Canadian Manufacturing

Employers hit with $275 fee for temporary foreign worker requests

Fee, other changes part of Ottawa's efforts to clamp down on abuse of foreign workers program

OTTAWA—The federal government is charging employers a $275 fee for applications made under its temporary foreign workers program as it continues to tinker with the controversial plan.

Pushed as a measure to ensure “Canadians get a first chance at available jobs,” Human Resources and Skills Development Canada announced it will charge employers $275 for each request submitted to import a temporary foreign worker.

“Qualified Canadians, including new Canadians, should have first crack at available jobs,” Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander said in a statement about the changes to the program.

According to Minister of Employment and Social Development Jason Kenney, the fee ensures “taxpayers no longer pay the cost of processing employer applications for temporary foreign workers.”

Last year, 60 per cent of approved foreign worker requests were never filled by employers, the ministry said, meaning tax dollars were spent processing applications that were never used.

The goal of the new fee is to keep employers from filling for work permits that are never filled, Human Resources and Skills development Canada said.

The ministry also said employers can only identify English and French as required for the job unless another language can be demonstrated as essential for the job.

New advertising requirements were also implemented that “essentially double” the length of time employers must advertise positions in Canada before filling a request to import a foreign worker.

“Employers will now need to make greater efforts to hire Canadians before they will be eligible to apply to hire temporary foreign workers,” the ministry said in announcing the changes.

The changes took effect July 31, according to the ministry, and come months after a pair of controversial cases in which the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and HD Mining International Ltd. were accused of taking jobs away from Canadians under the program.

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