Manager – HR Management: How to Reduce your Costs of Hiring Foreign Workers?

Most employers are aware that in almost all situations a foreign national must first obtain a work permit to be authorized to work.

However, a work permit is by definition temporary and does not automatically renew itself. Action must be taken before it expires to keep the employee employed. This is where difficulties can arise.

As professionals, we are regularly consulted dealing with a request for a renewal at the extreme limit of validity of an employee’s work permit.

Some forget, others believe that their spokesperson will automatically take care of it. Having questioned an employee and his employer about the reasons why they consulted me so late, the employee replied that he believed his employer would take care of the renewal and the employer thought his employee had already become a permanent resident.

What are the consequences?

The consequences of not leaving enough time to renew the foreign worker’s work permit can be very costly.

By not anticipating the application for the renewal of a work permit, the candidate may no longer be eligible for certain programs that are easier to apply for and are less expensive to apply for because they are exempted from the LMIA process. For example, a holder of a CSQ for a skilled worker can renew their two-year work permit by following a much more simplified process.

A renewal requested online at the last minute will also deprive the employee, during the processing time of their application, of the possibility of leaving Canada, in order to maintain their status as an implied status worker. The loss of profitability and the induced disorganization are also consequences for the employer of an employee who will likely have to travel to and stay in Montreal for several weeks!

In emergency situations, the lower cost solutions that we as lawyers can offer; such as reviewing renewal application packages and alternative billing methods, are not available when faced with renewing a work permit that expires the same day.

Other consequences can easily be imagined: employee uncertainty, stress, spouse’s status etc.

What can be done to overcome these situations?

The answer is a single word: anticipation! All employers should know the status of their foreign workers and have a copy of their permit. Creating a simple table with the following elements can avoid many disappointments:

  • Name of employee
  • Date of issuance of work permit
  • Work permit expiry date
  • Program (intra-group transfer C12, EIMT, EIC-young pro …)
  • Salary conditions
  • Position Title
  • Update (possible steps of permanent immigration of the employee, PEQ …)

This type of table will also make it possible to ensure that the working conditions offered to foreign employees are indeed those declared to the authorities and that they have not changed, thus justifying an application for the modification of their permit.

In addition, it is recommended to note in your professional schedule to discuss the renewal of the work permit with your employee three months before its expiry date. If you do not know how to proceed, take advice. A consultation might be all that is needed to guide you in your next steps.

Take advantage of the advice from this article to take a look at the work permits of your employees or ask them for a copy of their permits if you do not already have copies!


Employment of Foreign Workers: When an Inspection Occurs

As an employer of foreign workers, you are likely to be faced with an inspection by the authorities to verify that the salary conditions offered are the same as those declared when applying for the permit. What are the best practices to adopt in these cases?

A frequent source of consultation with a lawyer on temporary immigration by employers is the receipt of a letter from Service Canada (LMIA) or Immigration or from Refugees and Citizenship Canada (exempt from a LMIA), notifying the employer that they will be subject to a compliance review for one of their foreign workers.

The receipt of this type of letter should not generate any particular fear. Indeed, at this stage, the authorities do not necessarily suspect fraud. Many checks are carried out as part of a random verification of compliance, as provided for in section 209.5 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

The first recommendation is to ensure that the requested deadline is met. If you find the time limit too short, we suggest that you contact the authorities and explain why you need more time.

What are the authorities looking for?

The primary purpose of a compliance review is to ensure that the employer offers the foreign worker the conditions they declared to the authorities when hiring. They are not looking to trap or trick you.

Type of information typically requested:

  • Proof of payment of the declared hourly wage;
  • Respect for social benefits (insurance, pension fund, holidays, etc.) set out in the work permit application;
  • Work assignments assigned to the foreign worker (must be in accordance with the statement submitted in support of the LMIA application or work permit);
  • Evidence that the business has been and remains an active business.

To this effect, the following documents are most often required:

  • Copies of pay stubs;
  • Proof that the worker was able to take their vacation;
  • Copy of the worker’s insurance coverage (if applicable);
  • Proof of payment of any performance-based compensation (i.e. bonus)