Talent Management Begins Before Hiring

Talent management is a powerful business advantage when executed in conjunction with existing workplace culture and business strategy.  It is also a possible solution to the managing the skills shortage.  As a reflection of its public image and connection to its “employer” brand, the flow of talent into an organization is an important touchstone to the pursuit of top talent.

PeopleTalk Spring 2017

The Human Touch Advantage

People define the core of any organization or business. However, in a world of widgets, what sets leading organizations apart is the HR mindset.  By keeping people first in the minds of decision-makers, this strategy has people’s hearts and minds focused on the right goals so the business can flourish for a mutually beneficial future.

PeopleTalk Winter-2016-The Human Touch Advantage

Daily Realities and the Globally Mobile

Skilled workers with professional expertise have many international employment options.  However, do the employers who want to attract this talent understand how to deal with the global mobility issues?

HRMA’s PeopleTalk Summer 2016 – Are You Globally Mobile.

PeopleTalk-Summer-2016-Are-You-Globally-Mobile-2

Temporary foreign worker (TFW) program suggestions

There is a long list of ways to change and update the temporary foreign worker (TFW) programs but I really like the four suggested in this article.

Here are some of my thoughts on the ones mentioned:

  1. Remove the 10 per cent cap on low-wage temporary foreign workers

There will always be challenging positions to fill.  With lower wage jobs in general, there simply isn’t as many people who want to do them.  Canadian employers that are dealing with low skill/low wage positions don’t have the luxury of large budgets so they would hire local Canadians first as it is more practical anyways.

Employers currently post multiple ads in Canada, actively attempt to recruit Canadians and offer wages at or above the median wage for the occupation, before they are allowed to hire a temporary foreign worker. Since the Canadian government has the power to send temporary foreign workers home, and this has not occurred so far, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to show that temporary foreign workers take away Canadian jobs.

This cap hurts the Canadian economy because it prevents businesses from hiring the people they need.  Employers who cannot operate successful will eventually have to shut their doors, which will result in Canadians being laid off.

  1. Provide a permanent residency pathway for all temporary foreign workers.

The pathway to permanent residency is difficult to navigate.  For those who have managed to clear the hurdles for a temporary work permit, it shows that they are willing, capable and invested in remaining in Canada.  Together with the support of their employer (whose businesses have employed them to support the Canadian economy), this is the type of “worker” we need in the country.

If the job vacancies persist over a period of time, isn’t this sufficient evidence that skill shortage is chronic?  Temporary foreign workers should be given a pathway or at least a small advantage in their permanent residency application.

  1. Enforce temporary foreign worker rules.

With the number of audits there are presumably being conducted, the majority of employers are complying with the law. If the rules are broken, those who don’t follow them should be punished or the rules are meaningless.

  1. Clear guidelines on how temporary foreign worker applications will be assessed.

The requirements should be clear for everyone but a portion of the guidelines the government uses to assess temporary foreign worker applications are not publicly posted.  Larger employers, who have the resources to research the issues have an advantage over smaller businesses.  It is however, the small to medium enterprises (SME’s) who face the biggest hiring challenges and need the most assistance with the TFW administration.

Immigration Levels Plan released March 8, 2016

The Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released the Federal Government’s 2016 Immigration Levels Plan on March 8, 2016.

2016 Immigration Plan

The 2016 Plan is a 7.4% increase over the 2015 level plan for immigration.  It emphasizes family reunification and humanitarian and compassionate processing over foreign workers.  Canada is also aiming to reduce application processing times.

Some of the Plan’s key points include:

  • Canada will admit between 280,000 and 305,000 new permanent residents in 2016;
  • Fewer Economic immigrants will be accepted under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Workers (FSW), and Federal Skilled Trades (FST) programs;
  • Restoration of the maximum age for dependent children to 22 (from 19);
  • Conditional permanent residence (PR) status to Family Class spouses will be eliminated;
  • Number of new applications allowed each year for parents and grandparents has been doubled;
  • A reduction in federal business immigration by approximately 47% from 2015

A few bright spots for employers

  • Foreign workers who are selected from the Express Entry Pool and submit a complete application for permanent residence may be eligible for an Open Bridging Work Permit to extend Work Permit status
  • The Government of Canada has announced that it will undertake a coast-to-coast review of the Foreign Worker Program.
  • Changes to Express Entry (EE) are expected which includes the allocation of points for Canadian siblings and changes to the CEC category to benefit international students

Same old same old

I am disappointed that the Government has not made more of an effort to include economic immigrants and foreign workers in the 2016 plan.  In many ways the new policies are the same “old” ones.  This current government is canceling what the previous government implemented just recently and reinstated many of the original rules.

LMIA 2.0

A small bright spot is that the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will be revisited and hopefully redesigned to be more responsive to true business needs.  Immigration Minister McCallum has acknowledged that the Foreign Worker Program (FWP) has swung from one end of the extreme (too lax) to the other (too stringent) as a knee jerk reaction to high profile scrutiny.

The LMIA review is a good sign that we have some action oriented leadership in Canadian immigration today.  It’s important to fix and readjust what isn’t working in a program instead of taking the easy way out by eliminating it.  The FWP has had its problems but it isn’t beyond repair.  If they do employer consultations, perhaps this will provide a reality check for any redesign considerations.

Foreign worker value

The Canadian economy doesn’t operate as a completely closed employment bubble.  Foreign workers provide flexibility, ingenuity and potential to meet Canada’s needs now and into the future.  In an ideal world, Canadian employers could rely exclusively on its own citizens to meet its labour needs.  However, that isn’t possible or realistic.  Foreign workers will always exist and in Canada’s case, this is often the first step onto the permanent resident pathway.

Temporary work permits facilitate what could be a mutual probationary period for potential immigrants to Canada.  Both parties have a practical way to see how things work out before firming up the relationship – this is better than a money back guarantee.

This IRCC infographic provides a good snapshot of the Immigration Plan.

eTA required for Canadian PR’s

The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will be coming into effect on March 15, 2016.  This travel requirement (see previous blog post) is being imposed on visa-exempt foreign nationals flying into Canada.  All Airlines will be checking travelers and any passengers who do not have an eTA or do not qualify for an exemption will not be permitted to board the aircraft.

Exemptions

  • Foreign nationals who require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada are exempt
  • Citizens of the United States are exempt – however, US permanent residents / Green Card holders do require an eTA
  • According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”), foreign nationals who hold a study or work permit issued on or after August 1, 2015 have automatically been issued an eTA
  • Visitor record holders must apply for a separate eTA, regardless of when it was issued
  • Permanent residents who hold a valid permanent resident card do not require an eTA
  • The eTA is not required for travel to Canada by sea or land

eTA Application process

The eTA application process is fully electronic and costs CAD $7.00. The eTA will be issued for up to five years and will be electronically linked to the traveller’s passport.  No physical document will be issued so it will be wise to print and carry the CIC confirmation acceptance email.

Permanent Residents of Canada

The eTA air travel requirement will affect permanent residents of Canada in a brand new way.  On March 15, Canadian permanent residents without valid permanent resident cards will not be permitted to board flights to Canada.  They must apply for a separate “travel document” from a Canadian visa office abroad to confirm their status with airlines prior to boarding.

Permanent residents who need to renew their permanent resident cards should send in their applications as early as possible. All travelers should confirm their status with air carriers prior to travel to ensure they will be permitted to board flights back to Canada.  Otherwise, the only other option is to travel back by land or sea.

Canadian Employers

Employers should review current immigration documentation held by non-US foreign workers and permanent residents required to travel for business.  Those individuals who require an eTA or permanent resident card to enter Canada should apply as early as possible; these eTA requirements will increase the immigration-related administration and could impact operations.

Cultural differences are …complicated

Cross-cultural issues are very complex.  And these differences are more complicated than what country you are from.

In this age of global mobility, stereotypes are still commonly applied — whether it is with good intentions to understand unfamiliar cultures or figure out how to interact with others.  Although reading through cultural guidebooks is a place to start, we still have to be more mindful of contextual nuances and individual differences as well.

In this short cross-cultural management article in the Harvard Business Review, the author poses three general questions to help prepare for doing business with a new global markets.  Another wonderful resource are expatriates who have experienced those cultures first hand.

  1. What do you know about the region?
  2. What do you know about the company or industry?
  3. What do you know about the people?

Cultural differences are more complicated than what country you are from

International Experience Canada (IEC) reboot

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada or CIC, launched a new e-application system for the International Experience Canada (IEC) program.

The IEC provides foreign youth between the ages of 18 and 35 the opportunity to travel and work temporarily in Canada to fund their trip or to gain a Canadian work experience. There are currently 32 countries participating in this reciprocal arrangement program and three types of “working holiday” categories — Young Professionals, Working Holidays, and International Co-op Internships.

This new IEC process has been redesigned to prevent the annual crush for working visas to Canada.  The previous system was on a first come, first served basis which resulted in acceptance quotas being reached within minutes of the annual program launch.  This left many disappointed applicants having to wait until the next quota/year to try again.

The new system works in a similar fashion to the Express Entry pool where applicants  begin the process creating an online profile.  If eligible, this places the individual into a “pool” of candidates to be drawn randomly at “regular intervals”.  If drawn, the candidate is sent an Invitation to Apply for a work permit. Draws continue to be held until all slots are filled for the year.

There is some talk of new participant countries being added, more flexibility with quota limits and other new features on the horizon.  It will be exciting to see what happens as youth and mobility will benefit Canada.

For more information on the program, see International Experience Canada.