New Accelerated LMO Process in Canada

May 9, 2012—The Canadian government has introduced an Accelerated Labor Market Opinion (A-LMO) process for qualifying employers sponsoring higher-skilled foreign workers. Under the new process, which was introduced on April 25, an LMO will be issued within 10 business days of filing. To benefit from faster processing, employers must consent to have their LMOs audited.

One key benefit of the accelerated process is that employers have the flexibility to offer the foreign employee a wage that is up to 15 percent below the prevailing wage, though the offered wage must be consistent with that paid to Canadian and permanent resident employees in the same occupation and job location and with the same level of experience.

The A-LMO process is available for managerial, professional and technical positions that usually require a college or university degree or comparable technical training. These positions are classified under the National Occupational Classification skill type 0, and skill levels A and B. Low-skilled positions (classified under National Occupational Classification skill levels C and D), and all occupations in the entertainment and agricultural industries are ineligible for the A-LMO process.

To participate in the program, employers must have been issued at least one positive LMO in the previous two years. They must have a clean record of compliance with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program within the previous two years, with no reported infractions or serious complaints, and have no unresolved violations or contraventions under any provincial laws governing employment and recruitment. To submit A-LMO applications, employers must register with Service Canada. Once their eligibility is verified, employers may submit A-LMO applications online through the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Web Service.

Employers who use the A-LMO process must consent to possible audits of their approved A-LMOs, as well as traditional LMOs issued on or after April 1, 2009. Service Canada expects to audit roughly one in five A-LMOs. Employers should retain all documents related to their A-LMO application, as well as any documents related to other positive LMOs, for six years from the date of filing. In the course of an audit, Service Canada may request a review of documentation concerning the wage, advertisements and recruitment. 

If questions arise during the audit, the employer will be given an opportunity to provide supporting documentation and/or take corrective action, where applicable. If auditors find noncompliance, the employer may be barred from the A-LMO program, and may have LMOs for which work permits have not yet been issued revoked. In addition, the employer’s pending and subsequent LMO applications may be subject to greater scrutiny. Auditors may also forward their findings to federal and provincial authorities for further investigation.

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