On June 6, Service Canada announced the elimination of the advertisement exemption for foreign nationals in Canada under Post-Graduate Work Permits (PGWP). Service Canada’s announcement is set out here: Announcement Re: Elimination of Advertising Exemption for PGWP Holders.
Usually, if an employer is seeking a labour market opinion (LMO) in order to hire a foreign national, the employer must meet Service Canada’s recruiting requirements. Qualified Canadians and Canadian permanent residents must first be sought before a LMO application may be made.
Prior to this announcement, an employer did not have to advertise before applying for a LMO where (i) the foreign national held a PGWP; (ii) the PGWP was soon to expire; and (iii) the employer was making an offer of permanent employment. This advertising variation was useful as a mechanism to help with the transition to a LMO based work permit while the foreign national applied for permanent resident status.
Given that this variation to advertising has been eliminated, employers seeking to extend the status of foreign nationals who are working under a PGWP must now meet Service Canada’s recruiting requirements before applying for the LMO.
This change creates a higher level of uncertainty regarding an employer’s ability to maintain the employment of foreign nationals who graduate from Canadian post-secondary institutions, especially those who have graduated from shorter term programs, since the length of a PGWP is linked to the length of the academic program from which the foreign national graduated.
One solution is to ensure that foreign nationals holding a PGWP apply for permanent resident status as soon as possible, in the hope that permanent resident status may be obtained prior to the expiration of the PGWP, thereby avoiding any potential need to obtain a LMO-based work permit. There may also be an opportunity to obtain a bridging work permit if the application for permanent status has been acknowledged (information on bridging work permits is available here: Operational Bulletin on Bridging Work Permits).
Canadian companies that recruit foreign nationals graduating from Canadian institutions need to be aware of this rule change, and should develop strategies to deal with the elimination of this advertising exemption.