Recently there was a story that made national headlines about a hotel group in Alberta that had hired a group of over 100 workers from Mexico. Unbeknownst to the hotel group, the workers didn’t have the proper documentation to work in Canada. They were hired through a third-party agency that was obviously not doing it right.

Now the hotel group is dealing with the fallout from the investigations of this third-party agency. They are also again short of workers and having to start over from square one. The other side we often want to consider is that of the candidates. What they didn’t know is that their dream to work in Canada was not legitimate. Many foreigners have the Canadian dream of working and experiencing life in Canada—even on temporary status—because it can open the doors to becoming permanent residents one day.

We have seen this situation play out in many different circumstances, and in almost all cases the employers had no clue what was happening behind the scenes. The most important thing to remember when working within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and with third-party agencies is to stay in compliance with the guidelines set out by the Government of Canada.

Best Practices When Hiring Foreign Workers

There are a few best practices an employer can take to ensure the business never falls into this type of scenario.

Labour Market Impact Assessments

In almost all cases, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is required for your business to hire foreign workers. An LMIA is an application made to the government that demonstrates you have not been able to fill your open jobs with Canadian citizens or permanent residents. This is, in a sense, a formal request for authorization to hire a foreign worker.

Work Permits

When hiring temporary foreign workers, you need to ensure they have what is called a closed work permit. This is a work permit that specifically assigns that worker to your company and matches the conditions set out in your approved LMIA. The worker is eligible to file and pay for this work permit; however, we highly recommend the employer covers the cost and process to apply.

There are common issues that arise when workers apply for the work permit themselves. In some cases the workers will seek out their own immigration advisors and they could end up paying extremely high loans or fees to get the work permits. This is a sad reality of some bad players taking advantage of candidates pursuing their dreams. Another potential issue is that due to the complexity of a work permit application, when a worker applies for it themselves, there is a good chance they make an error that would result in delays or an outright rejection. This could cost your business by not having the workers when you expected them.

Responsibility for Fees

By law, a candidate should NEVER pay a fee. Therefore, an employer should be paying for the LMIA, legal costs, and round-trip flight to bring the worker into Canada. One exception is that for high-wage LMIAs, the flight costs can become the candidate’s responsibility. It is highly advised that you also pay for the candidate’s work permit to streamline the process and protect the worker. If an employer opts to pay for the work permit, it should be known that you are not allowed to recoup the costs once the candidate has arrived. Foreign visitors and tourists are not eligible for work without a proper work permit.

Working With a Reputable Third Party

You may be asking at this point: “how do I know which company can help me?”. There are many options out there and we have always found truth in the old saying, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Companies who charge very low fees and others who charge high fees, but promise the world are usually not revealing the full picture. It’s important that the company you work with doesn’t set unrealistic expectations of success. Did they explain LMIA timelines? The market standard right now is 3 months. What is the difference between visa free and visa required countries to bring workers from? Mexico is a 2-week permit delay whereas India can take about a year! This is in addition to the LMIA timeline. Was it explained that even by following all the right steps there can still be rejections of the workers’ permits? Depending on the candidate’s country of origin, the rejection rates can range from 5% to more than 30%. What does their fee include? For example, LMIA and work permit government fees, round-trip airfare, domestic advertising, candidate recruitment, legal costs, landing services, etc. Many times these are hidden costs or tasks you will be required to do internally if not disclosed at the beginning.

We believe a company should be given a fully transparent process because, for many employers, this is a new process they are going into. Setting expectations and best practice strategies early on leads to great success in hiring a foreign worker and can benefit the business for years to come. Imagine never worrying about labour shortages again.

Recruit Without Borders is proud to be a preferred vendor of the AHLA because We Do It Right. Once an employer begins working with RWB, we guide them through the process and make sure every regulation is followed.

Our mission is to be the most transparent provider in the industry while charging the lowest all-in fee for hiring temporary foreign workers. The all-in service includes everything mentioned above to ensure the workers are going to build long-lasting relationships under your employment.

Click here to learn more about Recruit Without Borders and their exclusive offers for AHLA members.



Matt Penney
Co-Founder, Recruit Without Borders
Contact us today to discuss how to do it right: