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Leveraging Foreign Talent for Your Business

Author: Rick Lamanna, Director at Fragomen

In the current economic environment, attracting talent for your business is more important as ever. Increasingly, that talent may come in the form of foreign workers, who bring a wide range of benefits to Canadian companies across all industry sectors. However, navigating the rules and regulations imposed on organizations can be a minefield. Below are three considerations when employing foreign workers.

  1. Ability to work

A foreign national may only work in Canada if they are authorized to do so. That authorization comes in the form of a work permit. Work permits can be “open”, allowing for work on behalf of any employer, in any occupation, anywhere in Canada. Conversely, “closed” work permits will restrict the foreign national’s occupation, work location, or Canadian employer.

  1. Paths of Least Resistance

In situations where a foreign national does not already hold a valid work permit, the business may choose (or be required) to support the individual in obtaining one. Support can be in the form of paying certain processing fees and/or submitting documentation to the government. In any number of cases,  there may be a number of categories available. Understanding the best path is critical. Cost, processing time and the likelihood of success are all important considerations.

  1. Compliance

Understanding your obligations to both the foreign worker and by extension, the government, is paramount. The employer being required to ensure a foreign national’s work permit remains valid while employed by the business is just the start. Additionally, the business is also often required to ensure that the remuneration it pays is accurate (including the provision of both benefits and vacation), the job duties are in line with the role, that the work is occurring in the specified location, and also, to maintain proof thereof. In other words, the business must be compliant, and prove as much if called upon by way of an immigration audit.

The benefits that accrue to Canadian organizations that leverage foreign talent are plenty. So too are the various considerations: before, during and sometimes after their term of employment. Having a thoughtful plan, a thorough understanding and quality legal support can make all the difference.   

Rick Lamanna is certified as a Specialist in Canadian Immigration and Citizenship law, and a Director at Fragomen, the world’s largest immigration services provider. Fragomen Canada is a proud member of the MBOT. Rick can be reached via email at [email protected]