In 2023, Western Canada has experienced a significant rise in the number of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications. Employment and Social Development Canada released data revealing a 39% increase in LMIA applications in 2023 compared to the previous year, with Western Canada receiving 83% more applications.
This surge in LMIA applications, primarily attributed to an increasing number of employers seeking experienced workers, has caused a delay in processing times for work visas. While Yukon was the only territory with a reduction in applications, Nunavut topped the list with 535.7 applications followed by Northwest Territories (115.6), Manitoba (103.3), and Saskatchewan (103.2).
Alberta leads the way in processing time delays due to its lower number of applications for priority processing streams. The province takes the longest time to process applications, followed by Manitoba (53 days), NWT (50.3 days), and Saskatchewan (46.7 days). The majority of LMIA applications in Alberta are concentrated within agriculture and reoccurring agriculture worker streams.
Recognized Employer Pilot (REP)
To address this issue, the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) was introduced as part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in August 2022. This three-year pilot provides employers with a streamlined approach to access the TFWP regularly and fill high-demand positions from the REP job list while meeting the highest standards for working and living conditions as well as worker protection.
REP aims to offer simpler and easier access to labor for employers while providing more flexibility for the Canadian labor market. To be eligible for REP, employers must have received a minimum of three positive LMIA decisions over the past five years, meet or exceed good living conditions, highest working condition standards, better worker protection measures, and adhere to regular TFWP requirements.
This pilot program reflects Canada’s commitment to meeting growing labor demands while ensuring the best possible conditions for both domestic and international workers. As Western Canada continues to experience this heightened level of LMIA applications, the REP program will serve as a critical tool in balancing the needs of employers and workers alike.
To qualify for REP, employers must meet several criteria:
- Receive at least three positive LMIA decisions within the past five years when hiring TFWs for positions listed in the REP occupations list.
- Demonstrate a history of maintaining the highest working condition, living condition, and worker protection standards through their engagement with the TFWP.
- Agree to comply with regular TFWP requirements.
The REP is being implemented in two phases:
- Phase 1: Employers looking to fill positions on the Phase 1 occupations list can start applying from September 2023.
- Phase 2: Applications for this phase will be accepted starting January 2024.
Service Canada will no longer accept new applications for REP starting September 2024; however, enrolled employers can continue submitting requests for positions on the REP occupations list using a simplified LMIA application process.
By accommodating select employers through a straightforward hiring process, The Recognized Employer Pilot shows promising potential to enhance Canadian labor market accessibility and flexibility while ensuring robust worker protections remain in place.
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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, exclusively written and published by IntraSource. The published information is sourced from various trusted platforms, such as news agencies and online media, mainly the Government of Canada and Canadian online media/websites, and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. IRCC’s requirements may change, so consult a lawyer/s and receive professional advice before making decisions or applications.