Good news for Canadian businesses struggling to fill crucial skill gaps: In a move aimed at streamlining the hiring process for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), Canada has expanded eligibility for the Recognized Employer Pilot Program (REP). With this, more employers are now eligible to participate in the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP).
What is a Recognized Employer Pilot Program?
The Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) is a 3-year initiative comprising two distinct phases. The REP, designed to expedite processing for compliant Canadian employers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), introduces longer validity periods for Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) and simplifies subsequent LMIA applications.
The commencement of applications for Phase 2 is scheduled for January 2024. Your choice of application phase should align with the specific position you seek to fill.
Faster Processing for Compliant Businesses
The Recognized Employer Pilot rewards established employers with a proven track record of responsible TFW recruitment. Those who qualify benefit from:
Longer LMIA Validity: LMIA work permits typically last 18 months, but REP participants enjoy validity periods of up to 36 months, streamlining future hiring.
Simplified Applications: After the initial assessment, participating employers face streamlined LMIA processes for future TFW positions on the designated list.
Enhanced Visibility: A Job Bank designation highlights an employer’s REP status, attracting top talent.
Phase 2 Expands Eligible Occupations
The pilot launched in September 2023 with four in-demand agricultural positions. Phase 2, now underway, significantly expands the program to over 80 occupations across diverse sectors.
Qualifications for Participation
To be eligible for the REP, employers must have secured at least three positive LMIAs within the last five years. Additionally, they must be hiring TFWs for positions identified as ‘in-shortage’ according to the Canadian Occupations Projection System (COPS).
- At least three positive LMIAs in the past five years.
- Openings for positions designated as “in-shortage” by the Canadian Occupations Projection System (COPS).
Benefits for Eligible Employers
Qualified employers participating in the REP can anticipate several advantages, including:
- Extended validity periods for LMIAs, lasting up to 36 months.
- Streamlined application processes for future LMIA applications for designated ‘in-shortage’ occupations.
- Reduced points of contact between employers and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) due to simplified LMIA forms.
- A Job Bank designation signifies their recognized status, enhancing visibility to potential workers.
ESDC emphasizes a meticulous initial assessment to ensure the selection of reputable employers for program participation. Employers can apply for the REP simultaneously with their LMIA submissions, requiring no additional information.
Those not meeting REP criteria will still receive decisions on their LMIA applications.
Phase 2 Expansion
Following the initial rollout in September 2023 targeting the primary agriculture sector, Phase 2 of the REP sees a substantial expansion. Over 80 in-demand occupations across various sectors are now eligible, marking a significant progression from the initial four occupations in Phase 1:
- Livestock labourers
- Harvesting labourers
- Specialized livestock workers and farm machinery operators
- Nursery and greenhouse labourers
It’s worth noting that occupations eligible for work permits through the Global Talent Stream are excluded from the list, as they already benefit from expedited processing.
Understanding the TFWP and LMIA Process
Canadian employers seeking TFWs must submit an LMIA to ESDC for review. This assessment determines the hiring’s impact on Canada’s labour market and economy. A positive or neutral impact typically paves the way for TFW hiring.
Closed Work Permits: TFWs hired through the program receive closed work permits, restricting them to the specified employer.
Maintaining Compliance: ESDC monitors REP participants for compliance with labour laws, fair wages, and safe working conditions.
Streamlined Hiring, Stronger Workforces
The REP provides a valuable tool for Canadian businesses facing persistent labour shortages. By expediting the hiring process for proven employers and key sectors, the program contributes to a stronger, more flexible Canadian workforce.