Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”), which reserves the right to refuse processing of LMIA applications on both regulatory and public policy grounds, has recently added a new policy-based LMIA processing refusal category to its list.
Foreign workers seeking to fill high-wage, Alberta-based positions included on a list recently published by IRCC will no longer have their LMIA applications processed. The list of positions subject to the processing freeze, which includes civil and mechanical engineers, machinists, electricians, plumbers and carpenters, can be found here.
This policy move on the part of IRCC is a reaction to Alberta’s high unemployment rate and piggybacks the recently announced Employer Liaison Service in Alberta – a pilot program aimed at helping Alberta employers find domestic (rather than foreign) workers to fill open positions. According to Employment and Social Development Canada, the program will provide Alberta employers with comprehensive online tools to help them find domestic workers, online information services, and enhanced Alberta Ministry of Labour services.
If employers are planning to hire for Alberta-based positions included on the freeze list they should either be prepared to seek out domestic employees to fill the role or become familiar with alternatives to the LMIA process.
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