Changes to Labour Market Opinion rules affecting the Work Permit program

Changes to Labour Market Opinion rules affecting the Work Permit program

The department of Employment and Social Development Canada (formerly known as “Service Canada” or “Human Resources and Skills Development Canada”) has announced changes to the assessment of Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) which must generally be obtained by Canadian employers before they can hire a foreign worker.

Effective July 31, 2013, the following new rules apply to LMO applications:

  • Processing fee of $275 for each position requested
  • English and French are the only languages which can be identified as a job requirement, unless employers can demonstrate that another language is essential for the job
  • Employers must advertise for at least 4 weeks before applying for an LMO
  • Advertising must be on the Job Bank plus two other advertising methods consistent with the industry – for skilled occupations one of these must be national in scope
  • Employers must also continue to actively seek qualified Canadians to fill the advertised positions until an LMO has been issued
  • Skilled workers must demonstrate an education level commensurate with the skill level of the occupation, ranging from bachelor degrees and college diplomas to apprenticeships, depending on the position
  • Skilled workers must meet licensing requirements where applicable

These new requirements are far more restrictive than the prior requirements for LMO applications, and will make it more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive for Canadian employers to fill labour shortages using foreign workers. The government rationalizes these new requirements as being necessary to further encourage employers to seek Canadian workers first before hiring foreigners, and to discourage the out-sourcing of Canadian jobs to foreign contractors.

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