On February 21, 2015, new immigration regulatory changes and fees will come into effect. These will apply to employers of foreign workers who are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process as well as to foreign nationals applying for open work permits (including accompanying spouses, International Experience Canada applicants and others).

LMIA Exemptions

The changes will require employers to provide additional information about both their organization and the job offers that they have extended or plan to extend to foreign workers. This will include the employer’s name, address, contact information and business number, as well as other information in support of the job offer and the LMIA exemption.

In addition, employers will have to pay an online fee of $230 (applicable to both new applications and renewals) directly to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). This fee must be paid before the foreign national can apply for an employer-specific work permit. The fees collected will offset the cost of a new inspection and compliance regime that CIC has introduced under CIC’s new International Mobility Program.

Employment offers issued under the following LMIA-exempt categories (among others) will be subject to the changes:

  • NAFTA and other applicable free trade agreements;
  • reciprocal employment;
  • significant economic and other benefits to Canada; and
  • academic research and related positions.

Open Work Permits

A new fee of $100 will be required for both new and renewal open work permit applications. This fee will apply to (among others) applications submitted under the International Experience Canada program, in favour of spouses of skilled workers and for students seeking a postgraduate work permit.

Fee Refunds

CIC will refund any of these new fees if the application for which they are submitted is subsequently refused or if the employer withdraws a job offer before the work permit is issued.