Soon-to-expire 4-year limit on LMIA-based work permits will not affect high-skilled foreign workers

3 Mar 15

CANADA

IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? A four-year time limit on certain lower-skilled foreign workers will expire on April 1.

What does the change mean? The April 1 expiration date does not affect companies sponsoring foreign workers in professional or managerial positions. It only affects foreign workers with Labor Market Opinion (LMO) or Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-based work permits in lower skill levels working continuously since April 1, 2011; they will no longer be able to obtain an LMIA.

  • Implementation timeframe: April 1 and after.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits in the LMO and LMIA categories.
  • Who is affected: Companies who sponsored foreign nationals for LMO (now LMIA) positions in nonprofessional skill levels.
  • Business impact: Theexpiration of the four-year time limit will impact only occupations requiring less than a university degree where the employee has been in Canada continuously under an LMO work permit since April 1, 2011.

Background: Foreign nationals with LMO-based work permits in skill levels B, C and D are subject to a four-year time limit imposed on April 1, 2011 that will expire April 1 of this year. Many foreign skilled workers fall under skill level A, which covers those with a university degree, and thus are not affected by the four-year restriction. The time limit also does not affect LMIA-exempt permits. Skill levels are based on Canada’s National Occupational Classification codes.

BAL Analysis: Companies that recruited foreign nationals in the high-skilled LMO-based or LMO-exempt categories do not have to take action. Foreign nationals in the lower-skill levels who have worked in Canada continuously for four years will not be eligible for another LMIA-based work permit. In addition, companies should be aware that the recent LMIA overhaul has made it extremely difficult to obtain LMIA-based work permit renewals.

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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