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.


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.

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.


  • 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.

CIC Employer Portal

Effective October 26, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) implemented the Employer Portal which replaces the IMM5802 form.  This is another step in CIC’s efforts to manage employer-specific work permits and allow for greater compliance measures.

Employers must enroll and apply through this new portal to bring in temporary foreign workers through an International Mobility Program (IMP).  They must submit employment-related compliance data and pay a $230 fee prior to sending the foreign worker to the visa office or port of entry.

This new change was made and announced the same day (above) so a short Grace Period is available.  Foreign nationals who have been given an IMM 5802 form submitted to CIC prior to October 26, 2015 have until November 21, 2015 to submit a work permit application to a Visa Office or a Port of Entry.

New developments on the Employer Portal will continue to unfold as more details are worked out.




Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) affects coming to Canada

Starting March 15, 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is implementing new travel regulations for foreign nationals who do not otherwise require a visa to come into the country. Currently, visa-exempt travelers are not examined for admissibility until they arrive at the Canadian port of entry.  This new Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program, which originated in from the “2011 Beyond the Border Action Plan” between Canada and the United States, will pre-screen air travelers for admissibility concerns prior to allowing them onto the plane.

$7.00 online application

Air travelers will be required to pay a $7.00 processing fee to apply via an online system. The ETA will be approved and issued in most cases within minutes of the application. Cases which require further review will be completed within 72 hours. The ETA will be valid for up to five years, or until the applicant’s passport or travel document expires. If a foreign national obtains a new passport, a new ETA will be required before traveling to Canada.

Who is affected?

With the exception of American citizens, everyone flying into Canada will now be pre-examined. The ETA applies to individuals who can enter Canada without a visa arriving by air. It is not required when entering at a land border or by sea.

Starting on March 15, 2016, visa exempt work and study permit holders who are already in Canada will be required to obtain an ETA if they leave Canada and re-enter by air. Future permit applications will automatically be issued with an ETA at no additional charge.

Impacts to business and travel

We aren’t clear how much business travel and the “business of travel” will be affected but these new regulations will impact global mobility.  Additional time and resources will be needed to manage the new ETA processing. Although air travelers have gotten more accustomed to security checks and other boarding delays, this could be a whole new world.

Privacy and personal information

What other purposes might this personal information be used for and how much of it will be shared between countries? Requesting details of a visitor’s background could delve into other issues such as medical or security concerns. Not only will we be dealing with time delays but this could involve internal reviews of company policy and the greater privacy concerns.

One thing is for sure. It’s going to get much more complicated for Human Resources who deal with international business travelers. This could trigger major obstacles for travelers who may be inadmissible for health, criminality, or previous non-compliance with Canadian immigration requirements.

Canadian visa office specifics

The new Canada.ca website is the centralized place to go for country-specific requirements starting March 31, 2015.

Canadian visa offices, which include any Embassies, High Commissions, or Consulates, process Canadian immigration applications outside Canada.  Although visa posts will still have their own websites as before, they will no longer be updated for visa and immigration information such as country specific information, checklists, forms and guides.  The Canadian visa office (specific) information has been reorganized for information consistency and greater online access.

The Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) website continues to be a resource for general immigration information.

Significant Process Changes for Canadian Work Permits

Individuals with job offers will no longer be able to apply for a work permit at the port of entry on their own. After February 21, 2015, almost every new work permit will have to be assessed ahead of time and pre-approved by the government.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has just announced new requirements for work permits issued under the International Mobility Program (IMP). The IMP covers categories of work permits that are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) such as intra-company transfers, free trade agreements such as NAFTA, Provincial Nominees and International Experience Canada (IEC) a.k.a. “working holidays) programs.

Effective February 21, 2015, employers will be required to submit employment and business information directly to CIC and pay a new $230 compliance fee, before a foreign national can obtain a work permit at a Port of Entry or through a Canadian visa office. These requirements will also apply to all work permit extensions/renewals through this program. In addition, a new $100 privilege fee will be added to most open work permit categories, including the IEC program, post-graduation work permits, and spousal work permits.

The $230 compliance fee and $100 privilege fee will be charged in addition to the work permit processing fee of $155.

The new system is a three-part process that must be initiated by the Canadian employer.