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!