine (if required)
Depending on the LMIA stream through which you have hired a TFW you may be required to pay for the flight to and from the foreign worker’s country of origin. In situations where you are supporting permanent residency from the onset, you are not obligated to pay this fee. However, in some circumstances employers will pay for the flight and the employee will return the fees once they are working in Canada. In this case, we recommend getting flight insurance so that you may be refunded for the flight should something go wrong. If you require assistance with booking a flight I can connect you with an agent or you can look online. If you can get a direct flight (depending on where the candidate is coming from) it can avoid having to procure additional transit permissions. This is not always possible if the candidate is coming from further away.
Currently, all employees who arrive by air are subject to PCR testing and potential quarantine if the test is positive. However, this is changing and we must check back regularly to have the most up to date information. Please contact us if you have questions.
Tip# 2 - Your staff will need good winter boots. A cold team member is a useless team member and TFW’s coming from warm climates will not know how to dress.
In some circumstances, you are required to provide housing and to have your housing inspected. This is generally the case for an agricultural stream LMIA but not for a low wage, high wage or permanent residency supporting LMIA stream. Please keep in mind that there is a difference between Low Skill, High Skill, Low Wage and High Wage LMIAs. You may have a highly skilled candidate in a low-wage position. This precludes you from having to provide housing because the high-skill position has a median wage that is sufficient for the candidate to live. However, consider that the TFW s coming to Canada with zero support structures so they may need some assistance to get going on this journey. Also, the TFW is not required to live in your housing if they don’t want to, despite your obligation, in some circumstances to provide it. If they want to live elsewhere they may and you do not have to provide housing in this instance.
4. Transportation Driver’s Licenses and Automobile
If you are outside of town, or the candidate must drive to work then you will need to consider transportation. This is not a requirement but it is important. Consider that the candidate is setting up in an entirely new country, they will have spent considerable amounts on immigration, medicals, police reports, possibly travel and more so they may not have sufficient funds to purchase a car. Their international driver’s license is valid for 60 days in Ontario and then they must obtain an Ontario or other provincial license. This varies from province to province. Candidates from some countries will have a license that is directly transferable. If not, they may self declare one year of experience using their existing license and will have to do a driver’s test so that they may drive. Those who have had a license for less than a year will have to go through the full graduated licensing.
5. Health Insurance
The TFW will arrive without medical insurance and may need some for the first few months they arrive. This requirement is currently being waived but this may change.
*Updated for COVID-19 - The provincial government has waived the three-month waiting period for medical insurance. The foreign worker may apply for OHIP at a Service Ontario location, or online at the following link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/documents-needed-get-health-card
6. SIN Number
At times the TFW will be issued a SIN number at the airport when they arrive. If this does not happen then you can apply for one at a Service Canada location near you. They will provide a temporary number immediately so that you may apply for OHIP and other services.
The TFW will usually arrive with a phone and wifi capability but will need to obtain a phone number and phone plan. We have had success with fido or Kudo because they are inexpensive. Some companies provide a company telephone.
8. Bank Account
The TFW will need a bank account when they arrive. This should be a priority once they have their SIN number. They will also need an employment letter from you. We have included a template. CIBC tends to be very friendly with newcomers and provides them with a credit card immediately if they have a full-time job.
9. Multiple Entry Visa
If the TFW is beginning a second LMIA with you they will need a new multiple entry visa. This visa is given out automatically with the first work permit but not with subsequent permits. This is a separate application from the work permit.
10. Permanent Residency
The TF will in many cases be seeking to remain in Canada permanently. They will be hoping to achieve their goal of permanent residency through the Canadian Express Entry program, or Provincial Nomination Program. They may need your help with aspects of this process. Your help may include an additional LMIA, employer support through a job offer for a provincial program and more. If you have questions about helping the foreign worker with their goal of becoming a permanent resident please let us know.
11. Family Members
The TFW will likely arrive without their family. They may at some point wish to have their family join them. Many TFW’s in more skilled positions are eligible for their spouse to apply for an open work permit. They may require your support for this application such as a letter of employment, a letter demonstrating they have a home and other things that demonstrate support of the foreign worker.
Tip #3 Canada is a very unique working environment with a very level playing field when it comes to employers and staff. Foreign workers may have come from a considerably different culture and it may take them time to adjust to their new environment and culture.
12. Updates on COVID-19, Quarantine, Vaccines and Audits
We will updated this guide with the most current information as it becomes available to us. We will also provide a copy of your LMIA that you should keep on file in case you experience an audit. If you are audited, please contact us.
Immigration Station Canada is available to answer your questions. We are here to support you and your new employees with your immigration queries and your planning for the future and the potential for permanent residency.
Finally, our goal is to support our client every step of the way so please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions about your LMIA process.
Book an Immigration Consultation
Book a professional consultation with Annie (Anne C. McCaughey) to get started with a customized immigration plan. Annie is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant who will be able to provide advice and a plan for moving ahead with your immigration goals. A consultation is 30 minutes via call or video call, followed by a detailed email with further information to help you on your journey.