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Canadian government announces visa fast tracking scheme

The Canadian government has announced its intention to allow companies with proven track records of successfully and legally hiring foreign workers will be allowed to fast track Canada visa applications for new overseas workers.

Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley made the announcement recently that businesses frustrated by cumbersome bureaucratic measures will be able to process their Canada visa applications for foreign workers if they have proved successful in the past.

Employers wishing to hire foreign workers currently have to apply for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) which determines whether a company has exhausted attempts to fill available positions with Canadian workers first. If they can prove this, they can then apply to Service Canada, a governmental body aimed at improving access to official services, for permission to recruit overseas.

However, many businesses have complained about the delays in Service Canada’s processing of LMOs, with some applications taking months to process.

“The temporary foreign worker process, as it stands, was too burdensome, too cumbersome, too complication and there was too much red tape,” said David Maclean, the Alberta Enterprise Group’s spokesperson. “It just wasn’t working to meet the needs in this economy.”

In order to address this, Mrs Finley said the new system will prevent unnecessary paperwork with an online application system while new compliance measures will ensure fair treatment of foreign workers. New disciplinary measures will also be introduced to ensure abusers of the system will be prevented from hiring foreign workers for two years.

Mrs Finley granted the first LMO to Alberta-based engineering firm Advance Engineered Products Ltd. who have successfully hired foreign mechanics and welders in the past without issue.

The minister said the programme would initially be focussed on the hiring of skilled workers such as welders in order to address specific shortages but would eventually be expanded to include ‘risk based processing for all occupations and components’ of the current temporary workers programme.


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